Read Brave Old World: A Practical Guide To Husbandry Or The Fine Art Of Looking After by Tom Hodgkinson Online


Drawing on the wisdom of an eclectic range of thinkers and writers, on medieval calendars and manorial records, and, as ever, on Tom Hodgkinson's own honestly recounted and frequently imperfect attempts to travel the road to self-sufficiency, Brave Old World is designed to give us all hope. Why, he asks, shouldn’t we return to the ideals of a pre-capitalist, pre-Puritan, pDrawing on the wisdom of an eclectic range of thinkers and writers, on medieval calendars and manorial records, and, as ever, on Tom Hodgkinson's own honestly recounted and frequently imperfect attempts to travel the road to self-sufficiency, Brave Old World is designed to give us all hope. Why, he asks, shouldn’t we return to the ideals of a pre-capitalist, pre-Puritan, pre-consumerist world of feasting, dancing, horse-riding, wood-chopping, fire-laying, poultry-rearing, bartering, bread-baking and bee-keeping?From January to December, Brave Old World charts the progress of a year in pursuit of the pleasures of the past, taking seriously – though not without much incidental comedy – G.K. Chesterton’s exhortation, ‘We must go back to freedom or forward to slavery’....

Title : Brave Old World: A Practical Guide To Husbandry Or The Fine Art Of Looking After
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780241143742
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 275 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Brave Old World: A Practical Guide To Husbandry Or The Fine Art Of Looking After Reviews

  • Pete F
    2019-04-26 01:34

    I enjoyed reading this book by Tom Hodgkinson, the guru of idleness, called 'Brave Old World', in which he extolls the virtues of the old ways of living before capitalism came along and ruined it all. Anyone who has read 'How to be Idle' or 'How to be Free', two of his previous books, will know that The Hodge (as he is called in some circles) is an anarchist and an idler, who looks back to the Medievals as a better way of living in harmony with nature and each other. Verily, I do think that the man is looking at the past through rose-tinted spectacles. Nevertheless, there is some good stuff here and he is right about many of the good things we lost in the process of turning the world into a global corporation over the past few hundred years. According to The Hodge, this started with the Reformation, when the nature-loving Catholics lost to the grim, joyless Puritans, and today's capitalists are the descendants of the Puritans, with their ruthless work ethic and pursuit of money as a form of salvation. Of course, it isn't as simple as that, but I rather enjoyed reading his condemnation of the capitalists and bankers and his solutions to overcoming what his hero, William Cobbett, called the Thing.But although partly a polemic on the evils of capitalism and usury, the primary purpose of this book is a guide to the husbandman's year, in which his swipes at the system are incidental, the main purpose being to get people to become more self-reliant through growing their own food, keeping bees, chickens and pigs, making their own bread, hunting and gathering, making hay while the sun shines, brewing their own beer and idle merriment. Is it possible to be an idler and self-reliant, as the Hodge seems to think? I'm not so sure, but I think it would make one's work more pleasant knowing that what one is doing is closer to what nature intended and working for oneself rather than for a corporation. If one is doing what one loves, then it is not like doing work, which in many cases is often mere drudgery. I was a bit surprised to find him almost in support of fox-hunting. One can understand hunting for food, but the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable (as Oscar Wilde called it) was a bit hard to swallow. Having said that, if I had chickens, which kept being killed by foxes, perhaps I too would be more ambivalent in my attitude towards fox-hunting. The Hodge is fond of quoting classical Latin texts on husbandry and his sources include Virgil, Pliny the Elder and Ovid, as well as more recent sources including the aforementioned Cobbett, G.K Chesterton, George Orwell and John Seymour.One can see why the Medieval world might be attractive to someone who hates the modern world of global capitalism, bankers and their bloated bonuses, evil and vicious dictatorships, endless rules and regulations, health and safety, bureaucracy, the great divorce between man and nature, and the world of superstates, supermarkets and super-rich celebrities. Perhaps the Medieval world is much maligned. After all, history is written by the victors and the victors were the capitalists and their brave new world...

  • Jill Hyams
    2019-05-18 05:38

    Made me want to sell up, pack in the job and move to the countryside - well, almost!

  • Mark
    2019-05-16 06:40

    Slightly less smug than some of his stuff and more enjoyable for it. He has inspired me to retire early. Now I just have to inherit money from some rich, long-lost relative.

  • Annelies Botjes
    2019-04-25 05:47

    Full of some patent nonsense at times, but an amusing read nonetheless.

  • Marri
    2019-05-08 05:34

    As the author admits, this is not a complete how-to of going back to the land (although often I wished it were!). It is part how-to, part memoir/personal tale, part history. Oftentimes these three parts worked less in harmony than I would have liked, and as an ex-medievalist I was already familiar with a lot of the source material the author shares, so there was some disappointment for me that it used so much space in the book. (Doubly so as it seems several passages are re-used in different places.)I did learn some things about smallholding and quasi-rural self-sufficiency that I didn't know before, but much of the more specific advice about the legality of backyard dungheaps and beekeeping, etc., is irrelevant to anyone outside of the U.K.I enjoyed the month-by-month format and wish other authors would do the same instead of grouping this type of knowledge topically, which makes it hard for city folks to know when they should be doing what. Brave Old World's format also mirrors the books of hours it so frequently alludes to, and I enjoy that rekindling of a sensible tradition of husbandry education. I agree with the author's call to self-sufficiency and a rejection of capitalism's monoculture and the non-participatory nature of so much of our entertainments, but I'm not sure if I agree that reviving Christian feast days are as great a solution as he does. This book was at its best when the author was relating useful and/or comedic tales from his own attempt at smallholding, rather than politicizing it endlessly (which preaches to the choir and alienates those in the wings), or using page space for a few too many primary sources. However, the bibliography is an excellent resource for people interested in the history of agriculture, and there are several very intriguing contemporary books mentioned throughout. This book may be a good place to start for those who are not yet well-versed in the principles and practice of U.K.-style smallholding and utopianism.

  • emily
    2019-05-25 04:48

    Debated what to rate this as the actual "practical" side of things is mostly irrelevant to me. Firstly because I currently live in the southern hemisphere with different seasons (and summers as harsh as the winters are in England), and secondly because I've lived on a farm my whole life and so most of the information Tom and his family are just learning is stuff my father has known since a young age (hunting, fishing, raising livestock etc). Though I would love to try keeping bees! What I loved most was the comparison between the Old World and New (something explored in greater depth in his other books, I've come to find), but I actually enjoyed having read this one first, as it was a good little introduction to the full-pelt opinions in How to Be Free (and what I assume I will find in Idle as well) and helped me to understand where he was coming from with his medieval idealism that people criticise in his other books. I'm lending this one to my parents (or at least my mother) so they can have a read too, I know they'll find it interesting for all the same reasons as I did!

  • sasasa
    2019-05-08 02:37

    Love letter to the middle ages organized as an almanac, with some practical bits mixed in with the miscellany. It's not exactly polished, but I like it like that! Sort of like a fun conversation with a nerdy friend after you've been drinking and you start up some fantasy land scheming (this is pretty much my favorite kind of evening). He has a very romantic notion of the "old world" which is cobbled together from lots of disparate sources, but who cares? He takes whatever is useful from the the old timers in the service of living life with gusto and humor (and leisure!) and I'm all for that.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-25 04:47

    Fun! A bit useful, too. I mean, there are aspects of the author's philosophy that make me very dubious (not, perhaps, the ones you would expect), and often he is deliberately glib or tongue-in-cheek, but his sensibilities are in harmony with mine and the subject is one with which I am myself preoccupied, so I quite enjoyed it.

  • Ellen
    2019-04-29 09:34

    I liked it, but whilst Hodgkinson insists that urban dwellers can follow his guidance, I'm assuming he means urban dwellers like him, public school boys who went on to Oxbridge. Whilst the period quotes are fun, I fear my working class background (despite my education) means that I'm not truly meant to be his intended audience.

  • Jim Dudley
    2019-05-10 09:34

    I enjoyed this book immensly. Tom Hodgkinson has a very idealised view of medieval husbandry and is trying to talk all of his readers into adopting a more self sufficient approach to life, and why not. Perhaps there is no greater praise than to admit I now have a vegetable patch since reading this book!

  • Michala
    2019-05-07 06:29

    Jakkoliv jsem byla na příručku "moderního hospodáře" zvědavá, tahle kniha mě prostě nebavila. Je mírně zmatená, trochu sebestředná (navíc když ze sebe autor dělá nemehlo, těžko se pak těmi radami řídit) a protkaná pro mě nesnesitelnými "protikapitalistickými" hemzy. Takže jsem přeskakovala a chtěla už mít hlavně dočteno.

  • Adrian Colyer
    2019-05-22 08:32

    An eclectic mix of practical advice, historical references, and lifestyle philosophy. The sections on merriment have encouraged me to revive some of the old traditions in our family.

  • Denise
    2019-05-02 06:30

    Pleasant read for a "husbandry" book.

  • Dana
    2019-04-30 06:31

    Chvilkama už trošku nudné, ty věčné citáty z prací o zahradničení, ale i spousta zajímavých informací a praktických rad. Mám chuť se odstěhovat na venkov.

  • Kirsten
    2019-05-06 07:30

    only if you're into that sort of thing...