American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland

Graywolf. Apr. 2020. 408p. ISBN 9781644450178. $28. MEMOIR
In this latest work, Mockett (Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye) explores America’s Great Plains as she journeys from Texas to Idaho with a crew of wheat harvesters. The author grew up traveling to her family’s Nebraska wheat farm, but it wasn’t until an invitation from a custom harvester and family friend that Mockett immerses herself in the complex sociopolitical history of the heartland. As a Japanese American woman with secular ideologies, it becomes quickly evident to Mockett that she is an outlier among a crew of mainly white men whose guiding principles are ruled by their evangelical Christian faith. These differences push the author to pose difficult questions regarding faith, the land, and what it means to be American in the Midwest. Readers will enjoy a narrative rich in historical context of colonization, land ownership, and farming that is expertly woven into chapters with searching theological dialog while describing picturesque landscapes of fields and skies.
VERDICT A highly readable, multifaceted look into the topics of faith and living in America today. The level of intimacy within these pages invests readers not only in the unfolding human story but also in the history of the land.

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