Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Farming the Cutover: A Social History of Northern Wisconsin, 1900-1940 Hardcover – October 29, 1997
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
"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
From the Back Cover
Farming the Cutover describes the visions and accomplishments of these settlers from their perspective. People of the cutover managed to forge lives relatively independent of market pressures, and for this they were characterized as backward by outsiders and their part of the state was seen as a hideout for organized crime figures. State and federal planners, county agents, and agriculture professors eventually determined that the cutover could be engineered by professional and academic expertise into a Progressive social model and the lives of its inhabitants improved. By 1940, they had begun to implement public policies that discouraged farming, and they eventually decided that the region should be depopulated and the forests replanted. By exploring the history of an eighteen-county region, Robert Gough illustrates the travails of farming in marginal areas. He juxtaposes the social history of the farmers with the opinions and programs of the experts who sought to improve the region. Significantly, what occurred in the Wisconsin cutover anticipated the sweeping changes that transformed American agriculture after World War II.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.