Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer

Overview

Richly textured and deeply moving, Farm chronicles a year in the life of Tom and Sally Bauer of Crevecoeur County, Missouri, who cultivate nearly two square miles of the surface of the earth. They struggle to build up their farm, harvesting corn, birthing calves, planting wheat, coping with the vagaries of nature and government regulations. Required of them are ancient skills (an attunement to the weather, animals, crops, and land) as well as a mastery of modern technology, from high-tech machinery to genetics ...
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Overview

Richly textured and deeply moving, Farm chronicles a year in the life of Tom and Sally Bauer of Crevecoeur County, Missouri, who cultivate nearly two square miles of the surface of the earth. They struggle to build up their farm, harvesting corn, birthing calves, planting wheat, coping with the vagaries of nature and government regulations. Required of them are ancient skills (an attunement to the weather, animals, crops, and land) as well as a mastery of modern technology, from high-tech machinery to genetics and sophisticated chemicals.

Rhodes has captured with warm intimacy the Bauer family's daily life on their 1,000 acre Missouri farm.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
"Rhodes brings empathy and intelligence to his subject, and he projects for the reader that continuing identification with the day-to-day complexities, disappointments, and gratifications encountered by the Bauers. . . . [His] chronicle is unvarnished, his vision acute."—Maxine Kumin, New York Times Book Review
Christian Science Monitor
"I have never read a better description of what it’s like to live and work on a Midwestern farm."—Christian Science Monitor
National Review
"Reading about the Bauers makes one better appreciate the role the farm has played, and still plays, in the shaping of our national character."—National Review
New York Times Book Review

"Rhodes brings empathy and intelligence to his subject, and he projects for the reader that continuing identification with the day-to-day complexities, disappointments, and gratifications encountered by the Bauers. . . . [His] chronicle is unvarnished, his vision acute."—Maxine Kumin, New York Times Book Review

Christian Science Monitor

"I have never read a better description of what it’s like to live and work on a Midwestern farm."—Christian Science Monitor

National Review

"Reading about the Bauers makes one better appreciate the role the farm has played, and still plays, in the shaping of our national character."—National Review

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To write this book, Rhodes, whose The Making of the Atomic Bomb won the NBA, NBCC and Pulitzer prizes, spent almost a year on the family farm in central Missouri owned by the pseudonymous 46-year-old Tom Bauer. Meticulous, exhaustive, at times excessive descriptions illumine the planting and harvesting of corn, soybeans and wheat; the mechanics of farm machinery and finances; hog and cattle breeding and castration; the farmer's battles with government controls, imperatives of grain companies and nature; and farmer camaraderie (mostly male, the female farmer is a rarity in Missouri). Rhodes generally affects the no-nonsense, unadorned tone of the farmers, but his occasional lyricisms are not inappropriate, even when portraying the bustle of a farrowing house, the farm's financial core. ``There were pigs everywhere, pigs standing on their mothers' backs, pigs' heads lined up along a row of teats, pigs squealing and scratching, and more to come, into a dimly lit world where the air was mellow night and day with country-Western songs.'' Readers will not fail to appreciate the monumental achievement of the independent farmer, but they will remain curious about the experiences of the author who masks himself behind a third-person narration. BOMC featured alternate. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
YA-- Readers will gain a sound understanding of modern farm life through this actual account of the risks and rewards, the daily duties, and the long-range planning undertaken by Tom and Sally Bauer and their three children on their central Missouri farm. Actual conversations and specific details give documentarylike immediacy as the Bauers confront real problems and work through to solutions. Readers learn of the family's ethnic background and ethical beliefs through their telling comments on nature, creatures, and society within and outside the family. Precise illustrations of equipment and natural scenes validate a modern farm family's existence. --Carolyn Trachta, formerly at Clear Creek High School, League City, TX
Booknews
This book has no scholarly paraphernalia at all--a departure for the author of the meticulously researched, Pulitzer Prize-winning history The Making of the atomic bomb. The narrative is based on detailed notes Rhodes kept in 42 special notebooks during a year he spent visiting and working on a family farm in central Missouri. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803289659
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 333
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Rhodes spent nearly a year on the Bauers’ farm, observing the duties and drama of the changing seasons. He is the author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1988 and, most recently, of Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague.
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