America’s Love of the Land: An Introduction
The need for a volume of historical writing that presents, side by side, the worlds of agriculture and conservation has long been unmet. What efforts have been towards this worthwhile goal, including, most notably, Randall S. Beeman’s and James A. Pritchard’s recent A Green and Permanent Land: Ecology and Agriculture in the Twentieth Century, have made an invaluable, though belated, contribution. And yet even a book as useful as that has its limitations—bound principally to the years 1930 to 1990 and unable to give extended, interrupted space to writers of the era. In search of a detailed and truly comprehensive history of land use in America, one has, up until now, been forced to take an exclusively disciplinary route, reading well and widely in environmental history, on the one hand, and agricultural history, on the other—hashing out the differences on one’s own. In changing this status quo, Love of the Land: Essential Farm and Conservation Readings from an American Golden Age, 1880–1920 aims to be of service.