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Home / Book Reviews / The Man Who Created Paradise
The Man Who Created Paradise--A Fable
by Gene Logsdon; foreward by Wendell Berry; Photographs by Gregory Spaid
ISBN: 0821414070
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication Year: 2001
Publisher Price:
Cover Type: hardcover

Don’t read this book.

Because the author, Gene Logsdon, doesn’t seem to want you to read it.

Oh, Logsdon wants you to buy the book, all right, but that would just encourage him. If he sells a modest amount of books, then he will undoubtedly continue to indulge in his own obsessions for self-reliant living and small-scale cooperative farming and manufacturing.

But he really doesn’t want you to actually read The Man Who Created Paradise. Logsdon is a small-scale farmer and shepherd with an oversized conscience, and he worries about whether people might be unduly influenced by his well-crafted tales of successful alternative living.

Indeed, Logsdon even goes so far as to label this book as “A Fable,” in order to give the reader a chance to slink back into their corporately-owned, corporately-controlled lives. He would like nothing better than to dissuade all the real movers and shakers of this world—all of you flinty-eyed hard-nosed no-spin zone realists who have woken up and smelled the coffee in order to get with the program and find more cheese and become the steamroller [and not the road] and work more for less in order to maximize profits for a select few--from accidentally ingesting his wicked agrarian and communitarian tendencies.

His use of “fable” is similar to the disclaimer on the vibrator ads—for “facial massage only,” right? Those who know better—just know better.

By using the disclaimer “A Fable” Logsdon gets rid of ¾ of the naysayers and chickenshits who will only get in the way of the coming Green Revolution, anyway.

Like the respective authors of Gaviotas and The Man Who Planted Trees, Logsdon has no shame. He will not leave the unwell enough alone.

His bias against people whose uninformed arrogance leads to tantrums, poor land management and ruinously short-sighted economic policies is shocking to behold. When his argumentation alone fails to convince, Logsdon will resort to wit, humor, and elegant writing to get his way.

Logsdon’s sensitive portrayals of marginal people struggling to maintain their dignity and the integrity of their God-given beautiful land are out of place in our society's collectively-ingrained misconceptions of farming. His “Can Do/Will Do/Because It’s Both Necessary and Fun To Do” attitude is infectious, and may lead to over-exertion. The example set by “Wally Spero,” the fictional hero of this “fable” who refuses to lead an uncritical, passive, victimized life, could definitely interfere with your nightly feeding upon body-bag TV programs and toxic snack foods.

Indeed, a more than cursory look at The Man Who Created Paradise might lead you into all kinds of wild-assed adventures: reclaiming despoiled land; planting container gardens in junkyards; building community owned and operated wind generators from scrap sheet metal and old cable TV satellite towers; forming organic food co-ops and community-supported farming ventures.

Ah, once you start thinking in terms of community pride and sustainability, who knows where it will all lead?

Gene Logsdon seems to know, and he IS telling everybody he can.

So don’t read this book—particularly if you don’t know what’s good for you.

© Copyright 2002 by KNS Maré.