Books That Inspire 2013

The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture
Wendell Berry

Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award (2012).

My great-grandparents homesteaded their land in Nebraska, and my grandparents and parents continued to farm the same land for almost eighty years. I witnessed the change from small, family-owned farms to the monolithic agribusiness giants who took over most of the agricultural land and food production in the United States. Wendell Berry's classic book of essays, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, cogently addresses the effects of neglecting responsible land use and the resulting moral shift in our cultural landscape. Berry's writing, which includes over forty books of essays, fiction, and poetry, has inspired me to closely examine the ways in which I relate and respond to the land that supports all our lives. Originally published in 1977, the book remains relevant and was the subject of a conference in early April of this year, entitled: From Unsettling to Resettling: What Will It Take to Resettle America?

Marla Johnson
Book review Editor
World Literature Today