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Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture Paperback – February 1, 2010
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"The world is moving towards a tougher period, when the relative ease and luxury we've known will be tested. But that test can deepen our family and community lives, as Shannon Hayes shows, providing more of us-of both genders-become homemakers."--Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future<br \><br \>
"Imagine women with masters degrees and PhDs who choose home over career advancement. Imagine wives (and husbands) who reject the false promise of endless paid labor to tend gardens and children and friendships. In a time when Wall Street MBAs-producing nothing of value but rewarded with million-dollar bonuses and blinded by greed-have driven our country to bankruptcy and despair, Shannon Hayes' stories of women and men who choose simplicity, authenticity and community inspire hope. Outside the boxes of both conservatives and liberals, this book is radical thinking at its best. Read it and think."--John de Graaf, coauthor of Affluenza and director of Take Back Your Time<br \><br \>
"Brilliant, visionary, and practical. This is a mind-bending book that will forever change your view of human possibility and compel you to rethink your life. My highest recommendation." --David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning, and board chair of YES! magazine
"Shannon Hayes retrieves the word "homemaker" from being a sort of quaint, yellowing doily laid in the sideboard, along with frugality and simplicity, and shows how radical, indeed, it is to take responsibility for the health of your family, community and world by raising wonderful food, wonderful kids and a wonderful ruckus in the face of injustice or greed. She and her husband had the courage to 'do the math' and see that a double-income life was not worth living (and was barely worth the money). They also had, as most radical homemakers do, the canny ability to question the standard assumptions about the good life . . . they could develop the skills, patience, and community connections of homemaking while keeping their minds sharp and their lives relevant. At a time when many of the pillars of our security are wobbly-the economy, oil and water and mineral supplies, climate predictability-I predict that Radical Homemakers will become a bible for those seeking to make their lives more manageable, safe, and deeply fulfilling." --Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life and host of yourmoneyoryourlife.info
"The real 4-Hour Workweek. Reclaim and upgrade your life with this urgently needed work from the integrity-driven soul of Shannon Hayes. No lives of quiet desperation here: rejecting outmoded, inauthentic and toxic societal practices, Shannon and her peers do nothing less than redesign the work-life-success paradigm. Breathtaking, scholarly, passionate and inspiring."--Holly Hickman, Radical Homemaker, former Fox News Radio reporter and creator of SustainableSuppers.com--Holly Hickman, former Fox News Radio reporter
About the Author
Shannon Hayes works with her family raising grassfed meat on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in upstate New York. She is the author of Long Way on a Little, The Grassfed Gourmet, The Farmer and the Grill and the controversial best-seller, Radical Homemakers. Hayes holds a Ph.D. in sustainable agriculture and community development from Cornell University, blogs for Yes! Magazine, hosts GrassfedCooking.com, and writes about her daily life farming, homeschooling her kids and cooking great food at ShannonHayes.info.
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Top Customer Reviews
Back in 1991, when my second daughter was born, my husband and I had no "manifesto" to explain our decision to scale back our lives. No one had attached a "name" to the conclusion I reached--after an ordeal of soul-searching, self-doubt, and even recrimination--that staying home with my babies, scaling back our ambitions and our lifestyle, and throwing my energies into raising our own organic food, becoming caretaker to a large flock of (although we didn't call them that at the time) natural, pastured chickens, of spending many, many hours volunteering with other like-minded women in our community health food cooperative, of devoting time and effort to various environmental organizations and causes, working for politicians who had believed as we did, and--most importantly--unschooling my two girls so that the world became their classroom and their minds were not limited by pedagogy or ideology, was THE most worthwhile use of my time, my passions, and my talents.
Nope. It was just a bizarre detour from my carefully laid, feminist plans. This was a life choice my husband and I HAD to make, because in our hearts we could accept no other, but society (and my own critical, Intellectual Self) sneered at our rusticity, our modest income, my domesticity, our family-centered existence. And I never, ever was able to dispel the vague shame that I had somehow, some way, failed myself and my feminist beliefs.
It was a lonely row to hoe, back then. My colleagues went on to professorships, acclaim, even some modest fame. I collected eggs, read to my children (and then taught them to read) picked and jammed strawberries, marched in parades for liberal politicians, stuffed envelopes for "good causes" and made ends meet. By conventional standards, I had "wasted my valuable education" and yet--when I looked at those healthy, happy, flourishing faces smiling up at me like sunflowers,when my Little Family paused at the end of a quiet, green, sunny spell of learning,playing and experiencing the day ON OUR OWN SCHEDULE,when I saw the stress that eroded the contentment of so many of my contemporaries (the rushing and dashing and scheduling and conflicting desires)our choices seemed right for us, and no waste at all. But...how I wish I'd had a greater sense of community! Of someone else to say, "Oh, yes...we reached the same conclusions and made the same "sacrifices" and we don't think you are nuts."
THIS book is that long-awaited community, that absolution of the last vestiges of guilt ("Quitter...Quitter"..taunted the little voice in my ear) still remaining, 20 years later. For publishing this, you have my deepest, most heartfelt gratitude.
(Oh, and it's a fantastic, well-written, carefully researched, intelligent read, as well!)
I found this book to be worth my time reading it. While I do not plan to become a homesteader, I did take many things to heart. It was a great reminder to be happy with what we have and not continually strive to have more. (The happiness isn't in the more, it is in having what you need and enjoying what you do.) My needs are met. I've got time to spend with my family. I'm a very blessed and fortunate woman. I am also trying to buy more locally. It also (along with a blog post by Mavis) made me rethink my decision to insist on traditional health insurance.
If you're extremely mainstream, you may want to skip this book for now. But if you're already thinking about quality of life over making money and helping your neighbors, this book will be a good read for you, even if you can't or won't make the leap into full homesteading.