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The Hidden Wound Paperback – May 18, 2010
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"Berry has produced one of the most humane, honest, liberating works of our time. It is a beautiful book. More than that, it has become at one stroke an essential book. Every American who can read at all should read it." Hayden Carruth, The Village Voice
"One of the most impressive aspects of Berry's book is the authentic simplicity of his style, the directness with which that style can accommodate Tolstoy, Malcolm X, work songs, anecdotes, speculation, and polemic indignation . . . The strength of this book is its connecting America's two major problems: the exploiting of men and land; it deserves as wide an audience as possible." Louisville Courier-Journal
"One of the most touching and true personal testaments concerned with our country's racial dilemma." Publishers Weekly
"The brunt of the book is to wake us up, page after page, from stupidity. 'It is a kind of death,' Montaigne said, 'to avoid the pain of well doing, or trouble of well living.' Wendell Berry makes that observation rip the air like an alarm clock." Guy Davenport, Life
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Top Customer Reviews
This book was published in 1970 and I don't think our culture has yet faced the "wound" as Berry tries to in this book as illustrated by the reaction to Barack Obama's "Racism" speech. By chance the next book I picked up to read is a compilation of essays about the state of America, "These United States: Original Essays by Leading American Writers on Their State Within the Union" edited by John Leonard. The first essay is by Diane McWhorter as she discusses these same issues in present day Alabama. It is subtitled "The Past is Still Not Past". I highly recommend it as a continuation of the issues discussed in "The Hidden Wound".
from a "recovering racist."
The first section of the book revolves around Mr. Berry's retelling of various legends and pieces of history from the civil war era, and how legends are often used to cover up the intense spiritual pain that society thrusts upon individuals. Usually, we hear about the horrors of slavery and white supremacy from its black victims, or white liberal activists who stood out in their opposition to these evils. However, Berry courageously places himself in the middle of the white culture that promoted the immoral exploitation of American black folk. In the process, he brings to light the incredible amounts of spiritual masochism, political double-think, and cultural paranoia that white supremacy wrought, all from an insider's point of view.
From here, the book moves towards Berry's more direct experiences with the contradictions of white supremacy. We learn about Berry's childhood relationship with the black work-hands on his father's farm. The purpose of this section, as Berry himself tells us, is to show how the personal experience of love and mutual companionship is capable of cutting to the heart of societal evils. If "The Hidden Wound" had been written by an academician, this section would have taken the form of a more abstract, ideological critique of white supremacy. Instead of this well-traveled road, Berry opts for a much more personal touch.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite books. Raises some great and original points from our country's past. A must read for any modern Southerner or anyone that feels a connection to the Earth.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
After reading this book I feel like Neo with the explanation of I am in a world created by an architect with his on means to an end. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Paul Buice
i have recently fallen in love with this author and wan't to read something besides his fiction...this book is amazingPublished 22 months ago by sarah p