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Let’s take a look at deer, food, and a constitutional cult, though not in the same book. This blog contains a memoir by a man from a hunting family, a look ahead at what we will eat in a bigger, smarter, hotter world, and the thin line between constitutional fidelity and fundamentalism.

DeerDeer Camp: A Memoir of a Father, a Family, and the Land that Healed Them
Dean Kuipers
Hardback, $28
On Street: May, 2019 / Bloomsbury

Bruce Kuipers was good at hunting and fishing, but bad at family life. Distant, angry, and a serial cheater, he destroyed his relationship with his wife, alienating his three sons. He distrusted people and clung to rural America as a place to hide. So when Bruce purchased a 100-acre hunting property as a way to reconnect with his sons, they resisted. The land was the perfect bait for the younger Kuipers: Joe, a brilliant but troubled fisherman; Brett, a crack woodsman; and even Dean, a journalist.

But reconciliation doesn’t just happen–it takes work. And none of the men knew how to be together as a family. Conflict arose over whether the land should be left alone or actively restored to its prior state as a farm. After a decade-long impasse, Bruce agreed to let his sons proceed with their restoration plan. What happened next was surprising, heartwarming and profound.

Why It’s Worth Choosing

  • The author has written extensively about the field of environmental politics and the human-nature relationship for decades in other contexts.
  • The man can write: His clips include pieces in the Los Angeles Times, Outside, Rolling Stone, and Men’s Journal.
  • This beautiful story about the restorative power of nature on a family in desperate need of healing will leave you feeling good.

FateThe Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World
Amanda Little
Hardback, $27
On Street: June, 2019 / Harmony Books

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the Earth is predicted to have 9 billion humans living on it by the middle of this century. With global crop production declining due to drought, heat, and flooding, and water supplies shrinking, how can we feed everyone? We are failing to feed all the people we have now, after all.

Vanderbilt University professor Amanda Little spent three years traveling through 12 countries and 12 US states in search of answers. The race to re-invent the global food system is on: We must solve the existing problems of industrial agriculture while also preparing for the pressures ahead.

In this fascinating and timely book, Little meets all kinds of players:

  • small permaculture farmers
  • “Big Food” executives
  • botanists studying ancient superfoods
  • Kenyan farmers growing the country’s first GMO corn
  • engineers at a California sewage plant
  • military personnel at a US Army research lab
  • experts studying a monsoon cloud above Mumbai

Why It’s Worth Choosing

Little treats her subject–and her readers with respect. Unafraid to ask the tough questions, she nonetheless manages to avoid giving you a “doom and gloom” outlook. The book balances nicely between presenting the threats posed by climate change honestly and providing a real sense of the author’s awe and optimism about the lessons of our past and the scope of human ingenuity.

CultCult of the Constitution
Mary Anne Franks
Hardback, $26
On Street: May 2019 / Stanford University Press

Does the US Constitution serve white male supremacy? This author thinks so, and is prepared to show you why, citing deep strains of fundamentalism in both conservative and liberal American thought. She further states that just as religious fundamentalists pick and choose from their sacred scriptures to further their agendas, so do constitutional fundamentalists read the Constitutions selectively and self-servingly. She cites:

  • the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment
    • enforced by groups like the NRA
  • the liberal fetish for the First Amendment
    • enforced by groups like the ACLU

And much, much more.  Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami , argues that the promise of equal protection found in the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits selective interpretation (and application) of the constitution. Guaranteed to provoke an argument around your Thanksgiving dinner table.

Why it’s Worth Choosing
Because who couldn’t use a little legal backup in their Facebook arguments? For liberals, conservatives and moderates.


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