R.F.D.: Charles Allen Smart
by Charles Allen Smart
contributions by Gene Logsdon
Ohio University Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-8214-1254-1
Library of Congress Classification S521.5.O3S535 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 630.977182

“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.” RFD 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. Charles Allen Smart was a New York novelist and prep-school teacher when he inherited his aunt’s farm in Chillicothe, Ohio. He and his wife moved into a rustic stone farmhouse, determined to combine their lives as working farmers with their active intellectual life, love of art, and political progressivism. They upset some in their small town by staging parts of Clifford Odets’s play Waiting for Lefty, but they won respect for their hard work and honest dealings. Smart conveys the feel of their lives at a time when living in the country was a meaningful distinction in America. He also writes movingly of his concerns regarding America’s materialism, the rise of industrial agriculture, burgeoning chain stores, and frayed communities. Told with sensitivity, gusto, and a fierce honesty, RFD became a classic because embedded in its charms as a first-rate farm memoir is the universal story of one couple’s earnest, joyful attempt to live meaningful lives.Ohio University Press is especially pleased to reissue this midwestern classic with a new foreword by noted farm writer Gene Logsdon.

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