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In the Presence of Fear (New Patriotism Series #1)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In these three poignant essays, prolific author Wendell Berry reflects deeply on the current sources of world hope and despair. Thoughts in the Presence of Fear, written in response to the September 11 attacks, has since been reprinted in 73 countries and seven languages. The three essays provide a much-needed road map to a full cultural recovery.
Paperback, 44 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Orion Society
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This slim volume packs a big punch. The first essay is one of the most thoughtful and non-American-centric critiques of the 9-11 tragedy. With humility Wendell Berry reflects on how this event challenged our prosperity mindset and how it should guide our future toward a more local, caring economy.

The second essay explores the local economy in greater depth. Berry criticizes the false promise of global prosperity perpetuated by the current economic and governmental ideologies. After laying bare t
Berry never fails to engage me, and this collection is no different. Written in the aftermath of 9/11, the first essay in particular is something of a call to change our ways in light of that tragedy. In particular, Berry seems 9/11 as the crushing of economic and technological optimism that characterized much of the '90s. We need a new direction, one that is more human, more localized, and more peaceable. I couldn't agree more.
James Hatton
This book is utterly brief, forty four short pages. But there's a lot here. I can't explain this book. It must be read to be understood. The reader may not agree with what's written here, but their mind will have something in it that was probably not there before. Hopefully, I'll reread this book someday.
B.L. Tucker
"It is the replacement of vocation with economic determinism that the exterior workings of a total economy destroy the character and culture also from the inside."

"Our economy needs to know--and care--what it is doing. This is revolutionary, of course, if you have a taste for revolution, but it is also a matter of common sense."

Berry's essays are timely. 5/5
A profound work that all those concerned with long-term solution to our economic woes should read.
Written in response to 9/11, this book still holds its own today. Wendell Berry's writing is so full of beauty and wisdom no matter what he seems to be writing about--poetry, small town life, or in this case, issues such as the importance of land stewardship and problems with the global economy and "free trade".

This book is a slim 44 pages, but it is chalk full of things to think about. Berry is a master at saying something important with very few words.

"A change of heart or values without a pr
I am now a Wendell Berry fan. The only thing keeping this book from being a 5-star is the lead essay's wholesale acceptance of the official story on 9/11. Please. There are serious holes and questions left unanswered, and intellectual integrity requires at least some reflection on that fact. The other essays show Berry to be a thinker in the best possible way on some of the most important issues facing contemporary society. Good dirt, or should I say, soil.
the patriot act is 342 pages, while the first part of this book, "thoughts in the presence of fear" is a mere 9. guess which one was the more measured response.

xx: the aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence...
May 03, 2009 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of Chesterton and Lewis. And lovers of their country and world.
What these three essays, written in the wake of 9/11 and/or in response to it, lose to outdated-ness they more than make up for with timeless wisdom. Berry is a keen thinker whose reasoning is sound, who communicates lucidly, and is rooted in a rich life-giving tradition.
Again, another book from my wife's school reading list at Eckerd that held my interest. Incisive from one of our best critics of "Total Economy" and proponents of the Local Economy. I'd only read Wendell's poetry prior to this, and I wasn't disappointed. A GOOD READ!
These short essays would actually be a great intro to Wendell and some of the spirit of his writings.

Not a lot that needs to be said. Every time I read him, Berry solidifies his place very near the top of my list.
Sep 06, 2007 Meredith rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
interesting especially reading just after 9/11
Yay Wendell Berry! That is all.
This book changed my life.
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Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."
More about Wendell Berry...

Other Books in the Series

New Patriotism Series (4 books)
  • Patriotism and the American Land
  • Citizens Dissent: Security, Morality, and Leadership in an Age of Terror
  • The Open Space of Democracy

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