The self-sufficiency and regional outlook of farm life characterized the United States until the Civil War period. With the triumph of the industrial North over the rural South, the expansion of urbanism, and the closing of the frontier, the agrarian sector became an economic and cultural minority. The social benefits of rural life--a sense of independence, commitment to democracy, an abundance of children, stable community life--were threatened. This volume examines the rise of a distinctive agrarian intellectual movement to combat these trends.
The New Agrarian Mind, now in paperback, synthesizes the thought of twentieth-century agrarian writers. It weaves together discussions of major representative figures, such as Liberty Hyde Bailey, Carle Zimmerman, and Wendell Berry, with myth-shattering analyses of the movement's cultural diversity, intellectual influence, and ideological complexity. Collectively labeled the New Agrarians to distinguish them from the simpler Jeffersonianism of the nineteenth century, they shared a coherent set of goals that were at once socially conservative and economically radical.
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Allan C. Carlson is president emeritus of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois and was distinguished visiting professor of history and politics at Hillsdale College.
“Among the significant discussions in this well-written comparative judgment on the so-called "New Agrarians" are Liberty Hyde Bailey's leadership in a "back to the farm" movement; Carle C. Zimmerman's fascination with the growth of "suburban" populations; Ralph Borsodi and the idea of the autonomous homestead; Louis Bromfield's desire to reconstruct farm life and people by social engineering; the Tennessee Agrarians, who championed tax reform, subsidized loans, free trade, and the restoration of subsistence farming; Herbert Agar's advocacy of American "distributionism" to counter capitalism's destruction of rural private property; Father Luigi Ligutti's causes of increasing the rural Catholic population and proclaiming the central role of religious faith in a realistic New Agrarianism; and Wendell Berry's hostility to technological innovations and attacks on the dehumanization of home, family, and community.... Upper-division undergraduates and up.”
—C. W. Haury,Choice
"The book is splendidly detailed, a definitive work on its subject, clear and coherent, a well-digested mass of source material... [L]et me recommend it as a vast storehouse of sources, of detailed research and exploration of its subject."
– Peter Hunt, The Chesterton Review
"The book is carefully crafted, well written and should appeal especially to political scientists, economists, sociologists, social historians, and those nostalgic people whose antecedents are rooted in the family farm prior to World War II."
– R. Alton Lee, Journal of Church and State
"Carlson 'provides a lucid and thoroughly-learned survey of agrarianism's 20th century advocates.' This concise and richly informative book is the single best source on New Agrarianism's perspective.... Anyone wishing to learn what agrarianism has to offer should start here."
– John Attarian, Culture Wars
"Allan Carlson, who has written prolifically and with insight on issues relating to the family, surveys a series of agrarian thinkers [in The New Agrarian Mind] spanning the twentieth century, beginning with Liberty Hyde Bailey and concluding with present-day author Wendell Berry. His assessment is mixed, as it should be. ... Allan Carlson has written...a book of unusual insight, one that is at once sympathetic to New Agrarian concerns and critical of their often serious misjudgments."
– Thomas E. Woods, Modern Age
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Book Description Transaction Publishers, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111560004215