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

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  20 reviews
From the author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb comes a stirring portrait of an American Family--a compelling human story that takes us behind the headlines and into the real world of farming today.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 31st 1989 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1989)
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Eric_W
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 ...more
Meggie
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
What was life like in the 1980s rural Missouri? Look no further than Russo’s true story of the year in the life of a farming family. He follows the Bauers through harvest, winter and planting season as they face various challenges of weather, government regulation, law-breaking neighbors, pregnant cows, dirty hogs, broken combines, school children and more.

I found some sections boring and hard to follow. Descriptions of tractor repairs, government subsidies, or combining details were difficult
...more
Clytee
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Kirk
Dec 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bauchan Mann
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Modern farm life through this actual account of the risks and rewards, the daily duties, and the long-range planning undertaken by Tom and Sally Bauer and their three children on their central Missouri farm.
To write this book, Rhodes, spent almost a year on the family farm in central Missouri owned by the pseudonymous 46-year-old Tom Bauer. he described the planting and harvesting of corn, soybeans and wheat; the mechanics of farm machinery and finances; hog and cattle breeding and castration;
...more
Beverlee Jobrack
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Living in rural Ohio, this books was like talking to my neighbor, Richard Scholl. "He was just plain old Tom. he didn't have no fancy words. he didn't have no fancy clothese. He just wanted to take care of his family and do his best. But he had the land he armed in his head...he'd walk the whole thing...he'd seen the things that need fixing, improving...
Nancy Dyer
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new respect for farmers will come from this book for many readers. Very well written, you feel like you are right there as a witness. Lots of humor, but plenty of seriousness. Explains a lot for me about the many expressions I did not understand while growing up in rural Missouri.
Pam
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true picture of what farming entails in the midwest.
Jim Willse
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Richard Rhodes could write a 400-page account of farming life vivid enough to hook a city kid who doesn't know a combine from a cucumber. Maybe it's too detailed in spots, but the profiling of the Bauer family carries it along. That said, if ever there was an opportunity to supplement the text with good graphics -- like how a combine works -- this is it. Some of the mechanics are pretty hard to visualize.
Kate
"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
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
...more
Julie Barrett
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).

Barbara
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Rebecca
Aug 06, 2013 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.
Ron
Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer by Richard Rhodes (1990)
Kayanna
May 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maggie
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband actually read this book and liked it. He's not a reader, but a former farm kid.
Ron
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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 ...more