Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Indie for the Holidays egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Luxury Beauty Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer bf15 bf15 bf15 $30 Off Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals BestoftheYear Shop Now DOTD

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by plumcircle
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Publisher overstock with possible minor shelfwear, remainder mark. Leaves our warehouse same or next business day. Most continental U.S. orders lead time 4-10 days. International - most countries 10-21 days, others 4 weeks.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry Paperback – August 5, 2003

24 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$9.99 $6.39

First read by millions worldwide in The New York Times. Gratitude brings together four essays written over the last two years of Sacks' life. Check out "Gratitude". | See more by Oliver Sacks

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Berrys themes are reflections of his life: friends, family, the farm, the nature around us as well as within. He speaks strongly for himself and sometimes for the lost heart of the country. As he has borne witness to the world for eight decades, what he offers us now in this new collection of poems is of incomparable value. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 1 edition (August 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593760078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593760076
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Kramer on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
For me the central theme of this book can be illustrated in this quote. " I don't think it is appreciated how much of an outdoor book the Bible is." Berry is a deeply religious man who lives his religion every moment in his deep, deep connections to the land, to all animals, to community,to the growing of food, and to the world as an organic entity.
As wonderful as it is to have Poet Laureates, I wish we also had Philosopher Laureates and that Wendell Berry had that forum. His thoughts are important for the national consciousness.
"The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other. The freedom of affluence opposes and contradicts the freedom of community life."
Berry advocates watching government closely, nationally but particularly locally. When it comes time to protest, he calls for facts and good arguments, not just slogans and buttons.
"I would rather go before the governement with two people who have a competent understanding of an issue, and who therefore deserve a hearing, than with two thousand who are vaguely dissatisfied."
These essays span several decades but the ideas are more relevant today than when they were written. The trends and programs, such as GATT and the loss of topsoil and the rise of megafarms, are as bad as he feared but time has proven them even more destructive.
"Restraint - for us, now - above all:the ability to accept and live within limits; to resist changes that are merely novel or fashionable; to resist greed and pride; to resist the temptation to 'solve' problems by ignoring them, accepting them as 'tradeoffs', or bequesthing them to posterity. A good solution, then, must be in harmony with good character, cultural value, and moral law."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Eanes on August 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sometimes, during and after reading a particular book, I feel as though I could not have read anything more appropriate at that time.

The book blows me away with its depth, its insight, or the amazing questions it raises.

The Art of the Commonplace is one of those books, and it may be the best introduction to Wendell Berry a reader can ask for. As a collection of essays over more than twenty years, it covers a wide range of social issues-such as agriculture and the environment, family and marriage, consumerism, and globalism-which is amazing given that all of them relate to agrarian topics.

Berry poses questions that most of us never consider, and I believe that is the main reason Berry is one of the most desperately needed Christian writers in today's America.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J Charles on January 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book took me more time to get through than any other I can recall, page for page, because I had to constantly set it down and take notes. In fantastic irony I was taking these notes on my phone and emailing them to myself. Berry would be so horrified! I ended up with about 6,000 words of notes from this, and that's from having read half the essays (generally I take about 0 notes when reading a text). As a young suburbanite who considers himself extremely "progressive" and very pro government, as someone who has made a life of living off fake food, as an atheist, as a rationalist obsessed with finding all the correct answers and believing we will find them in the laboratory, and as a current student at an agricultural university where the agriculture department is invisible (and committed to biotechnology) and everything else is business, I was taken by this selection of essays and essentially thrown against the wall. I've absolutely never been so influenced by a single text in my life.

Berry is the first person I have ever conversed with (and because of the way this man writes it feels like I did converse with him) who could explain traditional religious ideals in terms of their actual practical application. As a student of literature, despite my societal and technologically ingrained commitment to specialization and fragmentation and fracture, I at least recognize that there is something to a story, something that is difficult, right now, to explain in terms of a series of chemical reactions in the reader's mind. Don't misunderstand me: I am an atheist and a materialist still, but that's exactly the point. Berry, despite his protestantism, explains everything in the most rational and sequential way possible.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tiemann on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
If I had to recommend one single book to inform the solutions to the problems of the 21st century, it would be The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry.

Among the many great manifestos and other eye-opening books I have read, from The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals to Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair to Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman to Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy to The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Vintage), I find all of them enriched by Berry's fundamental insights into the essence what what being human means, including the bits that, in the late 20th century/early 21st century, our modern society has attempted to ignore, diminish, or outright suppress. Berry's own unique experiences, and his poetic as well as prophetic ways of speaking bring us back to the garden, in both a literal and a religious sense. It is a return long overdue.

Michael Pollan was the first person to recommend Wendell Berry's writings to me, and my only regret is that I waited four years to actually act on his recommendation.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?