Download a PDF of the press release for Cottage Economy
For Immediate Release
May 17, 2006
By William Cobbett
Foreword by Verlyn Klinkenborg
Contact: Jon-Mikel Gates, 802-295-6300 x 111,
"You can pretend if you like that this is merely an especially good how-to book without any implications concerning the politics of our own time…but Cobbett will not make it easy for you."
The Original Classic of Self-Sufficiency Returns
Chelsea Green Publishing Company is proud to release a new edition of Cottage Economy, William Cobbett’s 1822 manifesto for self-sufficiency. This Chelsea Green edition includes a foreword by Verlyn Klinkenborg of the New York Times editorial board, who provides valuable insight into Cobbett’s 18th-century England and points to striking parallels between the economic and political reality of the British laborer and the 21st-century American.
Cobbett lived in an England that was changing rapidly—paper money had recently been introduced and the British were quickly becoming a country of shoppers. In the thirty years leading up to the publication of Cottage Economy, the rural laborer had stopped brewing beer, baking bread and raising pigs, choosing to shop at the local merchant instead. The accumulated knowledge of their experienced forbearers was lost in a generation. No longer self-sufficient the laboring class was vulnerable to inflation and the whims of a government strapped for cash. Cobbett’s Cottage Economy, first published as a series of pamphlets, instructed cottagers in these lost arts and also served as a hard-hitting treatise espousing Cobbett’s personal philosophy of self-sufficiency.
Though over 180 years old, Cottage Economy has lost none of its relevance or inspiration for anyone in search of what Cobbett called “a good living.” Written with Cobbett’s typical wit—and bulldog curmudgeonliness—it deserves its reputation as the founding bible of self-sufficiency and one of the greatest rural reads in the English language.
William Cobbett was born in Farnham, England, in 1763 and traveled between England and America preaching the virtues of practical self-sufficiency. A farmer, journalist, and politician, he was a combative and witty writer who liked nothing better than to practice what he preached.
Verlyn Klinkenborg is the author of Making Hay, The Last Time, The Rural Life, and Timothy, Or, Notes of an Abject Reptile. He lives in rural New York state and is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, for which he writes essays of rural life.
Available May 2006 | Paperback | $25 | 1-933392-25-8 | 6 x 9 | 232 pages
For more information, please visit www.chelseagreen.com/2006/items/cottageeconomy.