The antebellum era and the close of the 19th century frame a period of great agricultural expansion. During this time, farmhouse plans designed by rural men and women regularly appeared in the flourishing Northern farm journals. This book analyzes these vital indicators of the work patterns, social interactions, and cultural values of the farm families of the time.
Examining several hundred owner-designed plans, McMurry shows the ingenious ways in which "progressive" rural Americans designed farmhouses in keeping with their visions of a dynamic, reformed rural culture. From designs for efficient work spaces to a concern for self-contained rooms for adolescent children, this fascinating story of the evolution of progressive farmers' homes sheds new light on rural America's efforts to adapt to major changes brought by industrialization, urbanization, the consolidation of capitalist agriculture, and the rise of the consumer society.
"A major contribution to the growing literature on the Victorian-era American countryside." (Bernard L. Herman, Winterthur Portfolio)
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Interesting Look at the Evolution of Housing
Yes, I would consider the audio edition better than the print version. Why? Because I never would have learned that it existed otherwise.
No, I haven't. She's a fine narrator with a pleasant voice and good cadence and pacing.
"Moved" is a strong word for a scholarly book, which is what this is. It interested me in places, but I can't say that it moved me.
This book reminded me of The Reshaping of Everyday Life by Jack Larkin because it dealt with the reality of day to day living spaces in American history in a similarly fascinating manner.
The beginning is rather dry. Persist through that and you'll find some fascinating insights into relatively unexamined territory.
The American Farmhouse and American Society
This was a fascinating audiobook, if for no other reason than its unique and interesting content.
Having grown up in the Midwest (i.e. Northeastern Ohio), I was "hooked" before I finished book's intro. This book also reinforced a belief I have about people: that civilization is merely a physical manifestation of mankind's attempt to manage their circumstances and environments in a manner that produces the greatest comfort and convenience for the people involved. Circumstances and environments may change, but people's desire for comfort and convenience remains constant. And so, the farmhouses discussed in this audiobook are an account of the way Americans of the 18th century and beyond attempted to satisfy this desire.
The only reason I gave this audiobook 4 instead of 5 stars was because I thought the author placed too much emphasis on the plight of women on the farms. Although I appreciated hearing about the experiences of these women, it seemed to me to be a bit much-that the author was biased in this area.
But aside from that, I found it to be an interesting audiobook.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.