Wendell Berry and the Given Life
Stock #: B53122
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For someone like me, who has read snippets of essays and poems by Wendell Berry over the years and who has known – somewhere deep – that I ought to be reading him more, Ragan Sutterfield’s “Wendell Berry and the Given Life” is the perfect introduction to the life, thought and work of this 20th and 21st-century icon.
The slender volume is a lovingly compiled synthesis of this Kentucky farmer-philosopher’s writing, drawing amply from his poetry, essays and fiction and illustrating Berry’s vision and hope for a more fully moral, ethical and spiritual life.
Sutterfield writes beautifully himself, and he guides the reader gently through 12 separate but integrated themes in Berry’s work, ending with the author’s own argument that Berry should, indeed, be considered a prophet in the line of John the Baptist, St. Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Berry’s work certainly falls into this prophetic mode, although the reader is left with no doubt that Berry would eschew such a moniker. But no argument here, and to the list I would add Henry David Thoreau, as Berry seems a natural extension of that naturalist and philosopher.
In the end, I was left with a couple of overarching thoughts about this book. The first is that we so desperately need his voice today. The second is that I am way behind on reading Berry, and I am thankful to Sutterfield for the introduction.