cover image An American Homeplace

An American Homeplace

Donald McCaig. Crown Publishing Group (NY), $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58487-3

In 1971 McCaig ( Nop's Trials ) and his wife left New York City for an abandoned farm in sparsely populated southwestern Virginia. Here he offers an engaging account of his tenure there in an atmosphere not far removed from that of a century ago, as he traces the land's history through its previous owners and mourns the passing of the family farm. Affectionately describing his working dogs, farm animals and wildlife, he gives the grim details of putting down more than 100 diseased sheep at one time. He tells about the local volunteer fire department, explains his duties as precinct captain on Election Day (68 voters) and takes us to the county fair, ``the best four days in Highland County.'' Seeking encouragement in farming, McCaig turns to some notable writerly land stewards--Helen Nearing, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Maury Telleen. Readers who enjoy Noel Perrin's works will applaud this book too. (Aug.)