Agrarianism and the Good Society (Hardback)
Land, Culture, Conflict, and Hope
Every society expresses its fundamental values and hopes in the ways it shapes and inhabits its landscapes. In this literate and wide-ranging exploration, Eric T. Freyfogle raises difficult questions about American culture while illuminating the intellectual origins of urban sprawl, dwindling wildlife habitats, over-engineered rivers, and degraded forests and grasslands. These land-use crises, he contends, arise mostly because of cultural attitudes that once made sense on the American frontier but now threaten our natural resources. To support and sustain healthy communities, profound adjustments will be required. Freyfogle's search leads him down unusual paths. He probes Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain for insights on the healing power of nature and tests the wisdom in Wendell Berry's fiction. He challenges journalists writing about environmental and land-use issues to get beyond familiar, misleading dichotomies to explain the true choices that Americans face. Freyfogle concludes the book by bringing together his insights in an imaginary job advertisement for a new kind of environmental leader and issuing a call to the conservation movement to recast its public rhetoric. In all, Agrarianism and the Good Society offers a critical yet hopeful guide for cultural change, essential for anyone interested in the benefits and creative possibilities of responsible land use.