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Farming the Cutover: A Social History of Northern Wisconsin, 1900-1940 Hardcover – October 29, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 1st edition (October 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700608508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700608508
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,376,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A tender elegy to yeoman farming and to the American dream that it represented for centuries. Gough sets forth a tenacious indictment of those who fancied themselves the best and the brightest, who wrought the destruction of that dream. His achingly sad account teems with tantalizing implications for our understanding of our history as a rural society and of our fragile future as a capitalist nation."--Michael Zuckerman, author of Almost Chosen People: Oblique Biographies in the American Grain

"Gough has an ear for the telling anecdote. He really knows the cutover and demonstrates an admirable affection for it."--David Danbom, author of A History of Rural America

"A meticulously researched analysis of one of the sadder episodes in the rural history of the United States that is informed by both the new rural history and an understanding of environmental and policy issues."--Hal S. Barron, author of Those Who Stayed Behind: Rural Society in Nineteenth-Century New England

"An engaging history."--John Gjerde, author of The Minds of the West

About the Author

Robert Gough is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His articles have appeared in Wisconsin Magazine of History, William and Mary Quarterly, and Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stanley on September 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hardly anybody knows what or where the Great Lakes Cutover Region is. That's a shame. Covering the northern parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, this land area is greater than New England and is the former site of the great white pine forest. The trees were mostly gone by the start of the twentieth century begging the question, "What to do with the land?"

Professor Gough writes of the Wisconsin experience in its several northern counties. The Wisconsin approach was fairly different in that state governement, and the progressives, were very much involved. Gough tells of changing policies first to attract farmers and later to seek other users of the land. He tells much of individual experiences, with great primary research into local sources, and also of the influence of various academics at the University of Wisconsin.

There is also a good effort in comparison and contrast with farming in other parts of the state. For the most part, though, you get the story of poor farmers on poor land. The Roosevelt administration, for example, compared the Cutover with Appalachia, even attempting to convince some locals to move to Alaska. Gough gives great examples of the poverty with hard numbers and the photos certainly establish the fact that the Cutover Region isn't East Central Illinois.

The book should be of interest to anyone with interests in either Northern Wisconsin or agricultural history in general. For those folks the book is strongly recommended.
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