Together the books weigh in at a forest-pulping 1,674 pages. It’s a lot of Wendell Berry. It’s vastly too much Wendell Berry, a determined reader soon discovers ... The numbing length of these two new collections do Berry no favors. From the start, he bangs the same themes so relentlessly...that one’s eyes begin to cross. It’s not that Berry isn’t correct to be desperately concerned about these issues, and about the loss of old ways and fine workmanship in general. You can be right there alongside him, at least on the big points, while still being driven to madness by repetition ... Berry’s single-note essays make you recall Carlyle’s comment about Macaulay, that listening to him was okay for a while but 'one wouldn’t live under Niagara.'
Rich, complex ... Berry deepens and broadens his ideas about the causes of environmental destruction ... What I Stand On is essential reading for those who want to understand how we arrived at this point in time, and how we can begin to shift our standards, priorities, and habits. While some arguments are repeated several times, Berry is a thoughtful, wise voice of reason who has always appealed to those on both sides of the political aisle. His thinking and approach provide a model for those who want to foster change today in how we care for the earth.
A splendid gathering of 50 years’ worth of essays ... Conservative in the deepest sense, and often resembling T.S. Eliot as much as Edward Abbey ... Over a consistently developed line of argument through the decades, it’s abundantly clear what side Berry falls on and what he stands for—which is, as he has long said, what he stands on.