Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Fate of Family Farming

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Fate of Family Farming

Article excerpt

GENERAL NONFICTION The Fate of Family Farming, by Ronald Jager. New England, April 2004. $z6

What do you get when a former Yale philosophy professor with a boyhood on a Michigan family farm, described in an earlier book entitled Eighty Acres: An Elegy for ? Family Farm, retires to a place he loves in New Hampshire and has an itch to understand how family farms he reads about in his local paper are doing? You get a lively and readable book that includes insights into classical mythology, contemporary agrarian literature, case studies of "niche farming," and a penetrating analysis of agribusiness that will deeply disturb the reader, even if there are some hopeful signs of change. The author, Ronald Jager, handles all the various facets of this book with confidence. It would be hard to find anything comparable to this small volume even in an edited anthology on farming. he observes that the experience at Jamestown shows that it "was a death sentence to come to America without the capacity to farm, even with generous Natives to help. …

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