FPR Books

Launched in 2014, Front Porch Republic Books publishes works about place, localism, community, decentralism, and conservation. Titles include significant works on politics, economics, and culture, as well as new editions of previously published works that deserve a new audience. Other titles provide practical advice on how to enact and embody a localist ethic. FPR Books’ managing editor is Jason Peters, and its editorial advisory board includes such prominent public figures as Andrew Bacevich, Rod Dreher, Richard Gamble, and Walter McDougall. Book proposals may be sent to Jason Peters.

If you’re interested in other books written by FPR authors (and in supporting FPR with your book purchases), you can browse our page at Bookshop.

Kayaking with Lambs: Notes from an East Tennessee Farmer
by Brian D. Miller

Brian Miller's Kayaking with Lambs is about the idyllic farm life of your imagination--fresh fruits and vegetables, livestock large and small, endless gatherings of kith and kin around a table of homegrown food and handmade drink. It is also about pain, blood, deaths, mud, storms, droughts, and failures. The author, who owns a small East Tennessee farm, lives an "antiquated life," that is, a life often out of sync with modernity and closely in sync with the natural world. His book is structured as a breviary broken into the eight monastic offices of the day. Written as a series of meditative notes, it follows his efforts to live with purpose and stewardship. Kayaking with Lambs is about learning to dwell alongside neighbors, nature, and even the planet as if it mattered. In language that is poetic and writing that is honest, insightful, poignant, wry, and self-deprecating, Miller ponders everything from the cycles of life to his family heritage to what Wes Jackson refers to as "becoming native to this place." And, of course, he shares the many times along his journey that he's found himself in situations totally unforeseen when he began . . . like kayaking with lambs.

Plutocratic Socialism: The Future of Private Property and the Fate of the Middle Class
by Mark T. Mitchell

A proletarianized citizenry ruled by a class of insolent plutocrats is incompatible with the republican form of government established by the US Constitution. Without an effective majority of citizens who own property and whose character has been shaped by property ownership--a vibrant middle class--the Founders' Constitution will not survive. Our current age of Plutocratic Socialism is a specific manifestation of a pathology the Founders feared. Recovery must begin with a simple, yet profound, axiom: private property and political freedom stand or fall together.

The Seven Ranges: Ground Zero for the Staging of America
by Will Hoyt

When Surveyor-General Thomas Hutchins drove a stake into the ground to mark a "point of beginning" for the 1785 establishment of Seven Ranges of townships on the west bank of the Ohio River, he had to have sensed that he was initiating something larger than a survey. After all, he was working for the newly formed United States, and the purpose of his work was to impose a grid of ideal squares on hill country to make it ready for sale--something that had never been done before. But Hutchins couldn't by any stretch of the imagination have known that the public survey system he was testing would soon extend all the way to the Pacific or that the land on which he worked would soon become the staging ground for other, similarly revolutionary innovations like strip mining, Pentecostalism, the gaming industry, and tools for emancipating multi-national corporations. In this book, Will Hoyt details the arrival and eventual impact of these eastern Ohio products, and by framing the story of their development within the story of his own decision to move from California to eastern Ohio, he secures a glimpse of our country's DNA. Readers will close this book with a firm grasp of three things: the grandeur of the American project, the extent to which that project is now at risk, and what we all must do to ensure its survival.

Read an excerpt from the book.

Durable Trades: Family-Centered Economies That Have Stood the Test of Time
by Rory Groves

With over thirty thousand occupations currently in existence, workers today face a bewildering array of careers from which to choose, and upon which to center their lives. But there is more at stake than just a paycheck.

For too long, work has driven a wedge between families, dividing husband from wife, father from son, mother from daughter, and family from home. Building something that will last requires a radically different approach than is common or encouraged today.

In Durable Trades, Groves uncovers family-centered professions that have endured the worst upheavals in history—including the Industrial Revolution—and continue to thrive today. Through careful research and thoughtful commentary, Groves offers another way forward to those looking for a more durable future.

Read an excerpt from the book.

Check the author's website for discount codes.

Durable Trades

Real Characters: A Tip of the Hat to Nonconformity
by David Lyle Jeffrey

Some of the most interesting and genuinely commendable people in the world are systematically overlooked by our celebrity-obsessed media. This book is a reminder of just what a mistake that is—here you will meet some truly extraordinary people, from subsistence farmers, cattle ranchers, rodeo rascals, a miraculous middle school teacher, and a munificent unlicensed auto mechanic, to Italian Franciscans, out-of-the-box college and university professors, an independent-minded British poet, and a northern timber wolf. All of these characters have something to teach, but they do it in eccentric ways that will challenge your expectations and reward your willingness to break a mold or two yourself.

Read the introduction.

Real Characters

The Culinary Plagiarist: (Mis)adventures of a Lusty, Thieving, God-Fearing Gourmand
by Jason Peters

More than a collection of vignettes and stories from garden, grill, and kitchen, The Culinary Plagiarist is a sustained adventure in gustatory delight, an intensely private but candid account of desire and all its objects. Opinionated on the full range of human experience, from fasting to inebriety, from sports to politics, from religion to raunch, it is at once serious, humorous, ironic, reflective, grateful, allusive, and appetitive. Along the way it offers a defense of small-scale, local life, of family, of place, and of "the bread we do not live alone by." And also the drinks. Don't forget the drinks. This is a book for people who enjoy being alive, whether in the kitchen, the pasture, the library, the barn, the trout stream, the henhouse (or the doghouse), or the bedroom.

Read an interview with the author.

Localism in the Mass Age: A Front Porch Republic Manifesto
Edited by Mark T. Mitchell and Jason Peters

In the United States the conventional left/right distinction has become increasingly irrelevant, if not harmful. The reigning political, cultural, and economic visions of both the Democrats and the Republicans have reached obvious dead ends. Liberalism, with its hostility to any limits, is collapsing. So-called Conservatism has abandoned all pretense of conserving anything at all. Both dominant parties seem fundamentally incapable of offering coherent solutions for the problems that beset us. In light of this intellectual, cultural, and political stalemate, there is a need for a new vision.

Localism in the Mass Age: A Front Porch Republic Manifesto assembles thirty-one essays by a variety of scholars and practitioners—associated with Front Porch Republic—seeking to articulate a new vision for a better future. The writers are convinced that human apprehension of the true, the good, and the beautiful is best realized within a dense web of meaningful family, neighborhood, and community relationships. These writers seek to advance human flourishing through the promotion of political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. In short, Front Porch Republic is dedicated to renewing American culture by fostering the ideals necessary for strong communities.

See the Table of Contents and read the Preface.

Telling the Stories Right: Wendell Berry's Imagination of Port William
Edited by Jack Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro

Wendell Berry thinks of himself as a storyteller. It’s somewhat ironic then that he is better known as an essayist, a poet, and an advocate for small farmers. The essays in this collection consider the many facets of Berry’s life and work, but they focus on his efforts as a novelist and story writer. Indeed, Berry had already published three novels before his seminal work of cultural criticism, The Unsettling of America, established him as an ardent defender of local communities and sustainable agriculture. And over the past fifty years, he has published eight novels and more than forty-eight short stories set in the imagined community of Port William. His exquisite rendering of this small Kentucky town challenges us to see the beauty of our own places and communities and to tend their health, threatened though it inevitably is. The twelve contributors to this collection approach Berry’s fiction from a variety of perspectives—literary studies, journalism, theology, history, songwriting—to shed light on its remarkable ability to make a good life imaginable and compelling. The first collection devoted to Berry’s fiction, this volume insists that any consideration of Berry’s work must begin with his stories.

See the Table of Contents and read the Introduction.

Telling the Stories Right

Poetry Night at the Ballpark and Other Scenes from an Alternative America: Writings, 1986-2014
By Bill Kauffman

Bill Kauffman has carved out an idiosyncratic identity quite unlike any other American writer. Praised by the likes of Gore Vidal, Benjamin Schwarz, and George McGovern, he has, with a distinctive and slashingly witty, learnedly allusive style, illumed forgotten corners of American history, articulated a defiant and passionate localism, and written with love and dark humor of his repatriation.

Poetry Night at the Ballpark gathers the best of Bill Kauffman's essays and journalism in defense and explication of his alternative America--or Americas. Its discrete pieces are bound by a thematic unity and propulsive energy and are full of unexpected (yet startlingly apposite) connections and revelatory linkages. Whether he's writing about conservative Beats, backyard astronomers, pacifist West Pointers, or Middle America in the movies, Bill Kauffman will challenge, maybe even change, the way you look at American politics and the American provinces.

Read an interview with Bill about this book.

America Moved: Booth Tarkington's Memoirs of Time and Place, 1869-1928
By Booth Tarkington, Edited by Jeremy Beer

America Moved: Booth Tarkington's Memoirs of Time and Place, 1869-1928 brings together for the first time all of the autobiographical writings of Booth Tarkington, one of the most successful and best-loved writers in American history. These are the memoirs of one of America's greatest literary figures--and one of the keenest interpreters of American manners and mores.

During his lifetime, Tarkington was immensely popular. From 1902 to 1932, nine of his books were top ten bestsellers, The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams won Pulitzer Prizes, and Tarkington's Penrod stories became widely recognized as young-adult classics.

America Moved demonstrates that Tarkington's writing and powers of social observation stand the test of time. Written in a genial, easygoing style, America Moved gently but consistently interrogates the values of the new commercial-industrial age, especially its obsessions with speed, growth, and efficiency. The humane skepticism Tarkington directs in these pages toward the automobile, sprawl, and the cult of Progress identifies him as a voice quite at home in the twenty-first century.

America Moved will delight readers with an enjoyable eyewitness account of the vast social and cultural changes that transformed America between the Civil War and the Great Depression.

The Demise of Virtue in Virtual America: The Moral Origins of the Great Recession
By David Bosworth

Although the financial disaster of 2008 proved devastatingly quick, the evolution of the bad faith that drove the collapse is a more gradual story, and one that David Bosworth powerfully narrates in The Demise of Virtue in Virtual America: The Moral Origins of the Great Recession, his sweeping history of the forces driving ethical, political, and economic change over the last sixty years. Here, Bosworth traces how the commercialization of public spaces and electronic information has created a new and enclosed American place. Chapter by chapter, he then shows how the materialist values of this Virtual America have suffused our everyday lives, co-opting the themes of our narratives, the planks of our parties, the practices of our professions, and the most intimate aspects of our personal lives, including our beliefs about God, marriage, and childcare. From Ronald Reagan and Disneyland to modern pharmacology and "prosperity theology," from the phony conservatism of Wall Street to the faux rebellion of "transgressive" art, Bosworth's alternative story of American life since 1950 relentlessly challenges today's dominant narratives--narratives that, as he reveals, made both the calamitous invasion of Iraq and the economic collapse of 2008 all too likely.

Read the Preface.