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Book reviews for "Farmer,_Gene" sorted by average review score:

The Man Who Created Paradise
Published in Hardcover by Ohio Univ Pr (Trd) (2001)
Authors: Gene Logsdon, Gregory Spaid, and Wendell Berry
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One Empire's Spoils Is Another's Paradise of Spirit
Gene, I can't wait to meet you. And seriously, I'd better not wait any longer. I've known the country you describe. Comforting.

"Paradise" is no fable of spirit. It is inspirational and healing. No doubt you have met my father or at least aspects of a Walter, born in '26, tied to the farm no matter his circumstances. He farmed with a dozer and rather well at times. I write you here to tell the reclaimation of spirit and family. At 75 now he has built his planting 'rig' and is on top of the world with satisfaction.

We've always got along fantastic, he and I, but apart; deeply apart. I am determined now, to learn that dozer, that crane, that rig, to make a paradise from paradise lost. Hear the walls fall, the walls I put up, the walls I push away with his "Alice".

You and your generation are the "optomists supreme", practical and pragmatic to perfection. Cheeers!

El Campo (Discover)
Published in Paperback by Barrons Juveniles (1987)
Authors: Maria Rius, Josep Ma Parramon, and Jose Maria Parramon
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I found this book at an interesting time. My husband and I had just finished the PBS series, "The Farmer's Wife", which was the story of small family farmers trying to make it in an Agribusiness World. It was particularily interesting that the farming couple were so strapped for cash that they couldn't work their own farms, but had to take off-farms jobs such as factory work and house cleaning. They didn't even have a chance to plant and harvest a home vegetable garden for their own needs! The sense I got from watching this show was that someting was Terribly Wrong! In his book, The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon tells his readers just what is wrong with the situation farmers and farms find themselves in today...horrendously expensive equipment, monoculture and an endless cycle of huge bank loans and crop failures, which lead to more loans. This book was also a refreshing look at small self-sufficient farming and I found myself inspired to be satisfied with our small operation and to always WANT to keep it small!

Very, Very Good! A classic!
The Contrary Farmer is very informative about small scale farming. Logsdon has many creative and interesting ideas. The book interlaces information with good stories and philosophizing. It is often rather humorous. Overall, it is perhaps one of the most enjoyable farming books on the market, if not THE most enjoyable. This is true whether you farm or whether you are only interested in farming. Very highly recomended!

My favorite of all my small farm books.
This wonderful book is almost written as though the author is talking to a new young neighbor farmer, sharing his wise, hard learned experiences and reasons behind his cottage farm techiques. As a city boy myself (although nearly 50 now), I read this book with the excitement of a much younger man hanging onto every word from the authors mouth. I purchased this book along with nearly a dozen others on small farms, homesteading, chickens and such. This book is my favorite of all of them. The other books are just that, books, but The Contrary Farmer was like having grampa talking to you personally, giving direction, perspective and guidance in plain talk that instills his love for the cottage farm. Although this book taught me much about livestock, crops and machinery, the book left me with much more. I regret that the book has an end.

I am planning to buy 10 acres for a cottage farm as I sort out how I will spend the rest of my life. I have no answers yet, but I will leave The Contrary Farmer on the lamp table instead of placing it in the bookshelf with the other 'books'.

Published in VHS Tape by Columbia/Tristar Studios (28 December, 1999)
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Useful information buried in a compost heap of poor writing.
I had previously read and enjoyed (I think) two of Logsdon's earlier books, At Nature's Pace and The Contrary Farmer, but I was barely able to get through this more recent contribution. Logsdon is clearly knowledgeable about a wide range of small farming and gardening practices. There is much useful information in this book, particularly on mulching garden beds, growing small grains, and using chickens in movable cages for fertilization and insect control. However, acquiring this information, which is also available elsewhere, is a painful experience. On almost every page the defects in Logsdon's writing and thinking stand out. He makes absurd generalizations and broad pronouncements, on all sorts of topics, based on what is clearly cursory, limited understanding of the subjects. A fine example of the latter is to be found in the last two pages of the book, where he discusses the evolution of monarch and viceroy butterflies, and the mimicry of the former by the latter. His reasoning in the course of making arguments is often nearly incomprehensible, and time after time made me shake my head in disbelief. One example (p. 126): "I do not believe in letting nature take its course all the time. In a world where one ethnic group of Rwandans hacked a million of another ethnic group to death with machetes recently, I don't have the time nor the luxury to debate whether I should kill a feral cat that is endangering a rare species of songbird. To make the point clearly [!], if I were a judge, I could sentence a vicious human criminal to death under the law--with fewer qualms than I feel when killing a poor dumb pest animal, which is merely the victim of a situation that is as much my fault, as a human, as the animal's fault. But in either case I would act, not lie down passively and let someone else make the decision. If this sounds unconscionably brutal to you, try arguing the passive-resistance viewpoint with a brood of termites under or house or a panther eying up your child." I just can't follow this. Other, shorter instances abound, as Logsdon draws from his misunderstanding and fractional knowledge of history, ecology, evolutionary biology, and other areas to offer up his opinions on government, economics, sociology, religion, and so on. His writing is also marred by pointless and foolish parenthetical asides, and corniness, as when in the space of three pages in the last chapter he refers six times to his wife as "my lovely" (e.g., "My lovely found what appeared..."). Other readers seem to enjoy Logsdon's self-proclaimed stance as "the contrary farmer," and I am certainly on the same side as he in the struggle against destructive agribusiness and the global hegemony of ruthless corporations, but (obviously) I cannot recommend this book, which is poorly written and seems not to have had the attention of an editor.

More inspirational than practical
This is the second book of Logsdon's that I have read, and I intend to read the rest of them. In many ways, he reminds me of the old farmers who would sit around the barber shop when I was kid. Mr. Logsdon has opinions on just about everything, and isn't afraid to express them. One gets the distinct impression that he really won't be too bothered by whether his readers are persuaded by his opinions or not.

Amidst his (admittedly spot on) diatribes about industrial farming, government meddling, and modern day prohibitionists he does manage to paint a lovely picture of the garden as the embodiment of the urge to simplicity and living close to the land. Further, he makes it clear that the reader can start whereever they already are, even if it means growing a few plants in a window box.

There is plenty of practical advice, but it is delivered anecdotally. There aren't any pictures or diagrams, but he describes his compost heated seed starting bed so well that one doesn't need a diagram. Likewise for what he calls mulch-bed gardening (basically lasagna gardening). The topics covered include the reason for gardening, vegetable gardening, small scale livestock husbandry (read: pet chickens, at least until they quit laying and end up in the stew pot), and aquatic gardening (ponds and such).

The key thing to keep in mind is that this book is an invitation to gardening, and not a primer or a manual. If you are looking for a how-to guide, this isn't your best book. If you are wondering whether you might enjoy gardening, or if you are already a gardener and you need something to do between the first frost and the last frost, this is an excellent read.

Good reading and inspirational
While this book is has plenty of good information in it, I think its real value is to provide a peek into life in the country. His practical view of life can be applied to all walks of life

The CISSP Prep Guide: Mastering the Ten Domains of Computer Security
Published in Hardcover by John Wiley & Sons (24 August, 2001)
Authors: Ronald L. Krutz, Russell Dean Vines, and Edward M. Stroz
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Farmers, Gene Banks and Crop Breeding: Economic Analyses of Diversity in Wheat, Maize, and Rice (Natural Resource Management and Policy)
Published in Hardcover by Kluwer Academic Publishers (1998)
Authors: Melinda Smale and Kluwer Academic Publishers
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Good Farmers: Traditional Agricultural Resource Management in Mexico and Central America
Published in Paperback by University of California Press (1990)
Author: Gene C. Wilken
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Good Farmers: Traditional Agriculture and Resource Management in Mexico and Central America
Published in Hardcover by University of California Press (1987)
Author: Gene C. Wilken
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The Last Days of a Farmer: A Personal Account
Published in Hardcover by North Point Press (1991)
Author: Gene Logsdon
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Published in Paperback by Ohio Univ Pr (Trd) (1998)
Authors: Charles Allen Smart and Gene Logsdon
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