Book Review: People, Land and Community: Collected EF Schumacher Society Lectures

Book Review: People, Land and Community: Collected EF Schumacher Society Lectures
People, Land, and Community

Photo from book cover.

In this outstanding collection of talks based on 21 of the lectures sponsored by the E. F. Schumacher Society, noted scholars and thinkers take on the problems of land use, agriculture, urban planning, and other fields of practical ecology.

The lectures gathered here by Hildegarde Hannum, a board member of the society, address Schumacher's call for small-scale economies and policies – a call that the Kentucky farmer-poet Wendell Berry, for one, has made his own. Berry's talk on the need for local production and local consumption provides the title for the collection.

Among other high points are Robert Swann and Susan Witt's ingenious discussion of local currencies, and the book's Afterword, by the young scholar Benjamin Strauss, on bringing notions of stewardship and land reform to Generation Xers, who volunteer more time for social causes than any other age cohort of the last 30 years.

Frances Moore Lappe discusses, with her customary common sense approach, problems of world hunger; David Ehrenfeld examines why university bureaucracies are hostile to small-scale research projects; and Stephanie Mills looks at the problems of restoring damaged lands to something like their original state.

Many of these lectures went on to spawn books, among them Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs and The Conquest of Paradise by Kirkpatrick Sale. For environmentalists, regional planners, and interested lay readers, this book contains abundant food for thought.

Collected E. F. Schumacher Society Lectures
Hildegarde Hannum, editor
Yale University 1997, 352 pages
$35 hardcover, $17 paperback

This was adapted from Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1997

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