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The Land Remembers: The Story of a Farm and Its People

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Overview


This classic American memoir is about a farm and its people, of a boyhood on a southwestern Wisconsin hilltop world in the 1930s. Ben Logan grew up on Seldom Seen Farm with his three brothers, father, mother, and hired hand Lyle??the fifth Logan boy.? The boys discussed and argued and joked over the events around their farm, marked the seasons by the demands of the land, tested each other and themselves, and grew up learning timeless lessons. This paperback edition features Logan's never-before-published ...
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Overview


This classic American memoir is about a farm and its people, of a boyhood on a southwestern Wisconsin hilltop world in the 1930s. Ben Logan grew up on Seldom Seen Farm with his three brothers, father, mother, and hired hand Lyle—“the fifth Logan boy.” The boys discussed and argued and joked over the events around their farm, marked the seasons by the demands of the land, tested each other and themselves, and grew up learning timeless lessons. This paperback edition features Logan's never-before-published afterword that traces the Logan land to an earlier time, bringing the story full circle to the farm and its people.

Logan recollects his years on a farm during the 1930's. A classic on rural American life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Ben Logan is strikingly successful in recalling his own boyhood world, a lonely ridge farm in southwestern Wisconsin. . . . He reviews his growing-up years in the 1920s and 1930s less with nostalgia than with a naturalist’s eye for detail, wary of the distortions of memory and sentiment.”—Christian Science Monitor

“Reading Logan’s memoir is like a refreshing vacation from the demands and problems of modern life. A book to be cherished and remembered.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is a book that encourages the reader to listen to his own thoughts. . . . Some collective memory that says that this is all familiar, that we ourselves have experienced it.”—Time Magazine

“It’s not nostalgia for my own past [that] The Land Remembers makes me feel; it’s nostalgia for a world he makes me wish I’d known.”—New York Times

The New York Times
What drew me so irresistibly through The Land Remembers?. . . How can you feel nostalgia for things that never happened to you? How can you miss people just as youre meeting them for the first time?. . . You feel nostalgia when the details of a world are so precisely concrete and right that by the time the author tells you his own reactions to that world you feel you already know it just about as well as he does. . . . Its not nostalgia for my own past that The Land Remembers made me feel; its nostalgia for a world he makes me wish Id known.
The Christian Science Monitor
In The Land Remembers Ben Logan is strikingly successful in recalling his own boyhood world, a lonely ridge farm in southwestern Wisconsin . . . he reviews his growing-up years in the 1920s and 30s less with nostalgia than with a naturalists eye for detail, wary of the distortions of memory and sentiment.
The Capital Times (Madison Wisconsin)
This is a beautiful, beautiful story. . . . a Wisconsin classic.
Kickapoo Scout (Soldiers Grove Wisconsin)
I have read more books on more subjects than I can count, but this one of Bens is so poignantly nostalgic and so much of what I guess I wish I could do, that it stirs a deep chord in me. . . . It is a breath of fresh air in our troubled world.
The Tennessean
This book gives the reader an intimate insight into how a highly artistic person has been influenced by his rural background.
Newsday
I recommend the book, both for those who have known farm life, and for those who would like to know what made farm life so very special.
The Washington Post
The story of a boy's life on a Wisconsin farm in the Depression is sharply realized in this memoir.
Vincennes Sun-Commercial
Some books are perennials, as fresh and vital each year as if their leaves had just opened for the very first time. Such is the case with Ben Logan's classic novel of country living.
Tulsa World
Logan tells in often lyrical prose just what it was like to grow up on a farm, recalling both the pleasures of such a life and the harsh realities.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976145059
  • Publisher: Flying Fish Graphics
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Ben Logan traveled as a merchant seaman and worked many years as a novelist, producer and writer of films and television, and lecturer while living forty miles north of New York City. His roots remained in the southwestern driftless area of Wisconsin and he returned, in the mid-1980s, to his childhood farm where he has lived ever since.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The Land Remembers

0nce you have lived on the land, been a partner with its moods, secrets, and seasons, you cannot leave. The living land remembers, touching you in unguarded moments, saying, "I am here. You are part of me.

When this happens to me, I go home again, in mind or in person, back to a hilltop world in southwestern Wisconsin. This is the story of that farm and its people. That land is my genesis. I was born there, cradled by the land, and I am always there even though I have been a wanderer.

I cannot leave the land. How can I when a thousand sounds, sights, and smells tell me I am part of it? Let me hear the murmur of talk in the dusk of a summer night and I am sitting again under the big maple tree in the front yard, hearing the voices of people I have loved. Mother listens to the whippoorwills with that look the sound always brings to her face. Father has just come from the oat field across the dusty road. He sits with a half dozen stems in his hands, running his fingers along the heads of grain, asking the oats if tomorrow is the day harvest should begin.

Let me hear drying plants rattle somewhere in a cold wind and I am with the corn-shredding crew. Men are talking about the hill country. "Why, my father used to say he dropped a milk pail once. By the time it stop rolling, couple days later, it was all the way down in the valley.Fellow who lived there said he hadn't bought a new milk pail in thirty years. Didn't know where they came from, he said, they just rolled in any time he needed one."

There is laughter. A big man slaps his thigh.

"Never happens to me," says another voice. "I got me some square milk pails."

Let me feel the softness of ground carpeted with pine needles and I am lying on my back in the middle of a great grove of trees, looking up to where the swaying tops touch the blue. Around me are my three brothers, and we argue endlessly about the mystery of the pines. Where did they come from? How old are they? Could a tree that's three feet through and eighty feet tall come from a seed not much bigger than the head of a pin?

Let the smell of mint touch me. I am kneeling along a little stream, the water numbing my hands as I reach for a trout. I feel the fish arch and struggle. I let go, pulling watercress from the water instead.

Let me see a certain color and I am standing beside the threshing machine, grain cascading through my hands. The seeds we planted when snow was spitting down have multiplied a hundred times, returning in a stream of bright gold, still warm with the sunlight of the fields.

Let me hear an odd whirring. I am deep in the woods, following an elusive sound, looking in vain for a last passenger pigeon, a feathered lightning I have never seen, unwilling to believe no person will ever see one again.

Let me look from a window to see sunlight glitter on a winding stream and I am in the one-room schoolhouse in Halls Branch Valley. A young teacher has asked me to stay after school because of a question I asked. Voice full of emotion as it seldom is during the school day, she reads to me of an Indian speaking to his people. He sweeps his hands in a circle, taking in all lands, seas, creatures, and plants, all suns, stars, and moons. "We are a People, one tiny fragment in the immense mosaic of life. What are we without the corn, the rabbit, the sun, the rain, and the deer? Know this, my people: The all does not belong to us. We belong to the all."

Let me hear seasons changing in the night. It is any season and I am every age I have ever been. Streams are wakening in the spring, rain wets the dust of summer, fallen apples ferment in an orchard, snow pelts the frozen land and puts stocking caps of white on the fence posts.

I cannot leave the land.

The land remembers. It says, "I am here. You are part of me."

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Interviews & Essays

Characters reveal themselves when they speak, and characters drive a story, give it its life. My father told a story about an Irish family he knew. A Norwegian family bought a farm next to them in that otherwise all-Irish neighborhood. Next time Father saw the Irish woman he asked how they liked their new Norwegian neighbors. The woman bristled. "Now look," she said, "those are good people. They keep up their fences. They keep their children to home. They change work with us come harvest time, and if those folks want to go to hell that's their own business!"

Most of these glimpses I have of the past came not from my own direct experiences but from the experiences and memory of others. The glimpses tell me how lucky I am to have grown up rural, surrounded by a diversity of Old World accents, in a time when entertainment was homemade and oral storytelling was for many a primary literature. That literature connects me with the past, lets me be a part of the past without losing my foothold on the present. Ben Logan from the Wisconsin Magazine of HistoryThe Power of Legend and Story

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Outstanding Book

    I first read this a number of years ago and regularly revisit it. Glad to see it back in print as I like to give copies to people I believe would be touched by Ben's story.

    Ben has done an extraordinary job of capturing the world of his youth. His words don't just flow, they sing the song of that era. I was raised on a Wisconsin farm a generation later but his world was not that much different from mine. The Land Remembers is not just a visit to the past but a wonderful reminder of who we are and how we are all shaped but the land we inhabit. Give this book to your grandchildren, but only after you've read it for yourself first.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    a rich and warm memoir of life on a farm

    growing up on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin during the 1930s, Ben Logan was embued with distinct and lasting imprint of the land, its contours, patterns, dangers, demands and rewards. The land itself is the main character of this book -- as it feeds the family but requires their continuing labor, repaying them with roots and a rich community and family life.

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