An American Homeplace

Overview

In the tradition of Wendell Berry and John McPhee, Donald McCaig wites with a powerful sense of place, and of history of Virginia's Highland County, in An American Homeplace. On the fast track in the New York advertising world, McCaig gave it all up to move to a ramshackle farm in Virginia's upper Cowpasture River Valley.

Enhanced by the author's evident love for his land and for the stories it has to tell, An American Homeplace is an inviting ...

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Overview

In the tradition of Wendell Berry and John McPhee, Donald McCaig wites with a powerful sense of place, and of history of Virginia's Highland County, in An American Homeplace. On the fast track in the New York advertising world, McCaig gave it all up to move to a ramshackle farm in Virginia's upper Cowpasture River Valley.

Enhanced by the author's evident love for his land and for the stories it has to tell, An American Homeplace is an inviting combination of personal memoir and narrative history.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1971 McCaig Nop's Trials and his wife left New York City for an abandoned farm in sparsely populated southwestern Virginia. Here he offers an engaging account of his tenure there in an atmosphere not far removed from that of a century ago, as he traces the land's history through its previous owners and mourns the passing of the family farm. Affectionately describing his working dogs, farm animals and wildlife, he gives the grim details of putting down more than 100 diseased sheep at one time. He tells about the local volunteer fire department, explains his duties as precinct captain on Election Day 68 voters and takes us to the county fair, ``the best four days in Highland County.'' Seeking encouragement in farming, McCaig turns to some notable writerly land stewards--Helen Nearing, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Maury Telleen. Readers who enjoy Noel Perrin's works will applaud this book too. Aug.
Library Journal
This collection of writings by the author of Nop's Trials LJ 4/1/84 is based on McCaig's personal experiences on his Williamsville, Virginia mountain valley farm. McCaig first provides a brief history of the area, from the time it was explored and settled in the 1700s until he and his wife Anne purchased their farm in 1971. The main portion of his book consists of an assortment of short essays or stories, some previously published, about farming, raising sheep, working with sheep dogs, dealing with neighbors, and day-to-day life in a rural community. McCaig concludes with brief sketches of a few contemporary ``land stewards'': Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Helen Nearing, and Maury Telleen, all of whom he has met and obviously admires. McCaig is a good storyteller. His concern for rural America and small family farms is present throughout this entertaining, thoughtful, and often philosophical volume. Heartily recommended for all public and academic libraries.--William H. Wiese, Kansas State Univ. Libs., Manhattan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813917757
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Series: Virginia Bookshelf Series
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 1,298,124
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald McCaig is a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered and the author of Nop's Trials, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men, and the forthcoming novel Jacob's Ladder. He and his wife, Anne, operate a sheep farm in the mountains of western Virginia.

University of Virginia Press

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Interviews & Essays

F97

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