Against the Grain started as a thought experiment. I had just finished my nonfiction book, Fire the Landscaper. A few chapters delved into cultural biases, herd behavior, and government propaganda. I found these topics fascinating, and it made me question whether our behavior and beliefs are really our own. If you ask someone if they think for themselves, the inevitable response will be, “Yes.” But do we? We wave an American flag in this country, but what if we were born and raised elsewhere? Would we be Christians if we grew up in Pakistan?
We are inundated with cultural bias and propaganda from birth. I wondered what a person would be like if he wasn’t. What if this person was raised by a philosophical caregiver that stressed the importance of thinking for himself and using logic and reason to make decisions? To do this, I created a primitive farm where Matt Moyer is homeschooled by his philosophical uncle.
I spent some time researching philosophy, sociology, and psychology to determine what an intelligent, philosophical teen would think of our world. Do people typically become religious, or are they born into it? Do people research every country on the globe and pick the best one, or do they wave the flag of their home country? Do people typically question the morality of government? Or do they put their hands over their hearts and sing the National Anthem? Do people question authority and laws? Or do they equate the law with morality?
With Against the Grain, I wanted to create an engaging narrative with a deeper meaning. I wanted to entertain and challenge the reader.
About the Book
Author: Phil Williams
Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age / Political
A tyrannical high school principal.
A young anarchist with nothing left to lose.
One way or another, this place is goin’ down.
Matt Moyer is an orphaned teen growing up on a primitive farm in the Pennsylvania coal region. He’s homeschooled by his eccentric and philosophical great-uncle, who’s a stickler for logic, reason, and intellectual honesty. Despite his uncle’s reverence for veracity, inconsistencies arise regarding the old man’s shady past and the teen’s parents.
Through a harrowing sequence of events, Matt is forced to attend a public school. The feral teen finds it difficult to cope with the hypocrisy, propaganda, and misinformation that adults and children so readily accept. Faced with the possibility of expulsion, arrest, and ostracism, he must make a choice. Will he choose the easy lie or the hard truth?
Adult language and content.
Phil M. Williams is an author, activist, blogger, and consultant. He lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife, Denise, where he writes and tends his permaculture farm. He is the author of Fire the Landscaper, Against the Grain, Stone Lake, and co-author of Farmer Phil’s Permaculture. His new releases can be read for free at PhilWBooks.com.
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