Fields Without Dreams : Defending The Agrarian Ideal
Publish Date: 1997-03-25
Author: Victor Davis Hanson
Eulogizing the vanishing lifestyle of the family farm, Victor Hanson calls for America to take notice of its lost simplicity and purity before it is too late. "Victor Davis Hanson . . . is a writer as much as a farmer. His memoir is complex--passionate, angry, honest, scorching".--Jane Smiley, "The New Yorker". Classicist, professor, and farmer Hanson chronicles the decline of small-scale agriculture in the Central Valley of California. He takes his classics seriously, likening the raisin farmers of Modesto to Aeschylus' ideal virtuous man, who "did not wish to seem just, but to be so." He takes modern cultural dictates less seriously: "Is it not odd," he writes, "to rise at dawn with Japanese-, Mexican-, Pakistani-, Armenian-, and Portuguese-American farmers and then be lectured at noonday 40 miles away on campus about cultural sensitivity and the need for 'diversity' by the affluent white denizens of an exclusive, tree-studded suburb?" Hanson relates the life stories of his farmer neighbors, writing that their way of life will likely soon disappear, thanks in part to a federal system of agricultural subsidies that favors large-scale, industrial farm corporations over individual "yeomen." This is a sobering and eye-opening book.