Blending memoir, cultural history, and a literary perspective, Facing It bears witness to controversies like Tellico and Chernobyl, global warming and local drought. But rather than merely drowning readers in waves of ecological angst, M. Jimmie Killingsworth seeks alternative images and episodes to invoke presence without crippling the hope for survival and sustenance in places and communities of value. In deft, highly accessible prose, Killingsworth takes the reader through a Cold-War childhood, an adolescence colored by anti-war and ecological activism, and an adulthood darkened by terrorism and climate change.
Inviting us on walks through tame suburbias (riddled with environmental abuse) and wild deserts and mountains (shadowed by industrial development), he celebrates the survival of natural beauty and people living close to the earth while questioning truisms associated with both economic advancement and environmental purity. Above all, Facing It invites the reader to face it: to look with wide-open eyes on a new nature that will never be the same, but that continues to offer opportunities for renewal and advancement of life.
"This is a book that invites readers to learn through Killingsworth's narratives, and, perhaps more importantly, allows the space for each reader to find his or her own narratives in order to make his or her own connections. This book is masterfully written. It is, in fact, beautiful. Its narratives are captivating and its lessons profound. In this book, Killingsworth does for nature writing what Gould, Wilson, Sagan, and Hawking have done for science: he helps us understand the ecological imperative and helps us understand the need for individual investment in the natural world at the personal level. Killingsworth has managed to balance a welcoming tone with an informative, critical air that leaves readers wanting not just to hear the story, but to question along with him."
– Sidney Dobrin, University of Florida Research Foundation Professor; graduate coordinator, English Department, University of Florida; and author/coauthor of Natural Discourse, Distance Casting, and Saving Place
"This book is a marvelous braiding of memoir, environmental/cultural history, literary/environmental writing criticism, meditation, and personal manifesto. It is the memoir that drives this manuscript: the author's opening admission that his mother's death inspired this writing, his admirable self-examination beginning with childhood and coming into the present, his vivid portrayal of real-life characters. It is a sort of coming-of-age saga – coming to the age the author is now – told from the distance of maturity, without losing the immediacy of the present, for, the reader understands, this is how he understands things at this moment."
– Ann McCutchan, Associate Professor of English, University of North Texas; author, The Muse That Sings and River Music; and prose editor, American Literary Review
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M. Jimmie Killingsworth is professor and former head of the English department at Texas A&M University, USA. A Walt Whitman scholar and award-winning author, nature writer, and Texas Master Naturalist, Killingsworth has written or cowritten eleven books.