An enlightening work of ecological thought.




Journalist McFadden (Classical Considerations, 2018, etc.) examines the state of current American farming methods and presents “deep agroecology” as the answer to a broken food system.

The way that most of the country approaches farming is not sustainable, according to the author; widespread pesticide use, genetically engineered seeds, and factory farms all contribute to the rapid loss of valuable topsoil and to fragile ecosystems. And with a worldwide epidemic of pollution contributing to climate change, he notes, the state of our food system is more precarious than ever. Enter deep agroecology, a revolutionary approach to farming and food that, the author asserts, has the potential to heal the planet before it’s too late. He defines it as an approach to farming and food that is “clean, sustainable, humane, egalitarian, and just, rooted in ecology, other sciences, and indigenous knowledge.” In this book, he hopes to present a general overview of his concept while also offering concrete examples of deep agroecology in action. He does so in several ways, including discussions of the history of agrarian idealism, and detailed reports and statistics on the damage done by modern farming and explanations of how it came to be the dominant form of production. Because deep agroecology draws on a combination of science and ancient wisdom, it also highlights how many indigenous cultures have, for centuries, recognized the importance of strong, healthy communities, and how they’re dependent on the planet on which they live. Overall, McFadden puts forth a convincing case that farms are the basis of civilization, and that if humanity is to survive, it must pursue different principles and a new philosophy. McFadden is an independent journalist who’s authored several books on a range of subjects, and his prose is always clear and easy to understand. Although he covers a lot of material, he does so successfully by consistently returning to familiar themes and arguments, as when he repeatedly points out how most people lack a spiritual connection with the planet, which has had a profound impact on their awareness of environmental problems.

An enlightening work of ecological thought.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-79230-928-1

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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