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The Unforeseen Wilderness: Kentucky's Red River Gorge
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The Unforeseen Wilderness: Kentucky's Red River Gorge

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Only someone who values land enough to farm a hillside for more than thirty years could write about a wild place so lovingly. Wendell Berry just as easily steps into Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and makes the observations of a poet as he does step away to view his subject with the keen, unflinching eye of an essayist. The inimitable voice of Wendell Berry—at once frank and l ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published February 2nd 2006 by Counterpoint (first published 1971)
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Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wendell Berry wrote The Unforseen Wilderness forty years ago when it was threatened to be damned by the damned Army Corps of Engineers. He wrote with a sense of urgency for the wilderness he loved. I read this book because in a few short weeks I’m preaching a sermon on part of the Abraham story and wanted to read something indirectly relevant to my text. I wanted to press into the meaning of ‘place’ and thought that Berry would be a good guide.
So I pulled the Berry books off my shelf. I decided
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Berry's writing is always beautiful and stirring. I found this book to be engaging and compelling even 40 years later after it was written. Chapter Three was a little thready and didn't seem like Berry, but the rest is typical of his writing style and if you enjoy Wendell Berry, this is a good read. The book was written in response to the idea that the Red River Gorge should be dammed to create a lake and stop flooding in the area. To avoid spoilers, I won't tell you what has happened in the las ...more
Jim Brammell
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a life-long Kentuckian, but being relatively new to backpacking and camping in the Red River Gorge, I think that I will have a much deeper appreciation of it in the future as a result of this book. I think I'll look a lot less at maps and much more at Creation. I really enjoyed this book of essays.
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"There is something suicidal, and more sinister than that, in this quest for easy wealth and easy answers, for it proposes goals that are dead ends, that imagination and desire do not go beyond.Once the precious vein of silver has been found, once the speculation in land or mineral or timber has paid off, then our human work will be over; we will have escaped forever the drudgery of the plow or the office. But if we have destroyed in ourselves the capacity to enjoy work- and we do this inevitabl ...more
James Klagge
A little-known book by Wendell Berry written in 1969 (commissioned by the Univ. of Kentucky) to try to fend off a plan to dam the Red River in Kentucky. His account of the Gorge area, plus accompanying photos, had their intended effect, and eventually, in 1993, Bill Clinton declared it a federally protected area, ending the plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to dam it. This book is a great display of Berry's interests and talents. It concerns a specific place--which he always values, and the va ...more
Dan Gobble
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Want to know how to save a place? You have to first know that place by spending time walking it from end to end, studying it, and beginning to learn what it is trying to teach. Wendell hikes through Kentucky's Red River Gorge and describes what he sees as an advocate for preserving this wilderness area. Ralph Eugene Meatyard provides striking photographs to accompany Wendell's narrative. Together they offer a powerful voice which played an important part in keeping these 26,000 acres of wilderne ...more
David Ward
The Unforeseen Wilderness: Kentucky's Red River Gorge by Wendell Berry, photos by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (North River Press 1991)(917.692). Ralph Meatyard was recommended by Shelby Lee Adams as one of his photographic influences, so I checked this out. These photos are all water landscapes and mountain streams. My rating: 5/10, finished 8/29/11.
A.E. Reiff
It is the same here as with the other books recommended. In the extreme b/w contrasts and the trust that Berry will get it right with the hepaticas, the work of the river on the gorge is not necessary to be guarded against, but relax and float on the prose.
Jun 21, 2007 added it
Shelves: alreadyread
Berry really likes Kentucky. He makes you feel a little bad for ever being a tourist or taking photographs. But I got over that. I guess he's just really sure of what he thinks is right.
Sep 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Bless Ralph Eugene Meatyard's heart. Wendell Berry's, too.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought the issues in this book, although dated, are really timeless.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Classic Wendell Berry. Never disappoints! Book is specific to the Red River Gorge in Tennessee in some ways, but placeless in others.
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Ray Zimmerman
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous treatise on wilderness and our society.
Zach Barnes
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Nov 20, 2012
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Brad Sargent
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Feb 11, 2008
Ray Zimmerman
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wendell Berry at his best. Established the term Place Based Writing.
Aaron Stokes
rated it it was ok
Feb 22, 2013
Rose F
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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."

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