Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Harrows of Spring

The Harrows of Spring by James Howard Kunstler
Grove/Atlantic: 7/5/16
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780802124920
A World Made by Hand Series #4

The Harrows of Spring by James Howard Kunstler is the highly recommended fourth and final volume of the World Made by Hand series. After the world has experienced numerous catastrophes and plagues (before this book) the future now resembles the nineteenth century.

Spring is coming to Union Grove, a small town in upstate New York, which could be a good thing, but there are problems. Food is scarce in the spring and this year is going to be even more challenging since plantation owner and feudal landlord Stephen Bullock is no longer going to have some of his men take his boat down to Albany for goods. The whole town has depended upon his men making this trip and them paying him for the things they need but can't provide for themselves. Stephen can be a little moody.

After his travels, Daniel Earle is back and is starting a paper in town, Brother Jobe and his industrious group are still around too. More disturbing is the group of anti-establishment, hyper-liberals known as the Berkshire People’s Republic who are camping outside of town and have sent a representative to the town. "As the concluding novel in the series powerful, moving tale of insurrection, survival, and what it means to be human."

This is an entertaining conclusion to the series. Those who have not read the previous books might want to before jumping into this fourth and final volume. I don't think they stand entirely on their own without the scaffolding provided by the previous volumes. Clearly it reads like a novel set in the past. The roles of women in this society also reflect past duties, which may bother some readers. The Harrows of Spring reflect social critic Kunstler's views in real life. Perhaps not the best written of the series, I'm rating on the series as a whole.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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