Printer Friendly

Tree, Why Do You Wait?

Some people walk in their sleep, but the author of this book seems to be sleepwriting. The author has sandwiched interesting and well-written accounts of two midwestern towns between two long, gloomy chapters about the demise of America's rural values.

Critchfield's main argument is simple and simplistic: The "kind of urban culture we have in America is going to depend on how many Americans farm." He attempts to prove his thesis by selecting the people from a present farming community and a former farming community to speak for themselves.

Their words give the book the authentic sound of the grain belt, but Critchfield refuses to let the real story come through.

We've always known that every solution brings new problems. But Critchfield can take no comfort in the fact that since World War II crops grown by two farmers can feed 50 people instead of a pre-war three, that people live longer and healthier, and that the death toll in wars is the lowest it's been since the Renaissance.

Today's farming, Critchfield says, extracts a big environmental price. It can "compact the soil, reduce organic matter, and endanger wildlife when plowing." All true, but also true yesterday. Anyone who has walked in the southern forests has climbed in and out of old erosion gullies five to 10 feet deep where farmers between 1800 and 1950 inflicted environmental damage that makes today's farmers look like saints.

Critchfield cannot shut out hope entirely. Many of the people he interviewed believe much more strongly than he does in the power of American imagination and our science and technology. It could save us, Critchfield allows, but "such hopes lie in the distant future." That is true only because people who have swallowed Critchfield's bitter pill have slumbered through America's economic restructuring of the 1980s and will continue to sleep through the present revolution in managing natural resources.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Forests
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Kaufman, Wallace
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:313
Previous Article:Beyond the Beauty Strip.
Next Article:Tree "teen"acity.
Topics:


Related Articles
Pickin' seed; you have to be a little squirrelly to do this, but it's the first step in ensuring the genetic superiority of the trees of the 21st...
Life imitates art.
JUDGE WON'T DELAY DAM TREE REMOVAL.
DESTRUCTIVE WINDS BEFALL TREES : CITY'S TRIMMERS SENT SCRAMBLING.
'JUST PLAIN MEAN' VANDALS FELL TREES AT SCHOOLS.
ROOTED IN CONTROVERSY OLD GLORY MAY NOT BE MOVED UNTIL WINTER.
OAK HELPS GUARD GRAB AMERICAN DREAM.
Burke, Jim. Tools for thought; graphic organizers for your classroom.
BRANCH MANAGEMENT WITH PROPER TIMING AND A LITTLE KNOW-HOW, YOU CAN KEEP YOUR TREES FIT AND TRIMMED.
Barron, T.A. Shadow on the stars.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters