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Men and the Fields
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Men and the Fields

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  18 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Adrian Bell's travels through East Anglia and lowland Britain capture the character of the countryside before modern agriculture altered the landscape and changed forever the way we eat and live.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 8th 2009 by Little Toller Books (first published January 1st 1939)
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Dec 30, 2013 Zanna rated it really liked it
Even before the two wars, this book is haunted by ghosts of an already vanishing world of traditional farming and rural community. Bell's lyrical, ambling, elegiac record of its remnants are a precious and poignant piece of vernacular history.

The book goes around a year, beginning in January and ending in December, rising and falling with the seasonal rhythm. I love non-linear narratives more and more; cyclical (or helical) story forms work differently on me; I connect with them better; they see
Martin Kirby
Feb 06, 2011 Martin Kirby rated it really liked it
A book of simple treasures from the author of Corduroy (republished by Penguin in 2000) that, like those previous accounts of Lilias Rider Haggard, capture a time, a rhythm of pastoral life now lost. I love them for their wisdom and philosophy, their pace and beauty, and because Adrian is walking the fields and riverbanks of my home region.
Apr 04, 2014 Bradley rated it liked it
Shelves: 2read2014
Published 1939 with a good deal of ink devoted to the disruptive nature of the motor car, a mode of transport the author owns and uses regularly.

I guess the car was a noisy intrusion worth noting then as long used lanes were covered by tarmac and others fell into disuse to be lost forever.

This book charts the last gasp of agriculture before it became the industrial process we have come to accept it to be. Farming was in a state of depression and what seemed terminal decline.

The author does lo
Nov 14, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it
"Little Toller republishes classics of nature writing and rural life" and that was what drew me to this volume, especially with its John Nash illustrations. It was a strange experience to read. As his son says in the introduction, Adrian Bell paints with words. The book starts nowhere in particular, ends nowhere in particular, meanders in a stream of consciousness and often merely jumps topic from one paragraph to the next to the next. Taken as a whole it is not especially satisfying, but the ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Tony rated it liked it
Written on the cusp of the Second World War by Adrian Bell the father of broadcaster and politician Martin Bell, "Men and the Fields" pays homage to a rural way of life that was swiftly disappearing. There is no particular shape to this book, it lurches from one topic to another. Sometimes, even in the same paragraph! At times the writing seems almost "stream of consciousness" in approach. The thing that binds it all together is Bell's obvious love of nature. The descriptions of trees, plants, ...more
Stuart Campbell
Jun 07, 2016 Stuart Campbell rated it it was amazing
Adrian Bell captures the moment and atmosphere of times gone by. Set in Suffolk and the lowlands of Britain 1939 just before the outbreak of WWII, where an unchanged farming system is about to be swept away and destroyed. Where age old practices and skilled work are mechanised. A truly thought provoking account of the remaining time of the traditional farm pre WWII, full of stunning observations of the time where personal motorized transport becomes affordable and the old footpaths and ...more
Debbie Cresswell
Nov 27, 2015 Debbie Cresswell rated it really liked it
I loved this series of articles about the travels of Martin Bell's father round the West and East of England on the cusp of WWII. In 1938/9 at the time of his travels agriculture was not doing well, but Adrian Bell was not to know what a powerhouse it would have to become to feed the country.
Robert Newell
Nov 15, 2014 Robert Newell rated it really liked it
Fascinating book detailing stories of rural decline and modernisation in the 1930's, really enjoyable read and Bell paints a good picture of the countryside and the people he meets
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Adrian Bell is one of the best-known of modern writers dealing with the countryside. His books are noted for their close observations of country life.
The son of a newspaper editor, Bell was born in London and educated at Uppingham School in Rutland. At the age of 19 he ventured into the countryside in Hundon, Suffolk, to learn about agriculture, and he farmed in various locations over the next six
More about Adrian Bell...

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