Suite101 article on Bill Coperthwaite’s *Handmade Life*


I published a review of A Handmade Life, by William Coperthwaite, on

Bookcover of A Handmade Life by Bill Coperthwaite  

It took me a long time to write this review, simply because I wanted to do the book justice. And 700 words are not enough to do it justice.

There was, for instance, no space to treat Coperthwaite’s fascinating views on education and childrearing. I will be probably write a separate article on that (UPDATE: did so, you can read it here). Food for thought, definitely, for the home and unschoolers! I did manage to reproduce, at the end of the article, Peter Forbes’ touching photograph on p.109, of Bill carrying a very young child: there is such protection in his stance, and such an outlook for the child…

Neither could I do justice to Coperthwaite’s self-sufficient and sustainable life in nature. I’ll try to devote an article to that too, for the homesteaders!

I still hope you will go and read the review: I did get some things said! There is also some criticism. However unwavering my championship for this book, I couldn’t in all honesty withhold that one reservation…

But most importantly, I hope you will read the book. It was written by a thoughtful and kind man, about lives that are possible for all of us – lives that are for that reason “democratic” in Coperthwaite’s sense. And the photographs by Peter Forbes are simply gorgeous.

It’s time to come clean, lastly, about my “Manifest“:

What do I have to do?

Preserve, not things,

But skills to make things

And skills to make the tools to make things

And the resources to make things

And the skills to preserve these resources


Of course Coperthwaite was the one who brought home to me: the need to preserve our skills and tools so we and our children can survive in a difficult future. I am sure I will reflect more and often about A Handmade Life.


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