A fresh contribution to the public debate on the economics of consumption and the health of American communities.



A lyrical memoir of the relationship among farming, eating and sustaining community in Sonoma County, Calif.

Raskin (Communication Studies/Sonoma State Univ.; The Radical Jack London: Writings on War and Revolution, 2008, etc.) begins this chronicle of a year’s exploration into the origins of the local- and slow-food movements in Northern California with the observation that in this region “the feeling of paradise lingers.” While acknowledging the environmental damage that has been wrought on the landscape that most of the world thinks of as wine country, the author credits the area’s small farmers, agriculturalists and vintners with fostering a unique sense of community in what remains, despite its proximity to San Francisco, a predominantly rural area. Raskin’s firsthand approach allowed him to get to know some of the farm’s owners and field laborers. Along the way, he writes about well-known local figures such as Alice Waters and the late M.F.K. Fisher, about pioneers of the organic-farming movement in California, about small community meetings and about the many individuals who make up the area’s farm-to-table network. Though he traveled to New York and London to compare notes, and he references current books on food production in the United States, what distinguishes Raskin’s account is the intensely local approach. Rather than exploring the economics and ethics of farming at a national level, the author provides a finely textured account of how the origins of eating and drinking reveal the nuances of modern community in rural Sonoma County.

A fresh contribution to the public debate on the economics of consumption and the health of American communities.

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-520-25902-7

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2009

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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