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"You and I are not people who live in communion with the earth," Chellis Glendinning begins. "We exist instead dislocated from our roots by the psychological, philosophical, and technological constructions of our civilization, and this alienation leads to our suffering: massive suffering for each and every one of us, and mass suffering throughout our society."
Whether you believe the full ramifications of Glendinning's connections between addictive behavior and the ecological crisis depends entirely on whether you accept the premise that one can be "addicted" to civilization. But her call for a return to a nature-based culture, one in which people live "as if [we] were responsible for building the culture that the rocks and trees and birds of this place expected of human beings," is a compelling proposal, elaborated from the heart.
This brilliant, offbeat, and ultimately provocative book is nothing short of revolutionary. Its title, of course, is off-putting; indeed, the concept of recovering from Western civilization sounds rather arrogant. But Glendinning hits the nail on the head, making the connection between the recovery movement and the environmental movement so well that their concurrent emergence makes sense. She digs into the aspects of Western civilization we desperately need to recover from--our technological addictions, fast pace, daily and lifelong traumas, dissociation from the natural world and ourselves--and ably shows why the way of life they constitute is so unhealthy. She uses examples from nature-based cultures to show how to reconnect with the world, and by probing into her own as well as our collective psyche, she courageously takes the leap toward emotional, spiritual, and physical health that she invites the rest of us to follow. Mary Ellen SullivanSee all Editorial Reviews
Serious treatment of the reasons behind the ecological mess we're in, and how we got here. Not only that, though, because it includes the reasons each one of us may be personally... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Joseph C Bergmann
I received a good deal on a used copy of this book, however, the condition was described as "very good". Read morePublished on August 23, 2013 by Henry
Chellis Glendinning grew up in a wealthy and respectable family in Cleveland. Her father was a caring doctor and a brutal child abuser. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Richard Reese (author of Sustainable or Bust)
I used to believe her and others until I moved near Mexico. That nation doesn't have any environmental movements which are only found in the west. Read morePublished on October 18, 2012 by Alucard
The moment I saw the title of this book I knew immediately I need to buy it. I felt in this book I will find the semantics for what was already intuitively present in my heart. Read morePublished on September 5, 2012 by Lilly Lovecraft
I am indebted to Glendenning's razor sharp, spiritual deep ecology, self-critique, of the "shadow sides," of various New Age religions and Neo-Paganism, European and Asian pagan... Read morePublished on February 29, 2012 by Daniel A. Salomon
Most of the world's population would have to die in order to go back to her pre-civilization utopia. Read morePublished on January 27, 2012 by Eleanore M.
I thought that this book was going to be a critique of contemporary western culture, but, as it turns out, the author believes that we should all go back to the living conditions... Read morePublished on September 13, 2011 by Sheila Golburgh Johnson
This book makes several very interesting points, but gets very drawn out and preachy in between. This book can be split into 10 page segments where an idea with real merit is... Read morePublished on April 2, 2011 by James Basham