A Best Book of the Year: The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jane Brox twines two narratives, personal and historic, to explore the place of the family farm as it has evolved from the Pilgrims’ brutal progress at Plymouth to the modern world, where much of our food is produced by industrial agriculture while the family farm is both marginalized and romanticized. In considering the place of the farm Brox traces the transformation of the idea of wilderness – and its intricate connection to cultivation – which changed as our ties to the land loosened. Exploring these strands with neither judgment or sentimentality, Brox arrives at something beyond a biography of the farm: a vivid depiction of the half-life it carries on in our collective imagination.


Jane Brox is the author of three other books: BRILLIANT: The Evolution of Artificial Light; FIVE THOUSAND DAYS LIKE THIS ONE, a 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in nonfiction; and HERE AND NOWHERE ELSE, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She has been awarded grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Maine Arts Commission. Jane Brox has taught at Harvard University and Bowdoin College and is currently on the nonfiction faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She lives in Brunswick, Maine.