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Why would a successful American physician choose to live in a 12' x 12' cabin without running water or electricity? To find out, Powers visits Dr. Ashley Benton in rural North Carolina. No Name Creek gurgles through Benton's permaculture farm and she strokes honey bees' wings as she shares her "wildcrafter" philosophy of living on a planet in crisis. Powers, just back from a decade of international aid work, house sits here for a season, befriends the eclectic neighbors, and discovers a way of life under threat in opposition to the globalized American dream. How can a family's free-range chickens compete with the genetically modified birds at the nearby factory farm? Part Annie Dillard, part Bill McKibben, this is riveting armchair travel through a landscape rich with clues to personal and global healing.
For over a decade William Powers has led development aid and conservation initiatives in Latin America, Africa, and Washington, DC. He is the author of two critically acclaimed memoirs about his time in Africa and South America, Blue Clay People and Whispering in the Giant’s Ear. His writings on global issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Sun. A popular speaker and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, he lives part-time in New York City.