Hard to imagine now, but there have been times and places where just wearing sandals could get you labeled as being in rebellion against established society. Two such places were Berkeley, California in the early 1960s and Millthorpe, England in the 1880s. Millthorpe was home to Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), an English socialist poet, philosopher, and activist who abandoned his upper crust life and university sinecure to grow market vegetables and handcraft sandals for a living. Carpenter’s search for the well-lived life, his passions and concerns resonate uncannily with the mood of long ago Berkeley. In this frank memoir, Carpenter explores how he “escaped from the domination of Civilization in its two most fatal and much-detested forms, respectability and cheap intellectualism.”
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