Danbom employs the stories of particular farm families to illustrate the experiences of rural people. This substantially revised and updated third edition
• expands and deepens its coverage of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries• focuses on the changes in agriculture and rural life in the progressive and New Deal eras as well as the massive shifts that have taken place since 1945• adds new information about African American and Native American agricultural experiences• discusses the decline of agriculture as a productive enterprise and its impact on farm families and communities• explores rural culture, gender issues, agriculture, and the environment• traces the relationship among farmers, agribusiness, and consumers
In a new and provocative concluding chapter, Danbom reflects on increasing consumer disenchantment with and resistance to modern agriculture as well as the transformation of rural America into a place where farmers are a shrinking minority. Ultimately, he asks whether a distinctive style of rural life exists any longer.
Fite traces the decline and departure of King Cotton as the hard taskmaster of the region, and the replacement of cotton by a somewhat more democratically rewarding group of farm products: poultry, cattle, swine; soybeans; citrus and other fruits; vegetables; rice; dairy products; and forest products. He shows how such crop changes were related to other developments, such as the rise of a capital base in the South, mainly after World War II; technological innovation in farming equipment; and urbanization and regional population shifts.
Based largely upon primary sources, Cotton Fields No More will become the standard work on post-Civil War agriculture in the South. It will be welcomed by students of the American South and of United States agriculture, economic, and social history.