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January 25 , 2009

The Nature of Generosity


Hailed as one of our finest writers about the American West, William Kittredge now brings all his experience and intelligence to bear on the wider, and wilder, West of our civilization. In certain respects, The Nature of Generosity continues the story of Hole in the Sky, the acclaimed memoir of Kittredge's early life on his family's vast ranch in Oregon; but it also ranges freely, and exhilaratingly, around the world and through recorded time.
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A travel book of sorts – from New York and Venice to the Andalusian hills of García Lorca, from the cow towns of Montana to the caves at Lascaux – it is driven by the quest to reconcile childhood simplicities with the complex, urgent, adult questions about who to be, and how, and why. Drawing on our various histories – biological, cultural, psychological – Kittredge celebrates diversity as the cornerstone of our social possibilities, examines the freedom and responsibility this entails, and suggests that our culture's habitually selfish, combative behavior is far from being in our best interests – or, indeed, in our nature.

Less geographical than philosophical, at once learned and curious, observant and personal, The Nature of Generosity is a revolutionary, and practical, magnum opus.

From the Hardcover edition.
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