The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living

Author(s): Helen Nearing and Scott Nearing

Biography & Memoir

Helen and Scott Nearing recount how they created a lifestyle based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash.


In 1932, Helen and Scott Nearing moved from New York City to rural New England. Over the next 60 years, the Nearings developed a system of living called "the good life," a Waldensian effort to be as self-sufficient and green as possible. They inspired others to do the same, and were involved in many social causes of their day.


Despite his dedication to the good life, Scott was a radical economist, educator, writer, and political activist, and may be best known for his book, The Making of a Radical. The Nearings lived on earnings from the maple syrup and sugar they produced, and proceeds from Scott's lectures.

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"Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash. . . . Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills." --The Washington Post Book World 

"A prophetic account of the creation of a self-sufficient little Walden . . . that has been an underground bible for the city-weary." --Newsweek

General Fields

  • : 9780805209709
  • : Schocken Books
  • : Schocken Books
  • : January 1990
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Helen Nearing and Scott Nearing
  • : Paperback
  • : Reprinted edition
  • : 974.3042
  • : 411
  • : illustrations