From an author who “makes empty places full and a reader’s imagination soar” (Washington Post) comes a book that masterfully reveals the heart of rural America.
In these eloquent essays, Paul Gruchow meditates on living with the land and reinvigorating the values of community. Combining personal reflection and memoir with a powerful look at the state of our rural towns and people, Gruchow postulates a society in which our lives are more than commodities and our land is more than an extension of our industries.
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Praise and Prizes
“Paul Gruchow paints poignant pictures of rural life before corporate agribusiness dominated landscape. . . . He addresses [these problems] as only Gruchow can: personally, poetically and with a warm fire in his belly. . . . I devoured Grass Roots with huge enjoyment and a few tears.”
“A welcome addition . . . Paul Gruchow’s vision, like that of Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, is a corrective to the notion that increased agricultural efficiency and productivity is a sure sign of prosperity. . . . The effect of the essays in Grass Roots is cumulative and powerful.”
“Paul Gruchow, who grew up on a Minnesota tenant farm, writes thoughtful, graceful essays on country life, changes in our national culture, the environment, and the many facets of our relationship with nature. He is clear-eyed, quietly eloquent, and very much worth reading.”
“Sublime nostalgia . . . Images and lessons from Paul Gruchow’s childhood are examined in frank and sometimes elegiac prose . . . pulling us into his treasured experiences.”
“One of the nation’s best essayists . . . The fulcrum of the collection is Paul Gruchow’s fascinating account of the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness, the sea change in American agriculture that’s taken place in the last 50 years . . . . Like a good cup of coffee—make that a double shot of espresso—Gruchow is both sobering and exhilarating.”
“One of America’s best essayists talks about his ideas and his life with charm and broody humor. Like George Orwell and Lewis Thomas, Paul Gruchow has the genuine intellectual’s respect for the tiny facts about us. The best combination of personal story and clear ideas in a long time.”
“Paul Gruchow wants to needle us to trust nature, doubt power, and look closer. He reminds us sharply of the failure of our received ideas about money, progress, our own home, and speaks to us in a voice of praise and mystery, full of precise fact, dry humor, and old song.”