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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  224 Ratings  ·  20 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 June 1st 2005 by Orion Society (first published December 1st 2001)
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Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, food
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
Jordan J. Andlovec
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stunningly prescient. This short collection of essays circles around how globalism has changed us and given us all a sort of cognitive dissonance as we look out into the complexity of the world and its myriad problems.
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
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book worth sharing with all of your neighbors and reading with all of your friends. This is the movement we need for America and the world. Local, vocational, radical. I couldn't recommend it enough. Here's a sentence that I may use for an epigraph: "The outward harmony that we desire between our economy and the world depends finally upon an inward harmony between our own hearts and the originating that is the life of all creatures, a spirit as near us as our own flesh and yet forever ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely imperative read for anybody existing within the culture of the world today. Urgent, timeless, unquestioningly significant and pertaining to all those qualifying as a consumer in the post industrial society, ESPECIALLY in America. It will strike a deep chord to those who care at all about the wellbeing of the planet and humanity. Encouraging us to love symbiotically with the earth or face autonomy, oppression, and extinction. you must read this.. Change Your Perspective!
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
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...
James Hatton
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Brian Tucker
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"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
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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