THE publisher characterizes Pleasant Valley as “an appealing and delightful account of this noted writer’s happy experiences as an Ohio farmer.”It is an account of how an expatriated American, who had lived for many years in France, came back to the soil of his native Ohio to find in experimental farming the peace and security that he could not find in a world of depression, of social conflict, and of impending war. While there is a deal of writing here about farming, most of it nostalgic but some of more solid worth, the book is chiefly interesting as a reflection of the man Bromfield — of his social pessimism, his fears and forebodings in an industrial world, his retreat from being “perpetually haunted by the terrible insecurity which a mechanized and industrial civilization imposes upon the individual.”
At Malabar in the rolling hill country of Ohio, Louis Bromfield says, “We took as our model the collective farm as it had worked out in Russia. ... In my role as capitalist or ’the state’ I agreed to put up the money on the adventure exactly as I would invest money in a factory or a business project. I would assure the finances until we came to the point where we turned a profit. From then on I should take the first five per cent as a sound but not exaggerated profit on the investment and as an offset against the Salaries and living expenses of the others. . . .
“I was to share as well in this distribution of the profits above five per cent, my share being based upon the pro rata share of the manager of the enterprise. ... It was recognized that I contributed knowledge not only of agriculture but also of world anil market conditions with which my profession and political and economic interests constantly brought me in touch.”
Mr. Bromfield’s knowledge of agricultural and world conditions, with which his professional, political, and economic interests brought him in touch, is that of a sentimental conservative who has a love of the soil but who thinks at heart that the laissez faire of Smith and Ricardo will solve the complicated problems of our times. Like any other farmer, he has every right to his opinion, but it is well to remember that it is strictly the opinion of an amateur. Harper, $3.00.