Chelsea Green Publishing

A Man Apart

Pages:272 pages
Book Art:Color photos throughout
Size: 9 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603585477
Pub. Date February 03, 2015

A Man Apart

Bill Coperthwaite’s Radical Experiment in Living

Categories:
Nature & Environment

Availability: In Stock

Hardcover

Available Date:
February 03, 2015

$35.00

A story of friendship, encouragement, and the quest to design a better world

A Man Apart is the story—part family memoir and part biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow’s longtime friendship with Bill Coperthwaite (A Handmade Life), whose unusual life and fierce ideals helped them examine and understand their own.

Coperthwaite inspired many by living close to nature and in opposition to contemporary society, and was often compared to Henry David Thoreau. Much like Helen and Scott Nearing, who were his friends and mentors, Coperthwaite led a 55-year-long “experiment in living” on a remote stretch of Maine coast. There he created a homestead of wooden, multistoried yurts, a form of architecture for which he was known around the world.

Coperthwaite also embodied a philosophy that he called “democratic living,” which was about empowering all people to have agency over their lives in order to create a better community. The central question of Coperthwaite’s life was, “How can I live according to what I believe?”

In this intimate and honest account—framed by Coperthwaite’s sudden death and brought alive through the month-long adventure of building with him what would turn out to be his last yurt—Forbes and Whybrow explore the timeless lessons of Coperthwaite’s experiment in intentional living and self-reliance. They also reveal an important story about the power and complexities of mentorship: the opening of one’s life to someone else to learn together, and carrying on in that person’s physical absence.

While mourning Coperthwaite’s death and coming to understand the real meaning of his life and how it endures through their own, Forbes and Whybrow craft a story that reveals why it’s important to seek direct experience, to be drawn to beauty and simplicity, to create rather than critique, and to encourage others.

 

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Booklist-

"Many environmentally conscious consumers fantasize about going off the grid and living a sustainable lifestyle, but few are able to achieve that state. Bill Coperthwaite was an author, social critic, and architect who actually succeeded, living out his ecological ideals at a remote Maine homestead for nearly five decades, until he died at the age of 83 in a tragic car accident in 2013. In addition to his award-winning book, A Handmade Life (2003), Coperthwaite was famous for his design and popularization of a modern variation on the conical dwelling known as a yurt. In this loving tribute to Coperthwaite, Forbes and Whybrow have crafted an inspiring biography, complete with photographs and architectural drawings, of a man treasured as both a close friend and a mentor. Interweaving anecdotes of their own interactions with Coperthwaite, including the construction of a final, sunlight-filled yurt, the authors capture the full spectrum of this sometimes curmudgeonly man’s gregariousness, resourcefulness, and optimism. Although Coperthwaite’s dreams of worldwide cooperative and sustainable communities have not yet been realized, this reverent memoir will help keep his environmental ideals alive.”

"William Coperthwaite was a man of vision and integrity, as well as a personal inspiration to Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow. His desire to live simply led him to a remote stretch of the Maine shore, where Coperthwaite’s commitment to carving wooden bowls and building elegant yurts created human elegance answering to the beauty of his surroundings. Forbes’s luminous photographs evoke this aspect of his achievement. Exceptional integrity can sometimes feel rigid or bruising to those whom it also attracts, however. As Emerson once wrote about Coperthwaite’s predecessor Thoreau, “I'd sooner take an elm tree by the arm.” A great achievement of Forbes and Whybrow in A Man Apart is to convey the complexity of this strong-minded life fully and honestly. Such an approach makes their reflections on love, struggle, and grief all the more powerful."--John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home

“This is a terrific book, honestly drafted and beautifully wrought. As it is with yurts, so it is with communities and with books—their lasting strength comes from the integrity of their parts and the genius of their joinery. Deep gratitude to Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow for their work of grace and love.”--Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Wild Comfort

“What a rare and important offering. Peter and Helen have given us a deeply honest portrait of a man. We are invited to witness him from above, from beneath, from the side, from within, in his light, in his darkness. This story is about building one last yurt without knowing it’s the last; it’s about how one solitary man’s ethic influenced the lives of many; it’s about the complexity, joy, and frustration of friendship. Bill Coperthwaite once said, ‘Bite off less than you can chew.’ He was right! This book calls out to those of us seeking connection in our modern era. A Man Apart left me with the exquisite sense of having traveled somewhere and been transformed because of it.”--Molly Caro May, author of The Map of Enough: One Woman’s Search for Place

“In this remarkable and deeply moving book, Peter and Helen tell the story of Bill Coperthwaite, a Maine homesteader, designer, and social thinker whose unique way of life and passionate ideals inspired all who knew him. Beautifully and sensitively told, the story explores the complexities of the relationship between them—the shared ideals, hard realities, disappointments, and joys of intensely interwoven lives. Bill’s life—a monumental testament to creativity, brilliance, integrity, and courage—invites the reader to reexamine the profound questions of how each of us chooses to live a life. A Man Apart is a riveting and intensely human story—a treasure to be revisited many times.”--Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, author of Ten Thousand Joys & Ten Thousand Sorrows: A Couple’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s

“Not many know that Walden is not just the product of a brilliant experiment in living: Thoreau spent two years penning six painstaking revisions to arrive at the classic book. In Bill Coperthwaite, Forbes and Whybrow discover a ‘Walden’ of a man, only to uncover gaps, in him and in themselves, between brilliant solitary achievement and the kind of touch needed to ground and guide a viable community. Many revisions, much pain and forgiveness, and only partial fulfillments follow. But if there is another way to move from our anti-culture into communities ruled by loving intention, I don’t know what it is. ‘Explore your misunderstandings to your advantage,’ advises Zen master Dogen. A Man Apart does exactly that. This is a beautifully raw account of loving grief, instructive failure, and steadfast allegiance to an utter planetary necessity: major cultural transformation.”--David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K

“What is a good life? The models offered by our celebrity culture are mostly shabby and shallow. To find worthier examples you need to look elsewhere—to books, for example, where you can meet Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Gary Snyder, Barbara Kingsolver, and Wendell Berry, among others. To that lineage of American rebels you can now add Bill Coperthwaite. In this eloquent portrait, Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow document the search for integrity, wide-ranging competence, and high purpose, not only in Coperthwaite’s life, but in their own. This is a wise and beautiful book.”--Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works: Selected Essays

“Two remarkable people writing about a third remarkable man—and full of lessons for the ordinary rest of us. This is a lovely and important book.”--Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“A loving tribute to Bill, a wonderful man who inspired all of us with his dedication to indigenous building, natural materials, and above all else, use of human hands.”--Lloyd Kahn, author of Shelter and Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Forbes

Peter has become a leader for the American conservation movement by creating a life in conservation as photographer, writer, and storyteller about the relationship between people and place. For the last fifteen years, Peter has focused his energies on bringing together and strengthening the worlds of environmentalism and social justice and offering those professions his experience with story, facilitation, contemplative practice, and relationship to nature.  Peter is always learning and innovating across the boundaries of profession, culture, and home, and this has made his work influential to the different fields of leadership development, sustainability, philanthropy, and conservation. You might find him teaching spoon-carving on a city street, or giving a keynote address on courage at a national conference, or helping to heal a fracture within a community, or photographing a lost art.  What he cares most about is strengthening people’s connections to one another and the land that sustains them, the most visible and important example being his family’s farm and tapestry in the Mad River Valley of Vermont. He is the co-editor of Our Land, Ourselves, author of The Great Remembering and What Is a Whole Community,  and co-author of Coming to Land in a Troubled World, and collaborated with William Coperthwaite as the photographer for A Handmade Life. You can learn more about him at Peterforbes.org.

Helen Whybrow

Helen’s life as an educator, farmer, and writer follows a career in book publishing, where she was most recently an acquiring editor for W. W. Norton and the publisher of their Countryman Press imprint. She left publishing to cofound, with Peter Forbes, what became a nationally recognized place of learning and change-making—Center for Whole Communities—at their home place of Knoll Farm in central Vermont. She now manages their organic family farm and consults for Vermont Farm Viability and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont while also homeschooling their daughter and continuing her writing life. She is the editor of Dead Reckoning and co-editor of Our Land, Ourselves and The Story Handbook, among other works. You can learn more about their farm and ongoing projects at www.knollfarm.org.

ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR

A Handmade Life

A Handmade Life

By William Coperthwaite and John Saltmarsh

William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.

A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

A Handmade Life

William Coperthwaite, Peter Forbes, John Saltmarsh

Paperback $30.00

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Maine Land Conservation Conference: Peter Forbes Keynote Address

Maine Land Conservation Conference: Peter Forbes Keynote Address

Helen Whybrow: Organic Matters Introduction

Helen Whybrow: Organic Matters Introduction

Setting the Table: A Dinner with Peter Forbes on Building Relationships Across Difference

Setting the Table: A Dinner with Peter Forbes on Building Relationships Across Difference

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

By Cyril Dion

Based on the award-winning, globally acclaimed film, Tomorrow, by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent.

What if highlighting solutions and telling positive stories was the best way to solve the ecological, economic, and social problems our countries are grappling with?

In 2012, French writer/activist Cyril Dion learned about a study carried out by twenty-two scientists from around the world that forecasts the extinction of multiple forms of life, and possibly a large part of humanity, by the year 2100. This news barely received any media coverage at all. Convinced that spreading catastrophic news is not effective, Dion decided to explore, along with actress and director Mélanie Laurent and a small film crew, what our world could look like if we brought together some of the best solutions to date in agriculture, energy, economics, education, and democracy.

What they found were men and women changing the world: cities that produce their own food and energy, zero-waste systems, businesspeople and towns creating their own currency to prevent speculation and the appropriation of wealth, citizens rewriting their own constitution, and pioneering educational systems.

By linking these initiatives together, Dion and his crew bring to light a new philosophy, a community of thought among people who often don’t know each other: new blueprints for society.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Tomorrow

Cyril Dion, Lisa Davidson

Paperback $25.00

Slowspoke

Slowspoke

By Mark Schimmoeller

Why a unicycle? Why a cross-country trip? Why leave a prominent New York magazine and return to the simple life in Kentucky?

Reminiscent of classic literary travelogues, Mark Schimmoeller’s Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America takes readers on an inward, emotional journey as he inches across landscapes and communities from North Carolina to Arizona.

Schimmoeller became inspired by his unicycle as an adolescent. It taught him that rushing—whether down the driveway or toward adulthood—would cause a fall, and so, instead of accepting the speeding, straight line that de-fines modern American life, he adopted his single wheel’s wayward rhythms.

Written with poise and humor, Slowspoke is more than a cross-country trip on a unicycle; it’s a meditation on a playful, recalcitrant slowness that is increasingly rare in a culture obsessed with acceleration. At times ach-ing and other times joyful, Schimmoeller intersperses recollections of his journey with vignettes of his present-day, off-the-grid homesteading with his wife in Kentucky and their efforts to save an old-growth forest.

Schimmoeller’s personal journey will resonate with anyone who has slowed down to experience life at a unicycle’s speed or who longs to do so, who has fallen in love or searched for it, or who has treasured tall trees or mourned their loss.

Slowspoke: A Unicyclist's Guide to America is also available as an audio book! Browse and download the book here >>

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Slowspoke

Mark Schimmoeller

Paperback $17.95

The Climate Change Playbook

The Climate Change Playbook

By Dennis Meadows and Linda Booth Sweeney and Gillian Martin Mehers

Advocates and teachers often find it difficult to communicate the complexities of climate change, because the people they are trying to reach hold so many mistaken assumptions. They assume, for example, that when climate change becomes an obvious threat to our everyday lives, there will still be time enough to make changes that will avoid disaster. Yet at that point it will be too late. Or they assume we can use our current paradigms and policy tools to find solutions. Yet the approaches that caused damage in the first place will cause even more damage in the future.

Even the increasingly dire warnings from scientists haven’t shaken such assumptions.  Is there another way to reach people?

The simple, interactive exercises in The Climate Change Playbook can help citizens better understand climate change, diagnose its causes, anticipate its future consequences, and effect constructive change. Adapted from The Systems Thinking Playbook, the twenty-two games are now specifically relevant to climate-change communications and crafted for use by experts, advocates, and educators. Illustrated guidelines walk leaders through setting each game up, facilitating it, and debriefing participants. Users will find games that are suitable for a variety of audiences—whether large and seated, as in a conference room, or smaller and mobile, as in a workshop, seminar, or meeting.

Designed by leading thinkers in systems, communications, and sustainability, the games focus on learning by doing.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Climate Change Playbook

Dennis Meadows, Linda Booth Sweeney, Gillian Martin Mehers

Paperback $24.95

Walking on Water

Walking on Water

By Derrick Jensen

Remember the days of longing for the hands on the classroom clock to move faster? Most of us would say we love to learn, but we hated school. Why is that? What happens to creativity and individuality as we pass through the educational system?

Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom--whether college or maximum security prison--where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools perpetuate the great illusion that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us into lifelong clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.

Jensen's great gift as a teacher and writer is to bring us fully alive at the same moment he is making us confront our losses and count our defeats. It is at the center of Walking on Water, a book that is not only a hard-hitting and sometimes scathing critique of our current educational system and not only a hands-on method for learning how to write, but, like Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a lesson on how to connect to the core of our creative selves, to the miracle of waking up and arriving breathless (but with dry feet) on the far shore.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Walking on Water

Derrick Jensen

Paperback $20.00