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Changing Works combines Harper's pictures with classic images by photographers such as Gordon Parks, Sol Libsohn, and Charlotte Brooks-men and women whose work during the 1940s documented the mechanization and automation of agricultural practices. Part social history and part analysis of the drive to mass production, Changing Works examines how we farmed a half century ago versus how we do today through pictures new and old and through discussions with elderly farmers who witnessed the makeover. Ultimately, Harper challenges timely ecological and social questions about contemporary agriculture. He shows us how the dissolution of cooperative dairy farming has diminished the safety of the practice, degraded the way we relate to our natural environment, and splintered the once tight-knit communities of rural farmers. Mindful, then, of the advantages of preindustrial agriculture, and heeding the alarming spread of mad cow and foot-and-mouth disease, Changing Works harks back to the benefits of an older system.
Posted November 4, 2005
I found 'Changing Works' to be a very informative text in the area of technological advances in the dairy industry. Harper uses SONJ pictures to highlight wonderful interviews with various dairy farmers that farmed in the generation before World War II. These interviews bring the past back to life as the reader goes through the mechanization introductions such as replacement of horses and the reconstruction of the milking process. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the dairy industry and to future dairymen. As an agricultural student, I was enthralled throughout the entire book. Harper tends to be less descriptive when it comes to the actual workings of the machinery, but it does not take much away from the rich narrative he weaves with the farmer' interviews. The reader gets a feeling of loss for the traditional ways that Harper projects throughout the book and it only enhances the content.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.