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The Farm: The Story of One Family and the English Countryside

The Farm: The Story of One Family and the English Countryside [Kindle Edition]

Richard Benson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

A moving portrait of one family on the cusp of rural change. Benson writes with emotion, but without sentimentality.

Product Description

When Richard Benson was growing up he felt like 'the village idiot with O'levels' - glowing school reports aren't much help when you're trying to help a sow give birth, or drive a power harrow in a straight line without getting half the hedgerow stuck in the tines. He left Yorkshire to work as a journalist in London, but returned when his dad called with the news that they were going to have to sell the family farm, and, in so doing, leave the home and livelihood that the Bensons had worked for generations. This is not only a moving personal account, but also one that reflects a profound change in rural life.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 910 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (19 Jan 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9Z4U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,479 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We all loved it 29 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I loved this book, my sister loved this book and then my best friend loved this book. We all live in Yorkshire, none of us can afford to live in the countryside we grew up in and we know several stressed-out farmers. This is a really touching story with two themes: first, how a child of a farming family tries to work out where he fits in when he lacks farming skills, and second, how changes in the rural economy affect the people who have made their living there for many years.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy to read "Pageturner" 18 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written book and finished it within 2 days. Despite having no farming background myself I identified with the characters and it evoked my emotions making me laugh, cry and most importantly - think. It is a valuable insight into the way of life for many people in Britain over the last few decades. It successfully manages to present both sides of the arguments in favour of modernisation and progression as opposed to retaining a centuries old way of life with profits going to Hard-working British people rather than large companies. As a vegan, pro-organic, anti-GM, "afraid of the power of large supermarkets" consumer it helped my understanding greatly. When the European arguments about CAP etc continue I will be able to listen with a broader knowledge. One of the books I hope Tony has been given for bed-time reading!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Affectionate and witty tale of country life 28 Jan 2006
By A Customer
The author grew up on a small farm in the Yorkshire Wolds then moved away to become a journalist in London. But his family and their farm still exert a powerful pull on his emotions, especially since changing agricultural practices and globalization resulted in such upheaval that they had to sell their home and change their lives.
My childhood was spent in a farming area and I lived in Yorkshire for several years and I thought this book was 'spot on'. The countryside is vividly described and the wry Yorkshire characters' economic way with words only heightens the emotional impact. I loved the details such as his mum Pauline's idea of the 'swearing zone' whereby no-one was allowed to swear in the house but the further away you got the more the rules were relaxed.
A warm-hearted and delightful read.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving but funny too! 3 Jun 2005
I live in a city (London) and I don't know the country very well. I have never been on a farm in my life! But I still enjoyed this wonderful book, which tells the story of a man who left his parents' farm to seek his destiny in the city. He only left because he was useless at farm work, though. You want to weep for the author for being so inept! This book will strike a chord with anyone who grew up in a family with talents different than their parents', and who didn't quite fit in with their family.
It also really opened my eyes to the plight of farmers. The general perception is that they are all heavily subsidised by the government, but Benson's book showed that small farms have it tough. His parents are pig farmers who ended up having to sell their farm because it wasn't economically viable. The story is told without sentimentality, and is hilariously funny in parts. You really feel as if you know each character in the end. I was sorry to put the book down, and feel I have learned a lot about farms while enjoying every lesson. I thoroughly recommend this book to all!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Farm 5 Mar 2006
This is a great book. A funny, tragic, human story of life in the UK. An eyeopener if you're unaware of the troubles of the farming community, an affirmation if you are. A good friend of mine commited suicide a while back, he was a sheep farmer and died in his mid twenties. This book helped me understand the stresses he'd been under, but also reminded me of all the joy in his life and the happines he'd brought to others. If you only read one book this year, make sure it's this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Club choice 29 July 2010
I had to read this for the reading group I've recently joined.
Despite the author's warm, easy writing style, it took me a while to get into this memoir of life growing up on a farm. There were some interesting observations about rural life - the sort of detail you only can write about if you've been in the thick of it. But ultimately I think I'd have prefered a fictionalised account of the subject matter or a more heavyweight history book about of the decline of British agriculture. Of course that's not the fault of this book! A good choice for a book club though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Tragedy 9 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
A Richard and Judy pick for 2006, this superb little book tells the story of what has happened to British farming in the period when we've all had our heads in the supermarket sand. In two words - big business.

Remember those weirdly shaped vegetables we used to see on Esther Rantzen's That's Life? You won't see them any more because they were naturally grown. Nowadays everything is uniform in the hands of large-scale farmers and the small farms that used to produce vegetable anomalies are dying out at a rapid rate. Richard Benson's book tells the story of farming from the 1960s to the modern day through the medium of one small family farm in the Yorkshire Wolds. Small farms prospered in the 1970s, but with the advent of Margaret Thatcher's government locally grown produce was gradually replaced with large business conglomerates that saw the madness of profit accelerate out of control. It is surely crazy that we buy potatoes from Poland while an English farmer's own crops are ploughed back into the land because they don't have the right shape?

This is not just the story of the failure of the small British farm, however, it is the story of the Benson family and the characters are real people. Guy, who stayed on the farm, Richard who left it for university and a job in publishing, Helen who dreamed of opening a donkey sanctuary, and their parents, for whom life on the land is changed gradually, but inevitably as they have to, finally, sell up. The story is full of wry humour as well as a terrible sadness - suicides succumbing to the aching loneliness of failure, the struggle to keep going against the odds, the terror when foot and mouth threatens their borders. It is a genuinely heart-breaking read, but is touched by the love of country life of many of these people, who know the land they live in has its own hard-wrought consolation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An enjoyable read.
Published 3 days ago by Mr. B. L. Dowling
5.0 out of 5 stars superb
fabulous book, I do remember the family though and live in the area
Published 5 days ago by music lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically refreshing
Great read, I laughed and cried and rediscovered the country girl in me ......Will be recommending to all I know
Published 3 months ago by Jackie stones
5.0 out of 5 stars The Farm
Bought this years ago, but revisited it on my kindle. Grew up in the area and went to school with Richard, or "Benny" as he was known then. Read more
Published 5 months ago by peeej47
5.0 out of 5 stars The Farm
Bought this book as a present for Mothers Day there is quite a bit of swearing in it but enjoyed it
Published 16 months ago by A Green
5.0 out of 5 stars A Country Boy
This is the story of a boy born in the country, living on a farm in a village in the Yorkshire Wolds, he lives with his mother, father and brother, and we go through his happy... Read more
Published on 25 Feb 2012 by walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story!!
I think this is one of the best stories I have read in a long time. I think it explains really well the struggle people who work on the land have to endure and the choices they... Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by S. Butterworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Nah then ...
They even found a Performer from Yorkshire - lad by name o' Richard Stacey - does a reet good job too...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by EllaGuru
3.0 out of 5 stars Oo-aar! 3 star!
Some bloke grows up on a farm, doesn't really fit in, leaves home and buggers off to London, bottom falls out of farming industry, family lose farm, he returns home to help and in... Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2009 by H. Morris
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I read all the reviews on this book and as a result was very excited at the prospect of reading it. I realise it's obviously a big hit with most people and so I'm the one who is... Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2008 by Mad About Books
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