Plains Farmer

The Diary of William G. DeLoach, 1914-1964

Edited by Janet M. Neugebauer

Illustrated by Charles Shaw

978-1-58544-044-3 Paperback
7 x 10. 400 pp. 35 b&w drawings., 1 map.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
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1992 Publication Award, presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society
Gathering eggs, planting crops, feeding hogs: firsthand experience of these grows more distant with each new generation. From 1914 to 1964, however, a West Texas farmer named William G. DeLoach quietly recorded this life-style. He described weather, plantings, harvests, births, and deaths in his diary. In doing so, he not only chronicled the life changes that everyone experiences but also kept a record of the developments taking place across the country and around the world.

The diary's editor, Janet Neugebauer, supplies interweaves explanations to round out the picture that DeLoach offers in his personal descriptions. Her history is a book unto itself that gives the context of the farming experience on the Great Plains. She explains the frustration farmers felt from overproduction, the price-cost squeeze, the exodus of young people into the cities, and the increasingly strong role the government played in what was shifting from a family's way of life to a corporate industry. Graceful and accurately detailed sketches by Charles Shaw provide the visual backdrop for DeLoach's story.

This work provides an overview of fifty years of national and international history as well as an intimate account of the life of an ordinary man in a changing world. Few farmers had time or inclination to keep a record of their day-to-day lives, but William DeLoach's perseverance has left us with a rich history of one family's triumphs and failures during half a century. For anyone who ever lived on a farm or visited relatives' farms, as well as for those interested in this aspect of our national history, this book will prove a real treasure.

Clayton Wheat Williams Texas Life Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press