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The Land Was Everything

Letters from an American Farmer


Victor Davis Hanson (View Bio)
Hardcover: The Free Press, 2000.

The Land Was Everything

A passionate echo of the classic LETTERS FROM AN AMERICAN FARMER by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur — the first book (certainly the first bestseller) to celebrate Americanism by arguing that the free workers of the land are the building blocks of enlightened democracy. This dying breed in his lonely do-or-die struggle is the heroic bearer of an "awful knowledge" born of hard-fought battles against man, himself, and nature's unseen enemies. With exquisite eloquence, Hanson asks, will we still like what we are — and can we survive as we are — when the land is nothing?

"Ultimately this book is [Hanson's] angry but oddly tender inscription on democracy's tomb in a nod to another famous curmudgeon, Ambrose Bierce." — Newsday

"It is a rare scholar who can 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...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, Hanson has looked back to neglected corners of ancient Greek civilization for instruction on subjects that are, or ought to be, matters of present-day concern.... In Hanson, at least, we have one thinker with feet planted firmly in both worlds." — Wilson Quarterly

"Hanson is richly qualified to speak of farmers and farming...With wry and pithy eloquence, Hanson describes the farmer's battles with forces of nature, the inequities of the marketplace, and the temptations of selling out." — Los Angeles Times

"Hanson himself remains a grounded agrarian as countless dead-on observations in his book reveal.... Unfortunately for us, though, American farming in recent years has produced far too few thinkers like Hanson. Democracy has had to manage for too long without the rudder that he claims agrarians offer." — San Francisco Chronicle

"An entertaining...romp through the philology of farming.... Hanson is one of our more analytical and erudite agricultural apologists. He effectively communicates the complexity and paradox inherent in farming and in the social issues surrounding it. His text [is] rich with ancient analogy and description." — The Weekly Standard

"[P]oetic, angry, passionate." — Ventura County Star

"[Hanson] has produced some brilliant, cranky prose about American family farmers." — The Washington Times

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