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The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays [Paperback]

By Wendell Berry, Daniel Kemmis (Contributor) & Courtney White (Contributor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   180
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 17, 2006
Publisher   Shoemaker & Hoard
ISBN  1593761198  
EAN  9781593761196  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A new collection of essays by the T. S. Eliot Award-winning writer features some of his top writings and explores such themes as security, freedom, and community, in a volume that includes the pieces "The Way of Ignorance," "The Purpose of a Coherent Community," and "Compromise, Hell!" Reprint.

Publishers Description
The continuing war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the political sniping engendered by the Supreme Court nominations, Terry Schiavo — contemporary American society is characterized by divisive anger, profound loss, and danger. Wendell Berry, one of the country's foremost cultural critics, addresses the menace, responding with hope and intelligence in a series of essays that tackle the major questions of the day. Whose freedom are we considering when we speak of the “free market” or “free enterprise?” What is really involved in our National Security? What is the price of ownership without affection? Berry answers in prose that shuns abstraction for clarity, coherence, and passion, giving us essays that may be the finest of his long career.

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More About Wendell Berry, Daniel Kemmis & Courtney White

Wendell Berry WENDELL BERRY was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1934. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and continued on to complete a master’s degree in 1957. In 1958, he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.

Berry has taught at Stanford University, Georgetown College, New York University, the University of Cincinnati, and Bucknell University. He taught at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky from 1964-77, and again from 1987-93.

The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Wendell Berry has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1962), the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry (1962), a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1965), a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing (1971), the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review (1974), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award (1987), a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction (1989), Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers (1991), the Ingersoll Foundation's T. S. Eliot Award (1994), the John Hay Award (1997), the Lyndhurst Prize (1997), and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review (1998). His books include the novel Hannah Coulter (2004), the essay collections Citizenship Papers (2005) and The Way of Ignorance (2006), and Given: Poems (2005), all available from Counterpoint. Berry's latest works include The Mad Farmer Poems (2008) and Whitefoot (2009), which features illustrations by Davis Te Selle.

He lives and works with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.

Wendell Berry currently resides in the state of Kentucky. Wendell Berry was born in 1934.

Wendell Berry has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Blazer Lectures
  2. Christian Practice of Everyday Life
  3. New York Review Books Classics
  4. Port William

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Why move on  Aug 31, 2008
Wendell Berry, an otherwise excellent author, has chosen this venue to rail against progress. He seems to want to lock in the 20th, or maybe even the 19th century and stay there.w
An enthusiastically recommended, thought-provoking cross-examination of modern society.  Nov 5, 2006
The Way of Ignorance and Other Essays is an anthology of writings by cultural critic Wendell Berry - one of Smithsonian magazine's 35 People Who Made a Difference - about topics ranging from what freedom is really being discussed when one speaks of "free market" or "free enterprise", to the costs of so-called rugged individualism in a democratic commonwealth, to sharp-laced observations on the Kerry campaign, and much more. Written in plain terms, The Way of Ignorance takes a cold, hard look at the doubletalk and doublethink that saturates modern American airwaves, stripping them down to bare conundrums, all with a heavy dose of the author's practical evaluation. An enthusiastically recommended, thought-provoking cross-examination of modern society.
A fine addition to Berry's ouevre  Sep 14, 2006
This collection of essays centers on the concept of accepting humankind's inevitable ignorance, as an antidote to deadly hubris. As Berry says, "Creatures who have armed themselves with the power of limitless destruction" must not pridefully embrace their limited knowledge. Instead, the "way of ignorance ... is to be careful, to know the limits and efficacy of our knowledge. It is to be humble, and to work on an appropriate scale."

Scale is a recurring theme here as Berry returns to the roots of his thinking in the realm of family farming. His essays touch on environmental destruction, factory farming, the weaknesses of the 'save the blank' movement. But also on The Gospels, the future of the Democratic party, and the value of husbandry in a materialistic world.

I always enjoy Berry's thoughts as I find him one of the clear, non-polarized voices out there. He speaks not just as a conservationist but as a working farmer, not just as a liberal but as a Christian. He points out the faults of the liberal movement as readily as he criticizes the corporate culture. I prefer his book-length work as i feel here he can only briefly touch on subjects. The collection also includes essays that feel a bit redundant or not of as much interest. Still his work here is also humble and to scale, and so the 180 pages can be quickly read and the best of the harvest pulled out for closer attention.
A Plea for Humility  May 28, 2006
The Way of Ignorance is a plea for humility. Wendell Berry asks the simple question, "Can great power or great wealth be kind to small places?" and knows that the earnest believer-in-what-could-be will have to live with heartbreak. "By living as we do, in our ignorance and our pride, we are diminishing our world and the possibility of life." The purity of Berry's vision enables him to speak with a voice that is radical and simple. He restores us to our forgotten common sense. He opens our eyes to the beauty of small places and calls us to tend to their uncompromising complexities. He bids us hold tight to the irreplaceable.

Berry's plea for humility extends to all, from overly confident scientists and self-assured political leaders to the "many Christians who are exceedingly confident in their understanding of themselves in their faith." "When Jesus speaks of having life more abundantly . . . He is talking about a finite world that is infinitely holy, a world of time that is filled with life that is eternal. His offer of more abundant life, then, is not an invitation to declare ourselves as certified `Christians,' but rather to become conscious, consenting, and responsible participants in the one great life . . . To [this offer] we have chosen to respond with the economics of extinction." "Violence, in short, is the norm of our economic life and our national security. The line that connects the bombing of a civilian population to the mountain `removal' by strip-mining to the gullied and poisoned field to the clear-cut watershed to the tortured prisoner seems to run pretty straight."

In a time of arrogance and high-risk miscalculation, technological, economic and military overreaching, Berry is there to call us back - back to our senses. "If we find the consequences of our arrogant ignorance to be humbling, and we are humbled, then we have at hand the first fact of hope: We can change ourselves." I recommend The Way of Ignorance.
Open your mind to Berry's ideas  Jan 23, 2006
Wow! I am blown away again by Wendell Berry's thoughts and way of seeing the world. His ideas should be shouted from the rooftops. First of all, his writing conveys the strength of friendship. He respects and honors his friend, Wes Jackson, throughout the book and especially in the essay "The Way of Ignorance". I ordered the tape of this talk which he gave at Wes Jackson's Land Institute at the Prairie Festival in 2004.

There is so much of value in this book, but the other essay I would highly recommend is "Renewing Husbandry".

The best way to review Berry's work is to quote him.

"The most forceful context of every habitat now is the industrial economy that is doing damage to all habitats. We can't preserve neighborliness or charity or peaceability or an ecological consciousness, or anything else worth preserving, at the same time that we maintain an earth-destroying economy. Nothing ultimately flourishes in our present economy but selfish aims, and these are often mutually contradictory. We have to have a sort of pity for the CEO of a polluting corporation who desires wealth, healthy children, and a vacation in the restorative purity of nature. And surely we have to extend the same pity to those whio are sure that "it takes a village to raise a child" but who forget that it takes a local culture and a local economy to raise a village."

"Harmony between our human economy and the natural world-local adaption-is a perfection we will never finally achieve but must continously try for. There is never a finality to it because it involves living creatures who change. The soil has living creatures in it. It has live roots in it, perennial roots if it is lucky. If it is the soil of the right kind of farm, it has a farm family growing out of it."

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