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Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life Series) Paperback – March 1, 1993


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Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life Series) + The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Helen and Scott Nearing wrote Living the Good Life and many other best-selling books about working hard, living simply and self-sufficiently while saving time for fun and pursuits of the intellect. This is a book written by Helen after Scott died (at 100 years old!), and is a story of love and living and dying on one's own terms, at peace with the world and with one's own heart. Inspiring and moving, this is a "how-to" book about facing life with delight and with eyes open.

From Library Journal

This quiet and reserved memoir is a tribute to the "good life" and the ideals of self-sufficiency, simplicity, socialism, and pacifism that Helen and Scott Nearing shared for 53 years. Helen was 24 years old in 1928 when she met Scott, a married 45-year-old economics professor who had been blacklisted by universities and publishers for his radical views. In 1932, the Nearings left New York City for a Vermont farm, beginning the homesteading life described in their Living the Good Life (1954), the bible of the back-to-the-land movement. Later, they moved to Maine where, during the 1960s and 1970s, they played host to 2000 visitors a year. For Scott and Helen, old age was a "time of fulfillment. Scott kept his strength and bearing all through his last decades." But as he neared his 100th birthday in 1983, he chose to leave the good life peacefully by fasting. Helen is a modest narrator, at times so self-effacing that she switches into third person as when she discusses her relationship with the Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. Still, her eloquent chapter on death and old age and her loving portrait of a remarkable man makes this a recommended purchase for public libraries.
- Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Good Life Series
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; Reprint edition (March 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930031636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930031633
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Helen Nearing left city life with her husband, Scott, nearly sixty years ago to move first to Vermont and then to their farm in Harborside, Maine. The Nearings' food and living philosophies have provided the guidelines for many who seek a simpler way of life.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
70%
4 star
22%
3 star
9%
2 star
0%
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See all 23 customer reviews
And that in the end the good guy can win.
Elizabeth
Read "Living the Good Life" first and if you are interested in learning more about the Nearings read this book.
Smallchief
I have read it several times, and love having it on my bookshelf.
Barron Laycock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on July 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
In today's youth-obsessed contemporary culture, it is a rare treat to be able to find a book so full of loving wisdom written by someone so involved socially, politically, and spiritually in the events of the 20th century. Therefore, I was enthralled in reading Helen Nearing's moving, absorbing and often quite disarming recollections and reflections on her life, both as an individual and as the lifetime partner of one of the most celebrated critics, iconoclasts and individualists of our time, economist, philosopher and social critic Scott Nearing.
The two lived lives singularly devoid of apologies, half-efforts, or excuses, living it largely on their own terms, based on their own labors and ingenuity. Early in the 1930s they struck out from New York City to escape the Depression and social convention by starting a revolutionary experiment in rural Vermont. In many respects the experiment succeeded, yet they were never able to transform it from a personal adventure to one more largely social and community-based in the Vermont setting. With the coming of ski resorts and encroaching exurbia in the early 1950s, the Nearings moved once again to rural Penobscot Bay in Maine to start again.
Of course, in due time they were suddenly "discovered" by the baby boomers and the counterculture in the late 1960s, and became the elder statesmen of the `back-to-the-land' movement of the late sixties and early seventies. In all this, Scott and Helen continued in their commitment to a socially aware, civically responsible, and environmentally sustainable way of living. By the time Scott died at age 100 in the early 1980s, thousands of curious counterculture hopefuls made the pilgrimage to visit with the Nearings at their celebrated farm in rural coastal Maine.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By GENE GERUE on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I discovered Helen and Scott's books in the early 1970s and they inspired and sustained me as I planned my escape from urban California. Not long before she died, Helen reviewed my book and gave it a wonderful testimonial which I will always cherish. No other two people have had a greater influence on the back-to-the-land movement. Helen and Scott were born to privilege and rejected it to live lives that showed by example their commitment to right living. They were vegetarians, they raised most of their food, and they were remarkable in their physical and intellectual capacities. Their physical bodies are dead but their spirits live on in the lives of those now living the good life because of their example. After Scott died at the age of 100 by purposefully not eating, Helen wrote this candid book that gives insight into their private lives and reveals their deep convictions.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having encountered the Nearings in Mother Earth News in the 70's I quickly became an avid admirer as well as a sincere follower of their wisdom. Thus I was overjoyed to buy Helens book because it allowed me to see a side of both Scott and Helen I never knew that well. The man whom I had admired as a wise soul but a tad put off by people, comes across as such a loving and yes "romantic" soul which made me like him even more. And Helen sharing how she was raised and the experiences she had and how she was encouraged by Scott to spread her wings and not allow him to fence her in, is a must read for any woman who questions where she belongs in the whole life circle.
We must own a good five hundred books that we love, but this book is amongst a handful that get read and re-read over and over, with something new being learned each time. I also think the book like all their books is a must read, because it reminds us how fascists this country (united states) has been and can be and the price sincere patriots often pay. As well as the value of taking the path less traveled and not relinquishing ones personal integrity or perseverance. And that in the end the good guy can win.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS on January 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
When your 100-year old husband of 55 years has passed on and you, at 88, can see your own end, and when you have spent most of those years seeking and living the good life, and when you take the time and trouble to record your thoughts for posterity, it is surely worthwhile for us, the readers, to take note and reflect on what might be of value in our own goal of living the good life. This is not a biography of the husband, Scott, nor an autobiography of Helen but it is offered as a tribute to Scott's being as Helen knew it. She wants Scott to be remembered as an unassuming, kindly, wise, husband as well as a principled, uncompromising, intellectual radical; she also wants to share with us his peaceful, intentioned, and premeditated ending.
Born in the upper echelons of society, he worked alongside immigrant laborers in the Pennsylvania mine run by his grandfather. This was a formative experience that resulted in his speaking publicly in his early twenties on liberal reform. '''Even before I began the study of economics,' he said in an early lecture, 'I was impressed by the monstrous inequality which exists between the rich and the poor in modern society. The rich enjoy wealth, leisure, and boundless opportunity. The poor are overwhelmed by misery, overwork, and insanitation. The rich have a heaven of opportunity; the poor a hell of misery, and the heaven of the rich is founded upon the hell of the poor. If I was impressed by these conditions before I had studied them, I was appalled after having given them careful consideration. I had heard of poverty; I believed that misery and vice existed, but I was not aware that they were prevalent in every town and city of the land.
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Loving and Leaving the Good Life (Good Life Series)
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