The Good Life Paperback – Jan 3 1990
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“Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash. . . . Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings’ challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.”
—The Washington Post Book World
"A prophetic account of the creation of a self-sufficient little Walden . . . that has been an underground bible for the city-weary."
"The Nearings are plain daylight, solid prose, sound information."
—The New York Times Book Review
"As close to a Walden for out times as we're likely to see."
From the Publisher
"Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills."--Washington Post Book WorldSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
More than anything, I found myself feeling sorry for Helen Nearing. I know she supposedly went along with this way of life willingly, but if you read between the lines, you'll find Scott Nearing self-righteous, overbearing, a pretty bad host to company and not much fun at parties.
On the other hand, if you want someone to build you a fence and throw you a handful of granola, he's your man.
The book gives no real practical knowledge of homesteading, other than a densely written, obtuse chapter on building with stone. It also actively disparages the rural culture and traditions of the people around their homestead. The Nearings are the only people who know anything (in their estimation), and the fact that the people around them don't bow down to them, and acquiesce to their every wish and demand, just proves that they are all dolts.
I also found it curious that despite the fact that the Nearings claimed not to use any animals on their homestead, there are two pictures of them in the book (at least in the 1970 edition I was reading) using a team of horses.
In "Continuing the Good Life," the Nearings describe how they built a second homestead in Maine. Once again, they explain how they constructed a house from stone, and how they developed a case income, this time based on blueberries. Gardening and diet is also given more space in this volume than it had in "Living the Good Life".
This book is rich with both inspiration and practical details.Read more ›
Helen Nearing tells us that they left the city with three objectives:
- economic: independence from the commodity and labor markets
- hygienic: to maintain and improve health
- social and ethical: to liberate and dissociate from the cruder forms of exploitation - plunder of the planet, slavery of man and beast, slaughter in war and animals for food. They were against the accumulation of profit and unearned income by non-producers.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
In the early 70's I was given Living the Good Life. The book was lost over the years, but remained in my memory. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Elena W
This was an excellent review of the previous books, which I read years ago. I turned down several page corners so I could review them again as I need the information when planting... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gordon Harris
Since I am planning to retire in rural Ontario and grow my own food, I because fascinated by the Nearings. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2009 by Avid Reader
This book first came into our lives a good 15 years ago. Since then,
because of our interest and pursuit of homesteading, we have read and
re-read it and much more about... Read more
This is a wonderful book if you want to learn what to do and what not to do if you desire to be as self sufficient as possible. Read morePublished on July 28 2003 by Elizabeth
... I believe I was first made aware of this excellent book in the pages of THE WHOLE EARTH CATALOG over twenty five years ago. I did not read it until now, in 2003. ... Read morePublished on April 14 2003 by The Aeolian Kid
I love New England. My favorite state being Maine. I love the mountains and the woods.
When I read the excerpt from the book about two people leaving the urban life in the... Read more
The Nearing's work ethic and independant spirit is admirable. Unfortunately they show a lot of contempt and distain for these same qualities in their Vermont neighbors. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2003
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