Heralding the seventy-fifth anniversary of the influential agrarian anthology ""I'll Take My Stand"", Zachary M. Jack has assembled North America's foremost contemporary writers on the present rural experience to provide their own twenty-first-century insights about life lived close to the land. In the grand tradition of farmer-writers Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, and Andrew Lytle, ""Black Earth and Ivory Tower: New American Essays from Farm and Classroom"" gathers the wisdoms of contributors including Victor David Hanson, Michael Martone, Linda Hasselstrom, John Hildebrand, and others. At a time when just two percent of the American population counts itself as farmers, these writers - all of whom have tilled the earth and climbed the ivory tower of academia - underscore the diversity of the American farm and its importance as a wellspring of learning. Gifted teachers called to farm-grounded lives as writers, visual artists, conservation farmers, environmentalists, economists, policymakers, extension agents, and activists offer hard-won inspiration from the field as well as the classroom. Seeking a balanced life that reconciles the hands, heart, and intellect, they travel rural paths to find the agrarian lifestyle at once enlightening and mystifying. Leavened with plainspoken earnestness, these commentaries on modern farming, the simple life movement, and the discontents of modern civilization attest to the endurance of agrarian values and provide a literate record of shifting national priorities. Collectively this testimony and analysis reveal an abiding sense that the United States stands at the same crossroad as it has since its founding: the intersection of Thomas Jefferson's agrarian republic and Alexander Hamilton's capitalistic democracy.
"At its heart, this book is for the students and teachers among us, formal and informal, certifiable and apocryphal. It's for the ag-dedicated high schooler about to walk the stage and move on to Iowa State, Michigan State, or Tennessee Tech as much as it is for the ag-inspired teacher about to graduate into the practical and applied world beyond the classroom. This book is for anyone who ever farmed seriously and everyone who ever seriously wanted to farm." - Zachary M. Jack, from the preface"