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The World-Ending Fire



Original Language: English (US) | 368 pp. | May 2018

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, French, and Nordic Rights

Rights sold: UK (Penguin/Allen Lane)


Compelling, luminous… our modern-day Thoreau. He is unlike anybody else writing today. He writes at least as well as George Orwell and has an urgent message for modern industrial capitalism… nobody can risk ignoring him. — Andrew Marr, New Statesman

A fascinating tribute to the life of the land… Berry’s writings are timelier than ever. — Laura Garmeson, Financial Times

This collection sees the American published on these islands for the first time, and now he has finally stepped ashore, it’s worth getting to know him … Berry overturns plenty of thoughtful topsoil on environmental issues with a precise pen, and clears any thicket of cosy consensus with a clear eye and cutting hand. — Irish Times

Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him. — Washington Post Book World

Mr. Berry’s sentences and stories deliver a great payload of edifying entertainment, which I hungrily consume, but it is the bass note of morality thumping through his musical phrases that guides me with the most constant of hands upon my plow. — Nick Offerman, New York Times bestselling author of Paddle Your Own Canoe

Read [Berry] with pencil in hand, make notes and hope that somehow our country and the world will soon come to see the truth that is told here. — The New York Times

The rarest (and highest) of literary classes consist of that small group of authors who are absolutely inimitable… One of the half-dozen living American authors who belongs in this class is Wendell Berry. — Los Angeles Times

Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him. — The Washington Post Book World

In a time when our relationship to the natural world is ruled by the violence and greed of unbridled consumerism, Wendell Berry speaks out in these prescient essays, drawn from his 50-year campaign on behalf of American lands and communities.

Wendell Berry began his life in post-war America as the old times and the last of the old-time people were dying out, and continues to this day in the old ways: a team of work horses and a pencil are his preferred working tools. The writings gathered in The World-Ending Fire are the unique product of a life spent farming the fields of rural Kentucky with mules and horses, and of the rich, intimate knowledge of the land cultivated by this work. These are essays written in defiance of the false call to progress and in defense of local landscapes, essays that celebrate our cultural heritage, our history, and our home.

With grace and conviction, he shows that we simply cannot afford to succumb to the mass-produced madness that drives our global economy—the natural world will not survive it.

Yet he also shares with us a vision of consolation and of hope. We may be locked in an uneven struggle, but we can and must begin to treat our land, our neighbours, and ourselves with respect and care. As Berry urges, we must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.

Wendell Berry, an essayist, novelist, and poet, has been honored with the T.S. Eliot Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the John Hay Award of the Orion Society, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, among others. In 2010, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama, and in 2016, he was the recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle. He is also a fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wendell lives with his wife, Tanya Berry, on their farm in Henry County, Kentucky.