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Pleasant Valley

Introduction by Gene Logsdon

Forthcoming, Regional Interest

DescriptionBromfield’s personal account of life and environmental practice at his Malabar Farm

Both memoir and environmental commentary, this unique and classic work by Louis Bromfield engages and educates us as he demonstrates the importance of sustainable agriculture practices—not only for restoring the land but for restoring the home of the people who live there.

“Written years before celebrated authors like Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver popularized agriculture writing, Pleasant Valley . . . unveils the romantic qualities of farm labor, without romanticizing it. It celebrates hard work, without being patronizing. It makes you want to get dirt under your nails. Pleasant Valley is charmingly nostalgic, yet offers environmental commentary that is timely and urgent. Bromfield’s writing will appeal to lovers of regional writing, unconventional memoirs, and mid-century modernity in literature. Most of all, it is a book to read when you miss home, whatever and wherever that may be.”

Public Books

“Many of the practices Bromfield embraced are now central to the burgeoning global movements of regenerative and conservation agriculture, which aim to maintain crop yields and farm profits while enhancing soil fertility and cutting environmental impacts. Innovative farmers combine traditional practices, such as planting cover crops and rotation, with more modern developments, such as no-till farming, to build fertile soil and reduce reliance on diesel, fertilizers and pesticides (while saving money). Bromfield’s story is an inspirational glimpse into the roots of these growing movements.”

Nature

“I read Pleasant Valley and The Farm more than forty years ago, and I am still grateful for the confirmation and encouragements I received from those books. At a time when farming, as a vocation and an art, was going out of favor, Louis Bromfield was a writer who genuinely and unabashedly loved it. He was not one of those bad pastoral writers whose love for farming is distant, sentimental, and condescending. Bromfield clearly had loved it familiarly and in detail. He loved the work and the people who did it well.”

—Wendell Berry

Author
Louis Bromfield
(1896–1956), a Pulitzer Prize–winning author from Mansfield, Ohio, studied agriculture at Cornell University before transferring to Columbia University to study journalism. As a member of the American Field Service covering World War I in Senlis, France, he lived in Europe and Asia for 14 years and wrote often; however, it wasn’t until moving back to Ohio that Bromfield’s literary career began to thrive. In 1927, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Early Autumn. In 1939, Bromfield purchased Malabar Farm, located near his hometown, which was his inspiration for writing Pleasant Valley, Malabar Farm, Out of the Earth, and From My Experience. The farm became an Ohio state park in 1976 and continues to promote sustainable agriculture and the importance of soil conversation.