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306 WAL 36.3 F a l l 2001 time to philosophy; more of us should be trying to come to terms with chab lenging thinkers the likes of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. I only wish that the ideas Scigaj would have us engage could be addressed in a prose that is clear and elegant as, say, that of Robert Hass in Twentieth Century Pleasures (1984). Dream a Little: Land and Social Justice in Modern America. By Dorothee E. Kocks. Berkeley: U n iversity of C aliforn ia Press, 2000. 275 pages, $45.00/$ 18.95. Reviewed by Becky Faber U niversity of N ebraska, Lincoln A reader won’t take long to find that Dorothee Kocks approaches con­ cepts of land and social justice with great energy. Her ambitious desire to mix history with political ideology, philosophy, linguistics, literary criticism, and personal experience leads to a book that tries to do it all. Toward that end, Kocks designs the book in two parts. Part one gives the reader a sense of the history of land and place in the first two chapters, with Kocks citing her purpose as seeking “to convey some of the more extravagant, theoretical complex thoughts about landscape myths and their truth or conse­ quences to dreamers inside and outside academia” (xiii). In doing so, she devel­ ops and explores the concept of “geographic embrace,” a term that she ties to our desires for social justice through the use of land. The first chapter focuses on the frontier state and the U.S. government’s giveaway of land, a program she parallels to our national welfare system, a means to ameliorate poverty. The second chapter moves toward the concept of nature (Kocks uses the words land­ scape, geography, land, and nature synonymously) as it provides myths and guid­ ance for society. Kocks believes that “nature will tell us what to do. We turn to land for help in naming our politics for very specific, historical reasons” (31). In the second part of the book, Kocks incorporates literary connections, using works by Mari Sandoz, Josephine Johnson, and Ella Baker to meld with her own experience in exploring the personal aspects of a writer’s attachment to land. Sandoz represents the West; Johnson, the family farm; and Baker, the immediate local community. My proposal for potential readers is that they approach this text out of the order in which it is written. I suggest starting with the epilogue where Kocks defines the history of her family as immigrants and the family’s (particularly her mother’s) attachment to land. Then I would move to chapter 1 that discusses the frontier state as a historical welfare state. The logical section to read next would be the one about Mari Sandoz, whose parents homesteaded in Nebraska. Then I would progress to the chapter on land as myth and social influence, fol­ lowed by the chapter on Josephine Johnson, who demystifies the utopian con­ cept of farm life. Following that, I would approach the chapter on Ella Baker, an urban activist, which also includes commentary from Kocks on her own B o o k R e v ie w s 307 sense of social justice and land. Approaching the text in this manner should provide a stronger continuity and comprehension of Kocks’s goals. A Friend of the Earth. By T. Coraghessan Boyle. N ew York: V iking, 2000. 271 pages, $24.95/$ 13.00. Reviewed by James Guignard U niversity of N evada, Reno “I’m afraid I really don’t see any ray of hope for our species,” T. Coraghessan Boyle states for an Outside magazine biography. His apocalyptic novel A Friend of the Earth demonstrates his sentiment. Set in 2025-26, the novel tells the story of an aging environmentalist, Tyrone Tierwater, and his actions to protect western forests. One first encounters Ty in Santa Ynez, managing a ragtag lot of nearly extinct animals owned by an aging pop singer, when Ty’s wife, Andrea, walks back into his life. A founding member of Earth Forever!, Andrea plans to jumpstart the now defunct activist group by publishing a book about the life of her and Ty’s daughter...


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pp. 306-307
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