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A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship with Nature Hardcover – April 14, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; First Edition edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805078355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805078350
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to Gibson (Warrior Dreams), No political movement [in the last two decades]... can account for the intensity of feeling expressed by those... who experience an attachment to animals and places so overwhelming that they feel morally compelled to protect them, and who look to nature for psychic regeneration and renewal. He follows the thread of the recently recovered tradition of Native American spiritualism and historical figures who rejected a mechanical view of modernism—Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, John Muir, Rachel Carson—arguing that out of these shards of history came the new culture of enchantment and a paradigm that stresses a relationship with rather than dominion over other species. The rise of the reenchantment of nature is not all sweetness and light; Gibson notes the ecological damage caused by enthusiastic nature tourists and evangelicals' backlash against nature worship as idolatry. But the book's message is passionately optimistic. Gibson believes that the cultural transformation gathering momentum and coupled with political courage to act can remake the world. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Since the industrial era, our connection with the environment has been one of utilitarianism and capitalist interests. Recently, however, the greening of our culture has been moving from society's fringes to become prominent. Gibson (sociology, California State Univ., Long Beach; Warrior Dreams: Paramilitary Culture in Post-Vietnam America) has deemed this renaissance of ecoworship "reenchantment"—where humans once again recognize their spiritual and emotional connections with nature. His own sense of reenchantment palpable, Gibson details each of the major American connections with the earth. Spanning from Native American lore to the Gaia hypothesis of the 1970s and on to today, he weaves the work of the most prominent writers in the field of earth sciences with the artistic works of poets, photographers, and songwriters. Gibson's synthesis of the green movement's varied components offers an insightful new perspective on the modern-day reenchantment with our planet. Lengthy endnotes provide an excellent resource for more information. Highly recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries. (Index not seen.)—Jaime Hammond, Naugatuck Valley Community Coll. Lib., Waterbury, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By jd103 on May 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I strongly believe that whatever hope for the future we and other species have lies not with technology or the recovery of consumerism but with the subject matter of this book--a renewed emotional connection with the natural world. So I was greatly looking forward to reading this book and maybe as a result am a little disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good broad (if therefore somewhat necessarily shallow) look at the history of the subject. If you have a long-standing interest in this topic, you'll be reading about a lot of events you remember but there will probably be enough you missed that you should keep pen and paper nearby to jot down subjects for further investigation.

We get brief looks at a wide range of related topics: indigenous spirituality, famous authors, Gaia theory, earth photos from space, Earth First! and related groups, wildlife, positive and negative religious effects, land use law, motorized recreation, politics, and many more.

Some subjects seemed oddly missing. For instance, although arts are touched upon, there's no mention of musician Paul Winter who made many recordings on the exact subject of our relationship with the natural world.

In general, rather than having this read like well-researched recent history, I would have preferred more current examples of people talking about their attempts at connection with the earth. Let's hear from the wildlife rehabbers, and the organic farmers and gardeners, and the pagans, and the eco-warriors, and the conservation biologists.

But if you're new to the topic, this is essential history for you. It will help raise your interest and lead you on to more reading, experiences, and connections with the earth and like-minded humans.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By a concerned scientist on July 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have read on the interesting subject of meaningful relations between humans and other creatures. The author offers a plethora of stories about inter-species relationships that are both captivating and remarkable. He describes many current human activities and projects that are serving to bring us back in harmony with Nature. He is unremittingly hopeful as he foresees the emergence of a `culture of enchantment' - people who recognizes nature as sacred and alive...people who will MAKE Nature sacred. I especially like his words when he says that we can "renew communication and establish kinship (with Nature) through ceremony and ritual".

Gibson has surpassed most of the masculine-oriented environmental writers of the 20th century as he places emphasis on the relationship between humans and individual organisms (as opposed to relationships with species or ecosystems or with `Nature') - he realizes that specific connections to animals and particular landscapes are vital. He also says that if we lose grizzlies (or any other aspects of wild nature) then what we primarily lose is our ability to grow through relations with them. He really gets it!

On the down side, Gibson, like virtually all writers who are envisioning a human transition from `empire to Earth community' (David Korten's words), makes the mistake of identifying spirit and `making-sacred' as the foundation for the movement. In describing his vision of a culture of enchantment he says "More than an ideology, this quest for connection indicates a fundamental rejection of the most basic premises of modern thought and society".
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Noreen Mccracken on August 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a citizen of planet earth, I believe Mr. Gibson's book gives a well considered and researched historical review, warning and ultimately, hope to the average layperson who is concerned, and quite often, frightened for the future of our natural world. Using the term "reenchantment" originally gave me a confused and uneasy feeling. Was this to be a book of science or new age rhetoric? Gleaning ideas, facts and history from many varied sources, the author manages to weave a story that is at once discouraging but hopeful. The final chapters, however, show one the difference even a single personal campaign for change can make to turning the tide of what seems eminent disaster. This is a very worthwhile and important book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Talbott B. Hagood Jr. on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best nonfiction of its type I've ever read. One of my all-time favorites. A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship with NatureA "must read" for every lover of nature, wildlife and wild places.
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