Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer

Richard Rhodes, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-63647-0
To write this book, Rhodes, whose The Making of the Atomic Bomb won the NBA, NBCC and Pulitzer prizes, spent almost a year on the family farm in central Missouri owned by the pseudonymous 46-year-old Tom Bauer. Meticulous, exhaustive, at times excessive descriptions illumine the planting and harvesting of corn, soybeans and wheat; the mechanics of farm machinery and finances; hog and cattle breeding and castration; the farmer's battles with government controls, imperatives of grain companies and nature; and farmer camaraderie (mostly male, the female farmer is a rarity in Missouri). Rhodes generally affects the no-nonsense, unadorned tone of the farmers, but his occasional lyricisms are not inappropriate, even when portraying the bustle of a farrowing house, the farm's financial core. ``There were pigs everywhere, pigs standing on their mothers' backs, pigs' heads lined up along a row of teats, pigs squealing and scratching, and more to come, into a dimly lit world where the air was mellow night and day with country-Western songs.'' Readers will not fail to appreciate the monumental achievement of the independent farmer, but they will remain curious about the experiences of the author who masks himself behind a third-person narration. BOMC featured alternate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8032-8965-9
Paperback - 978-0-671-72507-5
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