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Mother Country Paperback – December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374526591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374526597
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Great Britain, the world's largest commercial producer of plutonium, also leads the world in environmental pollution, Robinson claims. In what PW termed a "convincing, explosive expose," British economic and social history is examined to prove that the profit motive engenders this flagrant neglect of environment and individuals. Author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Robinson, whose first novel was the critically acclaimed Housekeeping ( LJ 12/1/80), here writes a nonfictional account of Sellafield, a governnment-owned plant in Northern England that, for 40 years, has been dumping radioactive residue into the Irish Sea, causing a major source of ground and water contamination and high cancer rates in the surrounding area. Robinson discovered this problem while on sabbatical in England a few years ago. She devotes half of her book to a discussion of Britain's industrial history--from the Poor Laws of the 14th century to the Official Secrets Act of the 20th--that shows a continual protection of this sort of conduct from close scrutiny. Robinson's loathing for British attitudes toward the powerless is consummate, and no American reading her book will ever feel the same about the mother country.-- Daniel La Rossa, Connetquot P.L., Bohemia, N.Y. Reviewers wanted for reference and pop ular books in medicine, science, and tech nology. Hot topics: childcare, aging, envi ronmentalism, radiation, popular use of microcomputers, and more. Those interest ed in writing critical, comparative reviews are invited to send a sample review to Judy Quinn, The Book Review.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the bestselling novels Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), Housekeeping, and two books of nonfiction, Mother Country and The Death of Adam. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In a life time of reading one may come across a book or two written with both great passion and linguistic craft. Marilynne Robinson's Mother Country is one such work. These two hundred thirty odd pages bristle and glisten with insight, logic, and control of the Mother tongue mustered in a searing indictment of the British state plutonium reprocessing business at Sellafield. The details and extent of Britain's mindless pollution of the natural environment will shock most readers. First, however, all but the Philistine will be stunned by Ms. Robinson's art, wisdom, depth of feeling, and mastery of English prose. Among a few books I unreservedly recommend
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Warren on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book Mother Country is made up of two parts. The first is a history of the British welfare system. The second is about nuclear fuel reprocessing and plutonium production at Sellafield (Windscale). Both are interesting, but the author has made too little effort to address the relationship between the two. Nevertheless, there are sentences and paragraphs to be found in this book that are exquisitely written. Through the prism of Robinson's mind, some unpleasant realities are plucked out of the white background noise that culture treats as normalcy.

Robinson seeks the roots of a major environmental problem by exposing what she considers to be a long-standing pattern of hypocrisy, moral weakness, and lack of courage. _Mother Country_ is an indictment of English culture. As an American, I become nervous reading a condemnation of British attitudes toward the environment, written by another American. If we are lucky, someday Robinson will apply her pen to an analysis of how American culture has produced one of our own nuclear messes, such as Hanford, Washington.

The main focus of the book is the failure of British government to represent the public interest, but some of her harshest criticisms are directed at the media, where disinformation, combined with a general lack of information, are too often accepted on topics of critical importance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Kane on December 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What happens when an aristocracy and oligarchy care not a whit for common people? Nuclear waste dumped in the North Sea and more.
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