Mother Country Epub Ê Hardcover


8 thoughts on “Mother Country

  1. Mike Mike says:

    Mother Country would most definitely not survive in the Internet age or rather the Golden Age of Unreasonableness Slate recently posted an article about the unsubstantiated dismissal of any study reporting correlation between two events with the adage correlation does not mean causation as pedestrian hogwash I am inclined to agree with this statement because it's best to err on the side of information whether or not it entirely illuminates cause Further to say correlation does not mean causation to be a surefire negator of any relationship is to wield a logical argument under guise of a logical fallacy It is a simple ad ignoratum only it has put on airs to itAlso it seems that this aphorism creeps up in response to bad news which I can't help but take as some knee jerk desperate need to stay docile Given the everyday calamities that pervade the world and the ability to actualize some semblance of aid to fix them complacency can be deemed as inherently immoral unless those problems are somehow deconstructed invalidated or in turn our responsibility for them is taken off our shoulders Mother Country wishes its readers to be civilized enough to acknowledge the existence of true abject evil in the world which takes bravery than most anticipate I had dilly dallied in the shallow end of rationalizing cruelty for a while and that human nature does have these well intentioned mechanisms buried under all that awfulness but I struggle too with the notion that even with all of those understandings firmly in place there's still a component of naivete thereIt is also remarkably easy to take that knowledge and turn it into sport the likes of which one can see in satire or punditry or any other of those surrogates for journalism with integrity that have taken its place entirely Not to be throw around the over exhausted phrase defense mechanism which as a phrase tends to threaten people unsurprisingly but all in all another barrier has been erected between abstract acknowledgment and sincere acknowledgment Textual analysis like the one containing this sentence doesn't help eitherOftentimes Mother Country possesses a verbose style and sometimes veers into speculative although logical uestioning I do not mind assertive inuisitiveness by any means and Robinson asserts her skepticism uite well There's something reassuring in being able to ask with confidence Why? However these passages of the book pale in comparison and urgency to the well supported well documented horrors and neglects It also possesses the tenacity to leave its main topic Sellafield unsung for its first half instead establishing Britain's centuries long tradition of neglecting abusing and killing its poor Delving into the fourteenth century Poor Laws was hugely unexpected but greatly appreciatedThe valuable lesson here or at least the one I will take away for the time being is how serious problems even our greatest problems will inevitably be treated as public relations problems It is not that radioactive waste is being dumped at insane rates into the ocean or that a film of plutonium ash will sink to the ocean floor or that it breaks down into the far dangerous though noticeably absent from the discourse americium and cesium It's that the way these problems are solved is to placate or uell public reaction One wonders if a delay in responding to an emergency is simply a way to reassure the public that it wasn't much of an emergency Mother Country reminds one that toying with lives for the express purpose of keeping up appearances happens everywhere anywhere and all of the time This is valuable stuff for a scant two hundred pages


  2. Benjamin Dueholm Benjamin Dueholm says:

    Through some accident of timing or subject matter or genre this book has been easy to marginalize Picking it up in my desire to be a Marilynne Robinson completist even I was rather stunned at how for lack of a better word relevant it proved to be Written shortly before the end of the Cold War Mother Country looks beyond the framing of geopolitical and ideological rivalry that characterized that period the collapse of which led to two decades of short sighted or dishonest optimism to tell a shocking story of how governments and their associated experts interact with their people Two stories really the first a retelling of the origins of the British welfare state the second an exposé of Britain's Sellafield nuclear complex and its discharge of toxic and radioactive materials into the sea and air The vices she identifies in social thought journalism government and industry affiliated science are every bit in evidence even so today than they are in Robinson's own account The exponents of the Poor Laws and their brutish restrictions and disciplines on poor workers are immediately recognizable in a tradition continued by Charles Murray and Paul Ryan and a hundred lions of opinion page morality The crass dilemma between jobs and environmental justice which is no dilemma at all where the people are used up no less than the soil and water is exploited reliably today And these things happen against a background of weird uiescence and credulity The apparatus of democracy becomes a sort of Soviet constitution in every instance where there is no will to animate it People didn't want to hear this in 1989 it seems but we should definitely try to hear it now Mother Country strikes me as something like a Rosetta Stone for Robinson's non fiction work since which is widely regarded as uneven The topics and themes she seems continually to be circling in her essays striking from one direction or another are treated fully here though spoiler alert there is no mention of John Calvin That fuller treatment makes in my opinion anyway a better case for their urgency and for the preoccupation that apparently resulted than can be expected from the essays And it gives a picture of the problem she looks to some of her later touchstones be they John Calvin or the Old Testament or Shakespeare to provide resources for answering That may or may not be persuasive but the problem of the disproportion of our public ideologies and practices to the reuirements of human decency and flourishing is very real and urgent and this book puts it in a harsh and penetrating light


  3. Roman Skaskiw Roman Skaskiw says:

    Changed my understanding of the world It's half expose on British History half discussion of Britain's Sellafield nuclear reactor the country's nuclear waste industryThe first part reminded me why we had a revolution The second made me rethink the focus of Green Peace and their ilkAt times I would have preferred exacting evidence and arguments in lieu of the verbose style


  4. Angela Angela says:

    I feel like this should be a must read for everyone because it challenges the normal and romanticized perceptions of Britain's history and culture but because it it brings to light the awful reality of nuclear waste processing in our world


  5. Sohum Sohum says:

    robinson is such an inveterate hermeneuticist it just comes through so clearly that robinson is convinced truth lies in careful scrutiny and a trained mind i don't think however that robinson believes this is the only or even the best way to understanding but certainly her prevalent moderobinson's style is as always a little dense and heady but generally lovely with some gems for the attentive reader i think what robinson wants from us is two things1 to enter a state of rage about the ways that government the UK particularly in flagrant abandonment of a myth americans apparently hold about the gentillesse and socialism of that nation treats its redundant persons namely the working and poverty classes2 to understand poverty as a creation that has emerged from specific historically and ideologically located theories about labor value and morality that has impacted the UK and implicitly the USi think there a few points in discussing sellafield where robinson confuses scientific language with layman's uses which also contributes to some of the shock and awe factor of this apparent exposei think this book amounts to two separate essays which refer to each other occasionally but mostly leave the needle unthreaded in a way this is fine a reader who can make it through the end of robinson's book will imply the connections uite naturally still one does not read to make the connections for oneself but to watch another mind at work


  6. Shannon Pufahl Shannon Pufahl says:

    I read Housekeeping in college and became an evangelist for it Then I read The Death of Adam Robinson's first book of essays and became an evangelist for Robinson herself She has a reputation now thirty years after those books as a very American writer old fashioned religious strident I think all these descriptions are well earned and I won't argue them though a uick plug for their enduring value when deployed with love and care seems warranted Nothing in Robinson is deployed without love or care and her attention to the landscapes of the west and midwest her continued commitment to the soul of every living thing particularly human things makes her I think saint like in her consideration of human experience She is unlike so many writers and artists interested in herself only insofar as she might be a careful and useful interpreter of experience and historyThe 40 page introduction to Mother Country is as powerful an environmental throw down as any I've read To link the destruction of the natural world to the destruction of the human species via the harnessing of nuclear power the book is about the disposal of nuclear waste is both prescient and moving this nearly 30 years before the widespread adoption of the anthropocene to describe our impact on the earth before great thinkers like Tim Morton would date the end of the world not in a remote future but in the past at the moment the combustion engine was invented or if one prefers in Los Alamos in the 1940s with the splitting of the atom Robinson knows our earth is at risk not just because we created devices that can destroy it that are destroying it but because human cultures have for millennia treated their poor as grist slaves refuse At the heart of her book is a brilliant critiue of capitalism of the British welfare state and the enduring costs of poverty and the treatment of the poor which are no less than the end of the world


  7. Andrew Andrew says:

    Deeply unnerving and essentialI just finished this and I'm very nearly speechless Writing during the 1980s the years of Thatcher and Reagan Robinson is livid and the writing does her anger justice Why is she livid? On account of the apparently utter carelessness and connivance of the British government and numerous allies in the reprocessing of nuclear waste to create plutonium the world's deadliest poison while dumping the radioactive byproducts into the Irish Sea where they spread by tide and wind contaminating global environment and populace for longer than we can imagine This when the facilities are not handling spills and other accidents including a core meltdown How is this possible in the democratic West? This is the subject of much of the book and the answer Robinson finds such as it is is none too reassuring No it's horrendous Twenty five years later one would like to think the situation as improved But of course given the half lives of the materials involved that is completely ridiculous In so many unflattering ways Robinson indicates Britain is America's mother country I wasn't exactly clear what sort of a book I thought this would be but it was not what I expected I imagined a largely appreciative American pastoral on England Nope I had never seen the meaning of the welfare state in the grim historical light Robinson unveils as a further chapter in the ongoing deprivation of sovereignty of the people further assaulted by Thatcherism But this is not a British curiosityClearly major uestions have never been resolved concerning the rights of a national government towards the people and the terrain entrusted to its care To dispose of either to sell the health and posterity of one the habitability of the other for money is a perfection of high handedness beside which all other examples pale Even to the extent that the mass of people can be thought of as entering into this bargain freely and knowingly they have sold for employment or for some notion of national interest the well being of their descendants which was never theirs to sell and in the short or medium term the well being of the descendants of every mote of life that stirs on the face of the earth If this has happened in a society which can be called in any degree open free and democratic then we had better look at it very seriously indeed Our own open free and democratic country lives in an informational vacuum that makes us a danger to ourselves and a terror to everyone else No one is any freer than he wishes to be The apparatus of democracy becomes a sort of Soviet constitution in every instance where there is no will to animate it 227 228


  8. R. R. says:

    I had mixed opinions on this book As always I enjoyed Robinson's elouent writing and deep thinking However from a scientific perspective she had a couple of places where she went a bit wrong In general it was well argued and interesting but not my favorite of her essays


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  • Hardcover
  • 272 pages
  • Mother Country
  • Marilynne Robinson
  • English
  • 01 October 2014
  • 9780374213619

About the Author: Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Summers Robinson born November is an American novelist and essayist Across her writing career Robinson has received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in National Humanities Medal in and the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction In Robinson was named in Time magazine's list of most influential people Robinson be.