The radical search for the simple life in today's America.
On a frigid April night, a classically trained opera singer, five months pregnant, and her husband, a former marine biologist, disembark an Amtrak train in La Plata, Missouri, assemble two bikes, and pedal off into the night, bound for a homestead they've purchased sight unseen. Meanwhile, a horticulturist, heir to the Great Migration that brought masses of African Americans to Detroit, and her husband, a product of the white flight from it, have turned to urban farming to revitalize the blighted city they both love. And near Missoula, Montana, a couple who have been at the forefront of organic farming for decades navigate what it means to live and raise a family ethically.
A work of immersive journalism steeped in a distinctively American social history and sparked by a personal quest, The Unsettlers traces the search for the simple life through the stories of these new pioneers and what inspired each of them to look for - or create - a better existence. Captivating and clear-eyed, it dares us to imagine what a sustainable, ethical, authentic future might actually look like.
©2017 Mark Sundeen (P)2017 Penguin Audio
"Well researched, immediately engaging, immensely readable, and ultimately inspiring. This is the perfect read for DIY-types with dreams of saving the world, or at least their own backyards." (Booklist)
"Engaging, honest, and deeply personal...[Sundeen's] superb reporting produces revealing portraits of modern hippies...inspiring.... Provocative reading for anyone who has ever yearned for a life of radical simplicity." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Sundeen...ask[s] important questions about technology, the economy, and the moral implications of being both critic and participant in our society." (Publisher's Weekly)
I very much enjoy this work. At a few points I was confused by stories inside stories, but quickly caught on. This might be the closest thing to a overview of homesteading and counter cultural with an eye to the world context. It was also a beautiful book.
I had a hard time finishing this book. It mostly depicted white dudes and their guilt about life. The black experience is so foreign to this guy that he devotes a lot of time to "how black folks ended up in Detroit," when no other character gets the same kind of treatment. I believe the author is a journalist, and he does paint a decent portrait, but I couldn't finish it. White dude existentialist ennui in a environmentalist setting just isn't that interesting.
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