R. F. D.: Charles Allen Smart (Paperback)
“This book,” the author tells us in his preface, “is intended to be a picture of life on a farm in Southern Ohio in the 1930s.” It is a faithful portrait of farm life as thousands of men and women experienced it from one end of the country to the other and from pioneering times to the present century.
Originally published in 1938 to enthusiastic reviews and commercial success, RFD is the story of one couple’s trials with leaving the comforts of city life for a chance to get back to the land.
From his farm near Chillicothe, Ohio, Charles Allen Smart gives a realistic rendering of what it meant to farm in the 1930s. It is part of the book’s intrinsic honesty that it could not be as good as Walden. Thoreau had worked out a philosophy that suited him and that he was ready to recommend to others. Mr. Smart had no prescription for the general ailments, beyond a belief that creating things is important and that owning, buying, and selling things are unimportant.
What he tells us throughout this unusual book is that for him life on this particular farm, in this particular house, with this particular set-up of friends, neighbors, dogs, sheep, hens, cattle, trees, corn, vegetables, grass, and weather, costs less in human values than life in New York City—or in Chillicothe.
Ohio University Press is especially pleased to reissue this midwestern classic with a new foreword by noted farm writer Gene Logsdon.
Charles Allen Smart, born in Cleveland in 1904, was raised on the East Coast and died in his adopted home near Chillicothe in 1967.
“This is a wonderful book. It is delightful. Smart comes across as so honest and passionate. He would have been a wonderful neighbor. I could have learned from him.” —David Kline, author of Scratching the Woodchuck: Nature on an Amish Farm
“What a welcome resurrection! Here is a voice from the 1930s that speaks to the dilemmas were certain to face in the next century. His mind moves easily between farming and philosophizing, between strategies for the survival of households during the Great Depression and strategies for the renewal of our ailing civilization. I would have walked a long way to meet this man. I’m glad to have his book.”—Scott Russell Sanders