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Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming


When author Edmund Morris left the business world and bought a small farm in the early 1800s, he was so pleased with the results that he decided to tell others how he did it. His simply written chronicle — one of the most popular books of its time — emphasizes that agricultural success depends not on how much you grow but on what and how. Between thoughtful discussions of choosing the location, crop selection, and maintenance, he contrasts city and country life, despairs over weeds and raising pigs, and writes ...
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Ten Acres Enough - The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming

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When author Edmund Morris left the business world and bought a small farm in the early 1800s, he was so pleased with the results that he decided to tell others how he did it. His simply written chronicle — one of the most popular books of its time — emphasizes that agricultural success depends not on how much you grow but on what and how. Between thoughtful discussions of choosing the location, crop selection, and maintenance, he contrasts city and country life, despairs over weeds and raising pigs, and writes about the joy of establishing a home.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Morris's 1867 treatise on farming details how he started a small but prosperous farm in New Jersey after abandoning his Philadelphia business life. Morris asserts that it's not how much you grow but what and how you do it that matters. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486437378
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 7/26/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 564,981
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Edmund Morris
From his prizewinning biographies of his favorite president -- The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and, more recently, Theodore Rex -- to his controversial coverage of Ronald Reagan in Dutch, Edmund Morris has established a reputation as a presidential profiler to watch.


In The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris does what every good biographer should do: He makes you feel as if you have slogged through all the letters, diaries, and other documentation yourself, writing with the kind of detail that comes from an author's intimacy with his subject. The book won a Pulitzer and is considered the premier T.R. tome.

Rise was the first book in a planned trilogy; the second title, Theodore Rex, was released more than two decades later. Though Morris's enthusiasm for his primary subject is clear in his ability to convey Roosevelt's outsized, eccentric personality, Morris can paint an evenhanded portrait. He told NPR in 2001, "If [Roosevelt] hadn't been such a funny man, such a comical man, I don't think I could have spent 21 years writing about him."

But this biographical achievement is not what many readers think of when they think of Morris; most likely, it's the controversy surrounding his Ronald Reagan biography, Dutch, that comes to mind. Reagan had appointed Morris as White House biographer in 1985, affording the author a seemingly ideal post from which to write the story of the actor-turned-world leader. But in the writing, Morris created fictional characters -- a version of himself, his "son," and a columnist -- that figure in Reagan's early life. Morris later called them "projectors" of Reagan's story, devices employed to get the story across; but many howled in protest, calling the stunt egotistical or just plain irresponsible. Though Dutch earned praise from one New York Times critic, among others, for effectively conveying the Gipper's mystery, the paper's Michiko Kakutani found the book "bizarre, irresponsible and monstrously self-absorbed." Times columnist Maureen Dowd jibed that Morris had become "Forrest Gump, historian."

Critics speculated on the reasons Morris had employed this technique. Was it writer's block? A response to the problem presented by a subject whose memory was being eaten away by Alzheimer's disease? The closest answer was that Morris, after all the time spent with Reagan, still felt his subject was both mysterious and, as he told PBS's NewsHour in 1999, "alarmingly boring" at times. He told the Oakland Tribune that same year, "I certainly did not want to write a dry book. Its method grew directly out of Reagan's own way of seeing the world. He was the central character in a lifelong movie, and I could only write about him from a view of a lifelong spectator."

Though the sagacity of using this "spectator" or "projector" method was roundly questioned, Morris adopted the technique fully anticipating (even welcoming) the controversy it caused. He defended it thusly on NewsHour: "I rejoice in the method because I know the movie I project, the story I tell is true and good; I know that my intentions as a biographer are honorable; everything's documented. It's a true story."

Morris returned to Teddy Roosevelt for his next installment of the trilogy, Theodore Rex -- a controversy-free, lauded second book on the Bull Moose, which covers the first decade of the 20th century, when Roosevelt acceded the presidency. Here, Morris was back in his element -- his adept rendering of this pivotal period spurred critics to use words like "breezy," "dazzling," and "exhilarating" to describe the book's effect. Whether or not he will be brave enough to pull any more creative stunts in his future biographies, Morris has already established himself as an undeniably engaging writer and the foremost Roosevelt authority.

Good To Know

Morris is married to biographer Sylvia Jukes Morris, author of a volume on Theodore Roosevelt's wife, Edith.

He dropped out of college in South Africa and moved to London, becoming an advertising copywriter before immigrating to the U.S. in 1968.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York, and Washington, D.C.
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 27, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
    1. Education:
      Two years at Rhodes University, South Africa (no degree)

Table of Contents

I. City Experiences--Moderate Expectations 1
II. Practical Views--Safety of Investments in Land 5
III. Resolved to go--Escape from Business--Choosing a Location 10
IV. Buying a Farm--A Long Search--Anxiety to sell--Forced to quit 15
V. Making a Purchase--First Impressions 20
VI. Planting a Peach-orchard--How to preserve Peach-trees 23
VII. Planting Raspberries and Strawberries--Tricks of the Nursery 31
VIII. Blackberries--A Remarkable Coincidence 36
IX. The Garden--Female Management--Comforts and Profits 43
X. Cheated in a Cow--A Good and Bad One--The Saint of the Barnyard 49
XI. A Cloud of Weeds--Great Sales of Plants 56
XII. Pigs and Poultry--Luck and Ill Luck 64
XIII. City and Country Life contrasted 72
XIV. Two Acres in Truck--Revolution in Agriculture 77
XV. Birds, and the Services they Render 86
XVI. Close of my First Year--Its Loss and Gain 93
XVII. My Second Year--Trenching the Garden--Strawberry Profits 98
XVIII. Raspberries--The Lawtons 111
XIX. Liquid Manures--An Illustration 118
XX. My Third Year--Liquid Manure--Three Years' Results 125
XXI. A Barnyard Manufactory--Land Enough--Faith in Manure 133
XXII. Profits of Fruit-growing--The Trade in Berries 141
XXIII. Gentleman-farming--Establishing a Home 153
XXIV. Unsuccessful Men--Rebellion not Ruinous to Northern Agriculture 158
XXV. Where to Locate--East or West 165
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