Thursday, March 29, 2007

Small World; Who’s a farmer?

Quite a few years ago now I came across a title in a bin full of marked down hardback books at a chain bookstore outlet near where I lived. I had never heard of the author but the subject matter had to do with farming so I picked it up.

It told the story of a young California farmer trying to continue and grow a family farm that had already been in place for several generations.

That plot line by itself would be enough to interest me, but the author, aside from being a farm kid was an academic, specifically an authority on classical civilizations (Greece, Rome, etc) in the California University system.

The book contained some interesting information about the ancient Greek Yeoman farmer and comparisons to the modern family farmer that has become more and more stressed these past few decades.

Anything that portrays individualism in a positive light is sure to get my approval. I very much enjoyed the book.

I have a good friend who I lent the book to after it came up in conversation. He took it home and read it. His wife pointed out that the author had been published lately in the National Review magazine. The author is, for those who haven’t figured it out already, Victor Davis Hanson. The book was “Fields without Dreams”.

He still writes prolifically, here: and other places. Most of what I see out there is political. I often agree with him, I often disagree. I always admire his well-reasoned logic.

I think he sees himself as a farmer more than an author or an academic. I think he would give the title of farmer a loftier status than the others. I have not seen him say that in so many words, but that’s how I read him.

He did a blog entry the other day that touched one the subject of “Mad Farmers” that gave me a chuckle.

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