The Nightstand

Clarkson’s Farm, a Folly Worth Watching

By the end of season one of Clarkson's Farm, Clarkson is still not an expert on anything farming related, but he is learning all the time, including about the area where he lives and how to love it well.

The Unreproducible Society

We justify our choices as the price of innovation, of progress, of efficiency. We tell ourselves we can’t afford to do anything else. We even tell ourselves it’s for the children. And so we bankrupt our posterity so we can eat, drink, and be merry. It’s a nice life for those who get to live it, but it’s not reproducible.

“Magically Turning White”: A Family Story of Slavery, Racism, and Redemption

Mark Clavier describes coming to terms with the fact that he is a white Southerner descended from enslaved Africans who subsequently became slave-owners. Reflecting on an ancestry containing triumph and shame, he discovers how closely the commendable and corrupt can be intertwined.

Living In the Myth: A Review of Jason Stacy’s Spoon...

Benjamin Myers reviews Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town by Jason Stacy. Stacey explores the changing and contested myth of the midwestern small town, particularly in relation to Masters’s famous Spoon River Anthology. In Spoon River and its echoes throughout literary and popular culture, innocence struggles with cynicism, tradition with modernity, and a persistent populism with a perpetual elite.

“We Hide behind the Tomatoes”: A Review of On Common Ground

Community Land Trusts, at their best, are less about development and more about stewardship, creating just places for the long-term. CLTs are thus the ultimate preservationists, the developer/landowner who never abandons the property.

Life and Death in the Forest: A Review of Finding the...

Simard concludes that all of the natural world is interconnected and her conclusion is particularly poignant as she points out that the hard-won insight of her decades of research is nothing more than a “scientific” stamp of approval on the wisdom of both ancient indigenous practices and 19th and early 20th century logging and harvesting practices.

Lonely in the Center

Hassler and McDonagh conclude their stories with the hope that, in the absence of the clergy, faithful everyday Christians can rebuild the lost soil of local culture through faith and forgiveness.

A Review of Verlaine Stoner Mcdonald’s The Red Corner

In her 2010 book, The Red Corner: The Rise and Fall of Communism in Northeastern Montana, Verlaine Stoner McDonald resurrects the surprising but largely forgotten episode of agrarian radicalism in Sheridan County, Montana. Over ten years after its publication, McDonald’s stellar work of microhistory continues to provide food for thought to readers interested in both the political promise and limits of agrarianism, localism, and left-wing populism.

Review: The Soul of The American University Revisited

As our society considers higher education in the twenty-first century, the best way to decide what universities should be is not to gaze into the future, but to study the past for what universities have been and what they have been able to do. Marsden’s thoughtful and thorough historical narrative in The Soul of the American University Revisited raises a helpful signpost for our society.

We the Corporations: A Review

Corporate rights was not a spontaneous development but the result of a sort of corporate civil-rights movement. Through litigation (generally well-financed) over two centuries, various corporations won decisions by which corporations evolved from government-created artificial persons, not even mentioned by name in the Constitution, into entities possessed of many of the same constitutional rights as flesh-and-blood human beings.