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Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer
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Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Richly textured and deeply moving, Farm chronicles a year in the life of Tom and Sally Bauer of Crevecoeur County, Missouri, who cultivate nearly two square miles of the surface of the earth. They struggle to build up their farm, harvesting corn, birthing calves, planting wheat, coping with the vagaries of nature and government regulations. Required of them are ancient ski ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published November 28th 1997 by Bison Books (first published 1989)
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Nov 19, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Richard Rhodes' book, Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer reveals the human side of farming. Rhodes lived for a year with the pseudonymous Bauer family (note that Bauer is German for farmer.) Tom Bauer is a 47-year-old Missouri farmer who raises hogs, cattle, grain and a family in western Missouri. The family's tribulations, the son with sight problems, the other son whose schoolwork is not up to par, are an integral part of the chronicle. Rhodes records the daily life with wit and de ...more
Oct 28, 2012 Clytee rated it really liked it
I found this book in the used book sale of our new Millcreek (Salt Lake County) Library. It grabbed me because it was about the mid west where I grew up, and about Missouri where I am connecting with my ancestors that are from rural Missouri. Turns out the farm couple the book was about could be related to me by a second marriage of a distant cousin. But it describes "A Year in the Life of an American Farmer" (subtitle)in the 1980's. I was thick into 4-H in the late 1970's, and these were the pe ...more
Dec 16, 2007 Kirk rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the bucolic kind
I really identified with this book. It reminded me a lot about my grandparents' farm in IN. The story itself is set in 1986, which is like a century ago in terms of farming technology and economics. I'd be curious how this Missouri family has weathered the past twenty years. My copy is the original hard back---I should probably nab a copy of the U of NE reprint and see if it has an afterword or update.
"From planting to harvesting, Richard Rhodes follows the daily lives and fortunes of Tom Bauer and his family as the struggle to wrest a livelihood from the land, harvesting corn, birthing calves, coping with the vagaries of nature and government regulations, and mastering twentieth-century technology. To Americans born in the city, farming may seem as mysterious as nuclear physics, yet it is still central to our definition of our nation. Rhodes reveals its immense, fascinating reality: crashing ...more
Indiana Liz
Dec 10, 2008 Indiana Liz rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure I would recommend it as fun leisure reading for most people. It's a very detailed, journalistic account of the daily goings-on of a Missouri corn/soybean/hog farmer in the 1980s.

The author accomplishes what he set out to do. I have a much better idea of the day-to-day tasks of farming now: the guy spends a lot of time fixing machinery, which says a lot about the nature of our agricultural system. The author is appropriately sympathetic to his subject, but t
Julie Barrett
Jun 23, 2016 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it
Farm, a year in the life of an American farmer by Richard Rhodes
This book starts out with a family that farms. What I found interesting was how the government subsidizes what is harvested. Started in around 1930's and talks of other enhancements to the program through the years.
Always knew the famers would pitch in and help others in time of need-as they do here in our town.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

Feb 13, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Very detailed description of life of an American farmer... particularly interesting after having read Michael Pollen's The Omnivor's Dilemma. This is a description of that farmer who lives the life of producing corn, soybeans, and hogs to meet a specifically American market controlled by government programs. It wouldn't be an easy life.
Summer Sterling
Oct 29, 2016 Summer Sterling rated it it was ok
I kept waiting for something to HAPPEN.

I was also put off by the couple's irresponsibility in not spaying and neutering their dogs. Then, when the female had puppies, the man killed them. That's what I'll remember about the book. And, of course, castrating animals without using pain killers.
Aug 06, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Cool descriptions--laying drainage tile in the field with the help of a computer, going hunting. Accessible and educational for people who live in the suburbs.
Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer by Richard Rhodes (1990)
May 10, 2010 Kayanna rated it really liked it
I learned that I knew almost nothing about how farming is done. A must-read for anyone not raised on a farm who likes talking about farming.
Feb 25, 2013 Maggie rated it liked it
I never realized farmers still, despite modern machinery, worked this hard. They work from dawn to dusk, sometimes 7 days a week. Makes me appreciate my life even more!
Jennifer Armstrong
Jan 04, 2015 Jennifer Armstrong rated it liked it
A must read if you're interested in the demise of the family farm. I will never think of the Reagan presidency the same way again.
Stacey Conrad
May 16, 2016 Stacey Conrad rated it really liked it
My husband actually read this book and liked it. He's not a reader, but a former farm kid.
Ron rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2015
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Dec 24, 2015
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Feb 28, 2012
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Richard Lee Rhodes is an American journalist, historian, and author of both fiction and non-fiction (which he prefers to call "verity"), including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986), and most recently, Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (2007). He has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation a ...more
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