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The Chelsea Green Reader

Selections from 30 Years of Independent Publishing, 1984-2014

Foreword by Ian Baldwin

Edited by Ben Watson

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.

The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: “The politics and practice of sustainable living.” The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green’s books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.

“Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed,” writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book’s foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green’s books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Reviews and Praise

  • Midwest Book Review-

    "It would have been too easy to place The Chelsea Green Reader in our Science/Nature or Home and Garden section, as many of the articles selected here, which come from 30 years of independent publishing from 1984-2014, center around these topics—but then, what to do with the large sections that include food topics, or politics and social policy? The unifying themes with all these diverse reads is that they appeared in Chelsea Green and they reflect a special kind of craft in writing that represents a well-done story no matter what the topic—and so it's recommended here, for literary readers and collections seeking exceptional, literary works. Diverse in nature, this anthology holds everything from a canoeist's diary to discussions of fermentation and whole foods, the idea of low-maintenance edible forest gardens, and the 'end of money' concept. All are exceptional reads, making for a powerful gathering recommended for a wide audience.”

More Reviews and Praise

  • Library Journal-

    "It could almost be the beginning of a folk tale: Once upon a time, an independent publisher set up shop in a small clapboard house in Chelsea, VT, 'on the town’s south green, adjacent to the county courthouse.’ The company began by publishing three titles a year; 30 years later the output has increased to 25 to 30 books per annum, and they’re still in Vermont. The Reader shows Chelsea Green’s wide range: excerpts from more than 100 publications encompass poetry and fiction, memoirs, nature and adventure travel, gardening, politics, green living, food, permaculture and agriculture, and many more categories. The foreword by cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin proudly notes how often Chelsea Green was ahead of the curve: such subjects as fermented foods, hemp farming, community-supported agriculture, and reducing car dependency were covered in the company’s titles before they became trendy or even widely accepted. Each entry is prefaced with a short introduction discussing when the original book was published (and often, republished), with a bio of the author or authors and a mention of any awards or citations. A quick glance through some of the intros shows the interconnectedness of the books and their authors—a back-to-the-land pioneer motivated another author to write his own account; a father and son both published with Chelsea Green in a 25-year span.”

  • Foreword Reviews-

    "Independent publishing owes its edgy, authentic reputation to a handful of fiercely original publishers like Chelsea Green, the indisputable leader in crafting beautifully written books on sustainable farming, homesteading, green building, and such. They may also reign supreme in their ability to produce works with decades-long shelf lives. This collection of two- or three-page excerpts from more than one hundred Chelsea Green books published over the past thirty years will rightfully serve as a definitive resource in the pursuit of ethical living.”

Pages:320 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Pub. Date: December 15, 2014
Paperback: 9781603586016

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 320 pages, $15.00

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