Reviews of Books on Farming

Month: August, 2012

Jerome Blum, The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe, Princeton, 1978

A  comparative analysis of the relations of lord and peasant in early modern Europe and the events leading eventually to emancipation of the serfs, first in Savoy in 1771 and lastly in Romania in 1864.  Wonderfully detailed and discriminating in describing different arrangements and outcomes in the multiple states and regions within them.  An antidote to any inclination to romanticize pre-modern rural life.  It’s also instructive on the deep conservatism of peasant societies, and the extreme rarity of true “improving” (reforming) noble landowners over the centuries.  Reminds one of the truth of Gene Logdson’s statement that progress in agriculture has come more from the “garden” than from routines in the countryside.

Chip Planck



The Purpose of Rural Reads

The purpose of this site is to offer a place for friends and colleagues interested in farming to post short book reviews.  Whenever we get together, titles are mentioned, pencils scrambled for.  There is evidently a wonderful range of books read that some would like to pass on and others take in.  Here’s your chance.  The categories at the onset are History, Memoir, Textbook, Practical Manuals,  Journalistic and Scholarly Studies, Novels & Poems,  Manifestos & Philosophies.  The only rule is that postings represent a thoughtful reaction to books you have actually read.   If you wish to respond to a review, do so only after yourself reading the book and adding your own review.  Let’s have real engagement and substance.  ( The editor will excise entries such as “This looks like it might be good”,  or comments like “Great book, Dude!” )  Also, in each review or response, give  name and e mail of the contributor.  I look forward to your entries.   Chip Planck.