An American Homeplace
Book: An American Homeplace , by Donald McCaig, ISBN10: 0813917751, ISBN13: 9780813917757, University of Virginia Press, November 1997, Paperback
Donald McCaig is a regular commentator on NPR's All Things Considered and the author of Nop's Trials, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men, and the forthcoming novel Jacob's Ladder. He and his wife, Anne, operate a sheep farm in the mountains of western Virginia.
In the tradition of Wendell Berry and John McPhee, Donald McCaig wites with a powerful sense of place, and of history of Virginia's Highland County, in An American Homeplace. On the fast track in the New York advertising world, McCaig gave it all up to move to a ramshackle farm in Virginia's upper Cowpasture River Valley.
Enhanced by the author's evident love for his land and for the stories it has to tell, An American Homeplace is an inviting combination of personal memoir and narrative history.
In 1971 McCaig ( Nop's Trials ) and his wife left New York City for an abandoned farm in sparsely populated southwestern Virginia. Here he offers an engaging account of his tenure there in an atmosphere not far removed from that of a century ago, as he traces the land's history through its previous owners and mourns the passing of the family farm. Affectionately describing his working dogs, farm animals and wildlife, he gives the grim details of putting down more than 100 diseased sheep at one time. He tells about the local volunteer fire department, explains his duties as precinct captain on Election Day (68 voters) and takes us to the county fair, ``the best four days in Highland County.'' Seeking encouragement in farming, McCaig turns to some notable writerly land stewards--Helen Nearing, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Maury Telleen. Readers who enjoy Noel Perrin's works will applaud this book too. (Aug.)
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