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Review of "A Language Older Than Words"
by Derrick Jensen

 

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From Publisher's Weekly

Singular, compelling and courageously honest, this book is more than just a poignant memoir of a harrowingly abusive childhood. It relates the extraordinary journey of one man striving to save his own spirit and our planet's. Comparing his physically and sexually abusive father's destruction of his family with humankind's systematic destruction of civilization, New York Times Magazine contributor Derrick Jensen (Listening to the Land) tells a story about the hope for regeneration in a landscape of human and natural desolation.

Throughout, Jensen mobilizes his experiences as student, teacher, environmentalist, beekeeper, high jumper, abused child and survivor to delve deeper inside his own wounded psyche while condemning the constrictions of a culture that fosters abuse. In lyrical prose, Jensen calls for accountability and urges people "to live in dynamic equilibrium with the rest of the world." Rather than naively proposing an answer to the ills of modernity, he demonstrates the complexity of the problems by examining an array of environmental and sociopolitical atrocities, including the Holocaust, and what he sees as the reckless production of plutonium to further space exploration and the maltreatment of indigenous peoples by self-serving neighbors. His visceral, biting observations always manage to lead back to his mantra: "Things don't have to be the way they are." Jensen's book accomplishes the rare feat of both breaking and mending the reader's heart.

Back of Book
 
At once a beautifully poetic memoir and an exploration of the various ways we live in the world, A Language Older Than Words explains violence as a pathology that touches every aspect of our lives and indeed affects all aspects of life on Earth. This chronicle of a young man’s drive to transcend domestic abuse offers a challenging look at our worldwide sense of community and how we can make things better.

Purchase A Laguage Older than Words on Amazon.

 

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