If you read just one of his essays, you'll either love Wendell Berry or you really, really won't. But if you read several essays, and if you read an essay and a story or a novel or some of his poemsv you'll start thinking.<,i>Citizenship Papers includes nineteen essays published Between 1996 and 2003, essays as diversely interesting as the intelligent way of breeding sheep, the way agriculture is done in Tuscany, the interminable failure of war (which includes Berry's powerful statement against abortion). But please, pause at length over ''Is Life a Miracle?'' and the statement therein: ''My resources are the things I in my cultural inheritance have recognized as my own and have tried to live up to: agrarianism, democracy, and Christianity... That everything that exists is a divine gift, which places us in a position of extreme danger, solvable only by love for everything that exists, including our enemies.'' Please also deeply ponder ''Two Minds,'' which distinguishes the Rational Mind (''objective, analytical, empirical'') and the Sympathetic Mind (''refusing to limit knowledge to the scope of reason or factuality or experimentation''). Admittedly, reading Wendell Berry is, or should be, extremely unsettling. But it is also permanently enriching.
An Eighth Day View:
Citizenship papers, n 1. Materials prepared for presentation to authorities when making an application for citizenship. 2. Documents presented as proof of citizenship.
There are those in America today who seem to feel we must audition for our citizenship, with "Patriot" offered as the badge for those found narrowly worthy. Let this book stand as Wendell Berry's application, for he is one of those faithful, devoted critics envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be the life's blood and very future of the nation they imagined. Adams, Jefferson and Madison would have found great clarity in his prose and great hope in his vision. And today's readers will be moved and encouraged by his anger and his refusal to surrender in the face of desperate odds. Books get written for all sorts of reasons, and this book was written out of necessity.
Citizenship Papers collects nineteen new essays, from celebrations of exemplary lives to critiques of American life, including "A Citizen's Response to the new National Security Strategy]"--a ringing call of caution to a nation standing on the brink of global catastrophe.