SEX, ECONOMY, FREEDOM, AND COMMUNITY by Wendell Berry

SEX, ECONOMY, FREEDOM, AND COMMUNITY

Eight Essays
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Eight exhortatory essays (some of which appeared previously in the Atlantic Monthly, The Progressive, and elsewhere) by the Kentuckian fiction writer (Fidelity, 1992, etc.) and moral critic (What are People For?, 1990, etc.). Berry once again carves out a unique position in American social debate: not liberal (he hates big government), not conservative (he hates big corporations), not libertarian (he would balance individual rights with those of the commonweal), but always sharp-tongued and aglow with common sense. His pessimism seems to grow with each volume, as he sees the nation in a tailspin toward moral and economic chaos. His targets proliferate: the military and its Gulf War (he calls for a national peace academy); profiteering industrialists who ravage economies around the world; addiction to drugs, war, TV, and junk products; public schooling, which instills mediocrity in place of moral values; media exploitation of sexuality, which robs it of sacred meaning; ``tolerant and multicultural people'' who defend special interest groups but defame ``people who haven't been to college, manual workers, country people, peasants, religious people, unmodern people, old people''--in other words, Berry's friends, neighbors, and comrades. If the diagnosis is bitter, so is the cure: ``economic secession.'' For Berry, small communities based on the household are our only hope. He calls upon these localities to seize control of their economic and social lives, supporting home-grown agriculture, manufacturing, and education, and establishing moral codes that reflect eternal truths. Power-to-the-people, 90's-style. A powerful emetic, worth a swallow.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-42394-X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1993




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