Join Napa Bookmine as we host Louise Dunlap + Patricia Damery Thursday, September 29 at 7pm PT as they discuss their new books Inherited Silence and Fruits of Eden.
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An insightful look at the historical damages early colonizers of America caused and how their descendants may recognize and heal the harm done to the earth and Indigenous people
Inherited Silence tells the story of beloved land in California’s Napa Valley—how the land fared during the onslaught of colonization and how it fares now in the drought, development, and wildfires that resulted from the colonial mind. Author Louise Dunlap’s ancestors were among the first Europeans to claim ownership of traditional lands of the Wappo people during a period of genocide. As settlers, her ancestors lived the dream of Manifest Destiny, their consciousness changing only gradually over the generations.
When Dunlap’s generation inherited the land, she began to wonder about its unspoken past. What kept her ancestors from seeing and telling the truth of their history? What had they brought west with them from the very earliest colonial experience in New England? Dunlap looks back into California’s and America’s history for the key to their silences and a way to heal the wounds of the land, its original people, and the harmful mind of the colonizer.
It’s a powerful story that will awaken others to consider their own ancestors’ role in colonization and encourage them to begin reparations for the destructive actions of those who came before. More broadly, it offers ways every reader can evaluate their own current life actions and the lasting impact they can have on society and our planet.
In the Valley of Demons, Dreams and Delights: Fighting for Eden’s Survival
In Fruits of Eden, author Patricia Damery takes readers on a thirty-year journey, vividly recounting her citizen activism to protect the world-famous Napa Valley from the ravages of over-development, water plundering, government failures, greed and damaging tourism. Damery’s articulate and Illustrative voice is a powerful call that interweaves the story of her ranch with her history, reflections, marriage and her husband’s onset of dementia. His Alzheimer’s began at the same time as pressure on the ranch’s sustainability became acute. Conversely, there is also great hope. The author’s relationships with colleagues in action for the valley, her children, her grandchildren and friends all share a deep love for this extraordinary place on the planet.
Over the decades Damery and her husband, Donald Harms, developed a way of life that respected the natural ecology of their land in the Napa Valley. They applied organic and biodynamic methods, left large parts in their natural state, and had a herd of goats that lived next to Patricia’s writing studio. Then climate change coupled with egregious overdevelopment overcame them, threatening to destroy their way of life. Destruction of native oaks caused erosion and groundwater depletion, insecticide use disrupted the balance of animal life, including beneficial insects, population density and tourism brought air pollution and congestion, and finally global warming brought repeated fires, a risk that continues today.
Fruits of Eden can be purchased HERE!
ABOUT LOUISE DUNLAP
LOUISE DUNLAP IS A BELOVED TEACHER and facilitator, writer, and Buddhist activist. Her new book, Inherited Silence: Listening to the Land, Healing the Colonizer Mind,” is due from New Village Press in September 2022. The book traces the history of her family’s still-beautiful land at the edge of California’s famous Napa Valley, uncovering connections between the racist mind that made settlement possible and climate catastrophe as it unfolds today. It is a wake up call for white Americans and a touchstone for racial and environmental reckoning and healing in these perilous times.
Louise has spent her 80 years on earth fascinated by the healing power of nature and truth-telling. This fascination has led her to far corners of the globe—MIT’s renowned halls, where she taught urban planners how to think and write about equity and space, community centers in South Africa’s townships, where she worked with women and labor activists to undo the harm of apartheid, and many recent actions in the Bay Area to expose the ravages of historical genocide on Indigenous people and modern day gentrification. At the top of her list now are organizing with other white people to change the mind of racism and finding joy in earth to help us face hard truths.
An ordained member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, Louise is a sought-after teacher and speaker, and widely published writer. Author Courtney Martin says, “Louise is the elder we’ve been waiting for—a model of how to live a life of self-examination, humble collaboration, and joyful transformation. It’s like she’s been presciently building all the muscles we most need in these urgent times for eight decades. I love to sit at her feet and learn.” The learning is always mutual.
ABOUT PATRICIA DAMERY
While farming organic lavender and grapes, Patricia Damery also practiced as a Jungian psychoanalyst and has had four books published, as well as numerous articles. A Board Member of the activist group Napa Vision 2050 and co-editor of its newsletter, Eyes on Napa, she served on the Executive Committee of the Napa Sierra Club and has been an active participant on the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter's Northern California Forest Committee, Oak Working Group. She maintains a blog at https://www.patriciadamery.com
“This is so refreshingly far from the usual Napa Valley memoir as to constitute a new genre. Instead of self-celebration so common, it’s at once a full autobiography, a paean to the natural world, and a vivid lesson in the challenges and rewards of working the land oneself. In the course of unwrapping her personal history, the author lays out her considerable involvement in the efforts of environmentalists in Napa to slow down the ravages of development of the one of the most famous and threatened valleys on Earth.” —James Conaway, author of Napa at Last Light
"Napa is a special place, for its beauty, and for the care some of its residents take in protecting it even in these dire decades of climate chaos. That shines through in these pages." —Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
“As a long-time friend to Patricia, I have always been amazed by her open heart, her open eyes, her intense willingness to put to word to what so many can barely conceptualize or articulate. She gives wings to our wounded hearts and feelings of helplessness in the face of the mass destruction of our home planet. Patricia inspires us towards collective action in accepting the sacred responsibility to reach to our highest potential as caregivers of Mother Earth.” —Charlie Toledo, Executive Director, Suscol Intertribal Council
“An alchemical book, Fruits of Eden is the record of one soul's deepening and complexifying through the mystery of committed relationships -- with a wonderful husband whose memory is slowly slipping away, with an eloquent and sagacious tree, with the imagist magic of dreams, and with the exhilarating but difficult practice of democracy itself. And, underlying and sustaining all those ongoing relations, the book tracks the author's soulful metamorphosis through her full-bodied and fiercely committed relationship with a powerful piece of land, a worthy place on the breathing earth.” —David Abram, author of Becoming Animal and The Spell of the Sensuous
“In this riveting book, activism in the world and contemplation of the sacred and profane, with its glimpses of wholeness and pain of fragmentation, go hand in hand. Fruits of Eden narrates the journey of an absolutely unique person in an absolutely singular place at a ripe time of Kairos that simultaneously becomes a microcosm of the whole world. This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary human being.” —Tom Singer, Editor of Cultural Complexes and The Soul of America: Myth, Psyche, and Politics
An insightful look at the historical damages early colonizers of America caused and how their descendants may recognize and heal the harm done to the earth and the native peoples