By Gene Logsdon
“In The Last of the Husbandmen—as in everything Gene Logsdon writes — wit is the nurse crop to wisdom. With a conclusion as comical as it is hopeful, this latest book is equal parts entertainment and enlightenment—just what we’ve come to expect from Mr. Logsdon.”
Michael Perry, author of Truck: A Love Story
“Gene Logsdon remains as true–to–form in his fiction as he does in his non–fiction.… this book was maybe as valuable a read as any of his books, not for the instruction, but for scope and perspective on a life lived ‘tied down’ to a place.”
The Englewood Review of Books
“One finds humor, hijinx aplenty, and even romance, but it would be a mistake to overlook the serious implications of The Last of the Husbandmen. Aptly subtitled A Novel of Farming Life, the novel at times reads like a narrative of American agriculture in the decades following World War II.”
Rich Tomsu, Rich Gardens Organic Farm
“The Last of the Husbandmen proves quite entertaining, especially for anyone who has ever spent much time on a farm.… (Logsdon) covers many of the issues so important to Ohio farmers during that period, including the consolidation of rural school districts, the competition for shrinking agricultural land, inheritance taxes, overproduction, and even organic agriculture, while never losing the human element in the story.”
Mansfield News Journal
“Nan turned to see Ben’s face
turn as hard and white as a
sauerkraut crock. When he did
not respond, Nan figured that
he was just going to back off
as he usually did, the shy and
retiring husbandman. She did
not know her history. She did
not know that shy and retiring
husbandmen have been known
to revolt against oppression
with pitchforks drawn.”
— The Last of the Husbandmen
In The Last of the Husbandmen, Gene Logsdon looks to his own roots in Ohio farming life to depict the personal triumphs and tragedies, clashes and compromises, and abiding human character of American farming families and communities. From the Great Depression, when farmers tilled the fields with plow horses, to the corporate farms and government subsidy programs of the present, this novel presents the complex transformation of a livelihood and of a way of life.
Two friends, one rich by local standards, and the other of more modest means, grow to manhood in a lifelong contest of will and character. In response to many of the same circumstances—war, love, moonshining, the Klan, weather, the economy—their different approaches and solutions to dealing with their situations put them at odds with each other, but we are left with a deeper understanding of the world that they have inherited and have chosen.
Part morality play and part personal recollection, The Last of the Husbandmen is both a lighthearted look at the past and a profound statement about the present state of farming life. It is also a novel that captures the spirit of those who have chosen to work the land they love.
Gene Logsdon (1931–2016) was the author of more than thirty books and countless magazine articles on agrarian issues including small-scale farming and sustainable living. He is the author of four Swallow Press/Ohio University Press books: All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming, The Man Who Created Paradise: A Fable, Wyeth People, and The Last of the Husbandmen: A Novel of Farming Life.
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