National Book Critics Circle Award Nonfiction Finalist, 1999

Amid the turmoil after her father’s death – family decision to be made, the future of their farm to be settled – Jane Brox begins a search for her family’s story. The search soon leads her to the fascinating and quintessentially American history of New England’s Merrimack Valley, its farmers, and the immigrant workers caught up in the industrial textile age.

At the center of Brox’s journey through family history is a poignant question: How can her own family identity – language, food, a grandfather’s wish for “five thousand days like this one” – be recovered when so few traces of former lives are left? When FIVE THOUSAND DAYS LIKE THIS ONE returns to the present, along with decision on how the orchards and farm stand will or won’t change, the author must make her own discoveries about those aspects of family identity she can cherish and those she must let go.


Jane Brox is the author of three other books: BRILLIANT: The Evolution of Artificial Light; CLEARING LAND: Legacies of the American Farm; 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.