Adrian Bell (1901-1980) was born in Lancashire and grew up in London but wished for a life in the open air. In 1920 he apprenticed himself to a West Suffolk farmer, an experience that would inspire him to farm on his own. His celebrated trilogy Corduroy (1930), Silver Ley (1931) and The Cherry Tree (1932) grew out of that same raw material, and Corduroy (reissued here with an introduction by his son, the journalist Martin Bell) remains his most admired work.
'There is a vitality and freshness of manner about this modern pastoral which carries one easily along through a pleasant maze of turnips, mangolds, and the yearly routine of a Suffolk farm. As the seasons change and the crops come and go, the green young apprentice is gradually initiated into the mysteries of coaxing a hazardous living from the soil.' Spectator