The Man Who Created Paradise was originally published in a hardcover-only edition back in 2001. Ohio University Press continued to field requests when the book was no longer available, but it was a difficult reprint thanks to the square format and the halftone photos. At long last, we’re proud to bring Gene’s inspirational fable back into circulation in an attractive paperback edition.
The Man Who Created Paradise: A Fable, is a short, inspirational book, 72 pages, that tells the story of a landscape despoiled by strip mining. In the book, the narrator drives from Cincinnati to “Old Salem,” Ohio, to meet a correspondent. Along the way he is depressed by the scenery and its industrial heritage. But he ends up meeting a man who has begun reclaiming the land with just a personal mission and a single tractor. The encounter is a tonic to the narrator—he sees the land turned back to fertility and attractiveness, and realizes the man (Wally Spero) is on to something. Many years later, he revisits and finds that the little gem of green Spero created has spread, and now there’s a community of like-minded farmers and craftspeople who have created a vibrant, sustainable local economy.