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Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream Paperback – May 4, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved the author's vignettes of the various different families and individuals trying to live simply, and I wish he'd explored them further. I especially liked that he included discussions of race and class--there, I found his inner dialogue thoughtful and important to the discussion. A lot of us moving out to the country and downshifting are essentially self-absorbed yuppies, and forming new social bonds and adjusting to the change of pace can be a real challenge. Racism and classism are as real and difficult in the country as in the city, but in the city, it's easier to live in a safe little echo chamber of like-minded people and avoid ugly issues altogether. It's easier to forget that you, too, have ingrained biases that you need to confront.
I also really liked the initial tone of the book, and the writing style--it captured his restlessness and disillusion--and those early details like the hospital that farmed out its catering to Wendy's were exactly the sort of typical corporate BS that makes you crave this kind of book--but I found myself getting annoyed with the new-age language that progressively seeped in as he settled into the 12x12--and it actually made me feel resistant to a message that I essentially agreed with.
My main disappointment was that there wasn't more useful information.Read more ›
Dr. Jackie Benton (not her real name), a mother, peace activist and "wisdomkeeper" who mostly lives off the produce from her permaculture farm, struck Powers as someone who had achieved self-mastery in confusing times. To avoid war taxes (fifty cents out of every dollar goes to the Pentagon) she accepts only eleven thousand dollars instead of the three hundred thousand she could make as a senior physician.
Powers needing a way out of despair from a separation from his young daughter and a decade of challenging international aid work accepted Jackie's offer to stay in her cabin next to No Name Creek for a season while she traveled.
He said Jackie's 12 X 12 and her unique approach to living in todays world seemed full of clues toward living lightly and artfully. He hoped it would help him learn to think, feel and live another way.
Having worked in Africa and South America Powers asked Jackie how we can stop the northern economies pillage of the Global South's forests, mines and oceans. He later came to synthesize Jackie's vision as "see, be, do." Before acting on a problem we must "BE." Take time in solitude to reflect, meditate or pray. Only when we SEE with clarity can we act ("DO") fearlessly. Powers says this blending of inner peace with loving action is sometimes called God, intuition, the "still small voice," grace or presence.Read more ›
There are pros and cons about this kind of life. It is a simple life to live off the land, but it is a hard life that I don't to repeat. I am 78 years old and I think back to those days, and would take electricity and running water any time! But there has to be a way we can have some of both lives. I don't want the Tyson Chicken farms. I buy my eggs from a local farmer and my vegetables and berries and fruits when I can get them, from local farmers. I buy meat from a small town meat market who buys grass fed meat...local ranchers..and I see the cattle on the farms around here grazing in the fields and it makes me feel good. I buy milk from a local dairy that does not add hormones to the mild. I pay more for it, but I love the taste and I know it is pure.
There is way to live a simple life. You just have to make up your mind how to do it!
I liked the book and I liked how Bill Powers intertwines his personal life into the narrative of writing about global warming, permaculture and the environment.
Lois Zook Wauson
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting read. Cannot reconcile the author's carbon footprint with the breathless reverence for the 12x12 life.Published 5 months ago by Josephine R. Bisbee
What is enough? When I lived in East Africa, I marveled that so many families lived in very small spaces. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Curmudgeon in the Kitchen
Just started this book, and really am enjoying it so far, would definitely recommend it!Published 9 months ago by Maggie Rooney
This and New Slow City by Powers may be the most influential books I have ever read! I really enjoyed the experience of reading them too.Published 11 months ago by Shannon
One of the best books I have read in months...and I read a lot! This book beautifully describes what it truly means to live simplistically, using the least amount of the Earth's... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amy