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July 11, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

HOLE IN THE SKY: A Memoir by William Kittredge (Vintage: $11; 238 pp.). With unflinching honesty, Kittredge recounts how he wasted a privileged youth in drunken self-indulgence and self-pity. The author's grandfather assembled a ranch the size of Delaware in southeastern Oregon, but his empire-building destroyed both his family and the local ecology. Extrapolating from his own bitter experiences, the author calls for a rethinking of the dehumanized modern ranching practices that have replaced family farming: "We want to live in a living world, and work at significant work like raising food, which is a calling so unlike the alienating efficiency dream of agribusiness."

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