Book review: Radical Homemakers


That’s what I think. With every page that I read. YES! That’s me! That’s why we’re doing it! That’s who we are! That’s how we live! It has reconfirmed our life path, our journey, our motivation, our daily choices to me.

The back blurb reads…”Radical Homemakers uncovers a hidden revolution quietly taking hold across the United States. It is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement and family well-being. It explores the values, skills, motivations, accomplishments, power, challenges, joy and creative fulfillment of Americans who are endeavoring to change the world by first reclaiming control of home and hearth.”

The book starts with an exploration of the movement: its history and ideological roots. It studies feminism, the history of householding and the concept of a housewife.

Hayes then goes on to present case studies (arranged thematically to illustrate the core concepts of radical homemaking) of 20 very different families and individuals young and old, couples, divorcees, widows, families with children across the US, both urban and rural, on farmsteads, in trailers and apartments. It is US-centric in its references, research and history, a short-coming for me, but it translates pretty well into my European experience.

She finishes with a how-to. It is full of inspiration and practicality and philosophy all rolled up together.
I feel an interesting article on this brewing, but it is still bubbling underground. I will be putting something together for JUNO in the Autumn and hoping to interview the author, Shannon Hayes, for it.

But for the moment let me jump up and down with great enthusiasm and thank her for writing such a well-researched book. Anyone who quotes lashings of Betty Friedan, Wendell Berry, Thoreau and Emerson is alright with me!

This book is for you if you:
*Have given up paid work to care for your children
*Choose to live on one salary, with one car, or share working between partners
*Home educate
*Work from home
*Grow your own food
*Make your own bread, jam, clothes,furniture
*Try to do a lot of your household stuff yourself rather than spend money to get others to do it
*Put your quality of life above making money
*Dance to your own tune rather than the mainstream
*Treasure community and human capital equally or more than economic capital

Enough of my ravings. Get the book and read it for yourselves. And do check out the website for more info.