Plowed Under: Agriculture and Environment in the Palouse

Overview

In Plowed Under, Andrew P. Duffin traces the transformation of the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho from land thought unusable and unproductive to a wealth-generating agricultural paradise, weighing the consequences of what this progress has wrought. During the twentieth century, the Palouse became synonymous with wheat, and the landscape was irrevocably altered. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, native vegetation is almost nonexistent, stream water is so dirty that it is often unfit for even ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $14.94   
  • New (5) from $20.58   
  • Used (4) from $14.94   
Sending request ...

Overview

In Plowed Under, Andrew P. Duffin traces the transformation of the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho from land thought unusable and unproductive to a wealth-generating agricultural paradise, weighing the consequences of what this progress has wrought. During the twentieth century, the Palouse became synonymous with wheat, and the landscape was irrevocably altered. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, native vegetation is almost nonexistent, stream water is so dirty that it is often unfit for even livestock, and 94 percent of all land has been converted to agriculture.

Commercial agriculture also created a less noticeable ecological change: soil erosion. While common to industrial agriculture nationwide, topsoil loss evoked different political and social reactions in the Palouse. Farmers all over the nation take pride in their freedom and independence, but in the Palouse, Duffin shows, this mentality - a remnant of an older agrarian past - has been taken to the extreme and is partly responsible for erosion problems that are among the worst in the nation.

In the hope of charting a better, more sustainable future, Duffin argues for a candid look at the land, its people, their decisions, and the repercussions of those decisions. As he notes, the debate is not over whether to use the land, but over what that use will look like and its social and ecological results.

University of Washington Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Western Historical Quarterly
Duffin crafts an original narrative thematically focused on agricultural sustainability.... Ultimately, rather than presenting a polemic or prescriptive conclusion, Duffin reconstructs a usable past intended to foster present dialogue about environmental ethics and sustainable resource extraction.
Washington State Monthly
[Duffin's] continued presence and research into our agricultural legacy, I believe, could do much to raise our awareness not only of our rich history and contribution to the world food supply, but also of the marvelous resource that we continue to squander.
Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History
Andrew Duffin has provided us with an excellent study of agriculture in one of the nation's most productive farming areas. He deftly includes perspectives from farmers and scientists, and his discussions of innovative farming practices are both informative and accessible to general readers. Specialists in agricultural history and environmental history will glean much from this book.
Oregon Historical Quarterly
A clearly written, extensively researched, and cogently argued story about exploitation of the land for more than a century. This is not a study about whether the Palouse should be used for agriculture, because it will be farmed well into the future, but rather a historical analysis that ultimately leads to the present and can help policy makers, environmental interest groups, and farmers make informed decisions about future land use in the Palouse.... This excellent study of agriculture in the Palouse merits the attention of anyone interested in agricultural history and the Pacific Northwest. It is an essential read.
Pacific Northwest Quarterly
Duffin's frank environmental evaluation not only studies wheat production in this one region, but also presents the Palouse as a microcosm of the evolution and consequences of modern American agriculture.
Business History Review
Plowed Under... offers one of the more even-handed surveys of American agriculture and the environment available.
Montana: The Magazine of Western History
This is a very good book. Duffin writes well, and he uses his sources... to provide a clear picture of his characters. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of his book, to this reader, is that Duffin engages a broad range of topics... and he repeatedly sets the regional experience in a national context. His readers should leave the book understanding how ideology, economics, and politics have hindered healthy agricultural practices over the past century.
Lewiston Morning Tribune
Finally, in Andrew Duffin's book, Plowed Under, we have an authoritative history of this unique environment called the Palouse.... Duffin's book is the one to read for those who want to understand why the Palouse is what it is.
Bowling Green, Kentucky - Daily News
This volume is a notable contribution to the history, present status and prospect for the future not only for the Palouse but of many other agricultural areas in the United States as well.... Duffin presents his readers with a serious, upright and easy-to-understand account of what is arguably the most significant aspect of all our lives— the ability to put food on the table.
Choice
Duffin presents an engaging history of a lesser known US farming region.... His carefully developed narrative provides a brief introduction to the geographic eccentricities of the region, and a detailed look at 19th century, early 20th century, and post-war developments. Recommended.
HistoryLink
Andrew Duffin's history of the region's land and agriculture is wide-ranging, balanced, and very satisfying.... This is an engaging work of environmental history that deserves a wide readership, and not only in the Palouse.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295990170
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew P. Duffin is assistant professor of history at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

University of Washington Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Wind's Gift of Wheat by William CrononAcknowledgments1. Introduction: A Place Called the Palouse2. The Precontact Palouse3. From Bunchgrass Backwater to Agricultural Empire4. The Implications of Prosperity5. Lessons Learned and Unlearned6. Better Farming through Chemistry7. Lessons Neglected and Rejected8. A Glimmer of Hope? EplilogueNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

University of Washington Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)