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Reviews

"An engaging study... For upcountry southern women, the years 1919-1941 were indicative of the economic, political, and social chaos existing throughout segregated America... Walker capably demonstrates how families were forced by the limitations of race and class to choose situations that provided little or no real opportunity, but she also brilliantly illustrates how some rural people were able to adapt to change."

"Voices of ordinary women who experienced extraordinary changes resonate in Melissa Walker's incisive study of twentieth-century transformations of southern agricultural communities."

"Melissa Walker has done an admirable job of mining oral interviews, TVA records, letters, diaries, and farming magazines to piece together the story of how women contributed to the family income... Walker deftly negotiates the intersection of race, class, and gender."

"Walker shows how women adapted to rapid change with courage, strength, creativity, and persistence... Walker's fine regional study will be useful to historians of women, the South, Appalachia, rural life, and labor issues. A valuable addition to the growing number of works on women in the early-twentieth-century South."

"Historian Melissa Walker provides an account of changes in women's labor practices and economic activity in the upcountry South during the inter-war years... Readable, credible, and well-researched."

"The theme of the study is to show how the status of farm women changes from 1919-1941 in a period of economic crisis. Changing from a region of subsistence farming to one of commercial farming and interference by government action during the depression and New Deal years, women learned to cope... [Walker's] descriptions of rural ways and beliefs are true to form."

"Walker does a particularly good job of emphasizing the ambivalence that upcountry farm women felt about leaving the farms... All We Knew Was to Farm makes an extremely important contribution to rural literature by gendering the transformation of the upland South."

"Walker provides a much needed account of the South that should be of interest to all those who study the twentieth century."

"Walker's thoroughly researched study of upcountry farm women in the interwar era does for women of this region of the South what Mary Neth's Preserving the Family Farm does for midwestern farm women, meticulously recounting their experience as they cope with economic depression, the increasing influence in their lives of the federal government and urban institutions, and the beginnings of modern agribusiness. Her careful consideration of race and class moves us a step closer to dismantling the myth of Appalachian homogeneity. Her sources are appropriate, and her use of oral history material is particularly skillful."