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December 1996 - Issue No. #25 (p. 20)


The Millenium Whole Earth Catalog

Edited by Howard Rheingold

Published by Harper San Francisco, 1994

For those of you unfamiliar with the Whole Earth Catalog, it is not a teaching book in the literal sense of the word. It goes beyond that. It is an educational book, a book that you can always learn from. The alternative information captured in this book covers all areas of life, from practical how-to information to more philosophical ideas. The Millenium Whole Earth Catalog bills itself as "an access to tools and ideas for the 21st century". It is a stepping off point for access to information, with numerous listings for books, magazines, resources and products most of which you can order by mail.

The first Whole Earth Catalog was published in 1968 in Marin County, California, amidst the hippie revolution and the Summer of Love, as a guide for those who wanted to get back-to-basics. In 1970, The Last Whole Earth Catalog was published, only to have the Next Whole Earth Catalog published in 1980. The listings in the catalogs are continually updated in the magazine, Whole Earth Review.

The range of topics included in the catalog are extensive. The topic headings vary with subjects such as Whole Systems, Biodiversity, Sustainability, Community, Household, Health, Political Tools and Learning. For each subject background information, ideas, thoughts and comments are given, as well as information for pursuing the subjects further by investing in the books, resources and organizations listed. The layout and design are both attractive and easy to use.

In Japan, this book can be purchased through Tengu Natural Foods for 3300 yen. Tengu even offers to refund your money, plus give you 1000 yen if you don't find it useful!

Reviewed by Jessica Newby-Kawata


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