Friday Explorations Read-Aloud: This Radical Land: A Natural History of Dissent, by Daegan Miller

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Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction. This is a program to help keep our community connected to books during the pandemic when we are unable to meet in person.

For April 22, Coté will share a salute to Earth Day by reading aloud from Daegan Miller’s “This Radical Land: A Natural History of Dissent.” Summary: Daegan Miller is our guide on a beautifully written, revelatory trip across the continent during which we encounter radical thinkers, settlers, and artists who grounded their ideas of freedom, justice, and progress in the very landscapes around them, even as the runaway engine of capitalism sought to steamroll everything in its path.

Here we meet Thoreau, the expert surveyor, drawing anticapitalist property maps. We visit a black antislavery community in the Adirondack wilderness of upstate New York. We discover how seemingly commercial photographs of the transcontinental railroad secretly sent subversive messages, and how a band of utopian anarchists among California’s sequoias imagined a greener, freer future.

At every turn, everyday radicals looked to landscape for the language of their dissent–drawing crucial early links between the environment and social justice, links we’re still struggling to strengthen today. Working in a tradition that stretches from Thoreau to Rebecca Solnit, Miller offers nothing less than a new way of seeing the American past–and of understanding what it can offer us for the present . . . and the future.

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Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net or leave a comment below.
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