Friday, January 12, 2018

Harmony - The Prince of Wales

Title: Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World
Author: Charles, Prince of Wales
Publication Date: 11/2/2010
Pages: 336
Genre: Royals / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I can't remember exactly, but it obviously stemmed from my interest in the royal family.
Date Completed: 12/22/17

Summary: Charles, Prince of Wales opines on his famously pet topic: environmentalism and caring for the Earth properly. 

What I Thought: When I learned the Prince of Wales had written a book, I honestly did not know what to expect. Prince Charles has long been known as an environmentalist, although it was his father, Prince Philip, that really started the interest within the family. His Royal Highness has gotten himself in trouble a few times over the years because of his outspoken nature on the subject, even as it relates to political decisions, which the royal family are supposed to steer clear of. Knowing all of that, I knew the book would likely be fairly preachy. Anyone familiar with HRH's personal history knows the man can have that tendency.

What struck me, however, was how thoughtful and well-rounded the book was. From the beginning, it is so clear that it has been written by a highly educated person. HRH's expensive education shines through on every page, though not in a bad way. As much time as I've spent contemplating the personalities and interests of the royal family, I had never given much thought to Prince Charles as an academic. Harmony shows him to be quite well-versed in all sorts of areas of study, not just environmental ones. He references literature, history, philosophy, and more throughout the work. I was taken aback by just how intelligent he is. This shouldn't be a surprise, but it was - a pleasant one.

I also appreciated how much HRH integrated faith and spirituality into the book. He will one day be the head of the Church of England, but we don't hear much about his personal beliefs. It's clear here that he is more spirituality minded that one may guess from his public persona. I appreciated his insistence that the beautiful harmony seen in nature reflects a Creator, not randomness. It all falls more toward the modern trend of "spirituality" rather than "religion," but I liked that it was there.

The crux of the book, of course, is the harmony that exists in nature and how we have set up so many counter-intuitive processes in our modern world. Prince Charles urges us to reflect the harmony of nature and not attempt to override it for the sake of profit or modernization. He opines on the value of small farms and disparages mass production. I do feel his approach was slightly tone-deaf to the issue of global hunger. He addresses the issue, but his ideal world seems to be suited best for the island of Britain and not a winning solution in every climate and country around the globe. His push for small operations and local produce simply would not work as well in the Sahara desert as it would in the lush farmland of his duchy of Cornwall. There are good ideas here, certainly, but they could have used some more tempering with the reality of global poverty. 

I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would. I especially enjoyed that Prince Charles himself read the audiobook, making it that much more fun. It definitely gave me a better understanding of Charles the man and, perhaps, what Charles the king will be like. Behind the royal interest, though, I found myself happily engaged with the subject matter and appreciating it far more than I anticipated I would. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, maybe. It would be a good reread whenever he takes the throne. 

A Reduced Review: While the Prince of Wales does get a bit preachy, he also makes some incredibly wise and valuable points which could benefit us all. 

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