Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Editor's Comment

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Editor's Comment

Article excerpt

It's the rare scholar who can also call himself a farmer, and it's only somewhat less rare that a scholar brings his learning to bear on public questions. Victor Davis Hanson, the author of "Democracy without Farmers" (see p. 68), can lay claim to both distinctions. And he is a classicist to boot.

In a skein of passionate, stimulating books leading up to his latest, The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer (2000), Hanson has looked back to some neglected corners of ancient Greek civilization for instruction on subjects that are, or ought to be, matters of present-day concern. In The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization (1995), which serves as a bookend to his latest volume, he argued that Greek democracy grew out of the cultural soil plowed by Greek farmers more than it did out of the Greek cities. In The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyrants (1999), he showed how democratic armies both derive a special character from the societies that give them birth and invigorate those societies in the wake of war. …

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