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August 14, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

A REASONABLE LIFE: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence by Ferenc Mate (Albatross: $9.95; 259 pp., paperback original). In his condemnation of the excessive consumption of energy and resources by the industrialized nations, Ferenc Mate declares, "To achieve the North American dream we have almost single-handedly propelled all living things on this planet--including ourselves--down the road to oblivion." He presents the case for leading more ecologically sane lives in conversational prose. But Mate's proposal that North Americans should try to realize his idealized vision of a family farm and grow their own food is a damn fool notion that ignores the realities of life in the later 20th Century.

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