Although it often costs me a lot of money, I really like the site abebooks.com, an online clearinghouse for used booksellers around the country (and the world, I think). A vast number of the used booksellers list their inventory through this site, making it trivial to locate just about every copy for sale of a given book. And one pleasant surprise is that many folks are willing to ship books that only cost a dollar or two; even after postage of three to four dollars, you end up with a nice bargain.
Last week I ordered quite a few books about various aspects of the history of agriculture. The Amazon books already came, and today most of the used books arrived in the mail. Aside from the books I’ve already mentioned, here is what I will be reading in the next few weeks:
- History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, by William Cobbett. I discovered this book by accident, looking through the books on Art Mize’s coffee table while he gave Chris a fiddle lesson. Cobbett thinks that the Reformation was the worst thing to ever happen to Britain, and spends a lot of time describing the havoc wreaked on the peasant class when the Protestants appropriated lands belonging to the Roman Catholic Church
- The Fatal Harvest Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, edited by Andrew Kimbrell. A collection of anti-agribusiness essays by folks associated with the modern-day agrarianism and populism, including Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Jim Hightower.
- Work and Labor in Early America, edited by Stephen Innes. A collection of essays by modern historians about the reality of everyday work in America from the early colonies to just after the Revolutionary War.
- Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth, by Henry Nash Smith. This 1950 history was referenced often enough that I thought I ought to read it.
- Notes on the State of Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson.
- Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder, by Jack McLaughlin.
- Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the Food Industry 1966-1988, by Warren Belasco. This looks like a fun read, even though blurbs by Jim Hightower and Todd Gitlin indicate that it comes from a leftward perspective.
- Field Without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea. Hanson is fairly well known among conservatives these days, an elegant and persuasive writer who also happens to be a professor of classics and a raisin farmer. This book is both a memoir and an apologetic for family farms.
- The Land that Feeds Us, by John Fraser Hart. An examination of how life changed for small family farmers over the last half of the twentieth century.
- Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, by Marion Nestle. A remarkable book by an academic nutritionist who says, among other things, that absolutely no one would talk for the record when they found out she was writing a book about how food companies worked to influence public policy.
- The Origins of the Organic Movement, by Philip Confort. An account of the efforts by thinkers, farmers, and activists to create an alternative to the conventional food chain.
- The Agrarian Origins of American Capitalism, by Allan Kulikoff. A collection of essays that Kulikoff wrote as he prepared for From British Peasant to Colonial American Farmer. (I’ve now returned the second copy of the latter book to Amazon, since it had the same pages missing as the first one. Amazon apologizes and says all they can do now is return my money. I’ll try ordering a copy through abebooks, and ask the seller to check the copy before sending it.)
- Why Cows Learn Dutch, and Other Secrets of the Amish Farm, by Randy James. This was recommended to me by my friend D.J. Hammond. It was written by an agricultural extension agent who spent many years working with Amish farmers in one of the largest Amish settlements in Ohio.
- Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal, by David Kline. We have Kline’s other book Scratching the Woodchuck, which Debbie read and liked.
- Larding the Lean Earth: Soil and Society in Nineteenth-Century America, by Steven Stoll. (Hasn’t arrived yet.)
- The Medieval Village and The Medieval Scene, both by G.G. Coulton. (Haven’t arrived yet.)
- The Plain Reader: Essays on Making a Simple Life, by Scott Savage. (Hasn’t arrived yet.)