70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Fields Without Dreams,
This review is from: Fields Without Dreams : Defending the Agrarian Ideal (Paperback)
I must respond, although a bit late, to the review posted in Dec. '99 by "a reader": "As we read this book it became clear that Professor Hansen's uniformly negative opinions of the people who now support themselves as professional farmers are truly clouded by his amateur status as a farmer. The sad thing is that he does not see that himself. In case you are wondering, his profession is, after all, that of College professor."
Clearly the "reader" did not read Mr. Hanson's book carefully enough. As a nearby resident of his town of Selma, I can attest to Mr. Hanson's personal and family legacy of professional farming. He is by no means "an amateur farmer." Instead, he has worked on his family farm more than full time since his pre-teens, and supported his family doing so.
The difficulties Hanson encountered as a farmer were common to the ventures of his particular crops. In addition, his acceptance of a university position at Cal. State Fresno was mainly a way to keep food on the table after the raisin crash. I wish this reviewer had read the book more carefully before tossing out major criticisms.
As an outsider to farming, although my uncle is a cattle farmer in Wisconsin, I developed a passionate respect for farming after reading Fields Without Dreams. Hanson's overriding point, I think, is to emphasize the character and toughness required of farmers in any age. His book is particularly timely because, as he notes, "Family farmers are noble, but vanishing stewards of ancient ground."
Hanson also makes an important statement about farming--that its myth of simplicity and quaintness is unfounded. While capitalism overtakes the family farm in favor of agribusiness, just like it has many other American businesses, what is disappearing along with the family farm is an honorable society we'll never see again. I am glad Hanson is around to capture this moment for us.