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Born in the Country

, 304 pages

10 b&w photos

August 2017



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Born in the Country

A History of Rural America

third edition


Throughout most of its history, America has been a rural nation, largely made up of farmers. David B. Danbom’s Born in the Country was the first—and still is the only—general history of rural America. Ranging from pre-Columbian times to the enormous changes of the twentieth century, the book masterfully integrates agricultural, technological, and economic themes with new questions about the American experience.

Danbom employs the stories of particular farm families to illustrate the experiences of rural people. This substantially revised and updated third edition

• expands and deepens its coverage of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries• focuses on the changes in agriculture and rural life in the progressive and New Deal eras as well as the massive shifts that have taken place since 1945• adds new information about African American and Native American agricultural experiences• discusses the decline of agriculture as a productive enterprise and its impact on farm families and communities• explores rural culture, gender issues, agriculture, and the environment• traces the relationship among farmers, agribusiness, and consumers

In a new and provocative concluding chapter, Danbom reflects on increasing consumer disenchantment with and resistance to modern agriculture as well as the transformation of rural America into a place where farmers are a shrinking minority. Ultimately, he asks whether a distinctive style of rural life exists any longer.

David B. Danbom is professor emeritus of history at North Dakota State University. He is the author of Sod Busting: How Families Made Farms on the Nineteenth-Century Plains and the editor of Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West.

"A delightful story tracing the social history of U.S. farmers. The book details the attitudes and social life of farm people—how they looked at themselves and how the rest of society saw them."

"An extremely well-written narrative that presents its information accurately. Danbom's book can well serve the classroom teacher and general reader."

"A highly readable and useful survey."

"An accessible text for general scholarship and undergraduate courses."

"A balanced economic, social, political, and technological history of rural America. [ Born in the Country] is a splendid book, rich with detail and complex in argument. A superb introduction to American history."

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