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Working Americans 1798-2020 Volume XVI: Farming & Ranching


Farming & Ranching covers the span of the entire country, providing a thorough examination of the lives of all types of Americans in this business. The volume is divided into easy-to-use, decade-long chapters, so readers can quickly locate details on a particular time period. 

Family or Individual Profiles: 

Each chapter highlights 3-4 individuals or families and provides a remarkably personal and realistic look at their lives at home, at work, and in the community. The highly readable narrative is supported by hard facts and real-life situations drawn from diaries, private print books, family histories, estate documents, magazine articles, and more.

Some of the farmers and ranchers covered in this volume include:

1904 – Mary Wiggington: a potato farmer in Washington state. Members of her family have belonged to the Grange, the fraternal agricultural organization, since its founding in 1867. In recent years, the organization’s popularity has declined due to poor management and fiscal difficulties, but Mary tries to increase membership with a hard-fought local campaign.

1940 – Thomas Jefferson Cameron: an African American cattle wrangler (cowboy) who works at a ranch in Oklahoma. With the development of more modern cattle trucks as well as a shift to ranches selling their products to more local markets, he worries that his skills leading cattle drives will no longer be in demand.

1994 – Lamar Beauregard: a Texas man who owns a huge farm that produces corn and other grains. He is excited by the passage of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Association) because it removes trade tariffs between the U.S. and Mexico and allows him to competitively sell his products to Mexico.

2011 – Ramon Gutierrez: a Salvadorian ranch hand living in Georgia. Ramon fled his native El Salvador because of gang violence, settling in Georgia as an undocumented immigrant. Although he found work as a ranch hand, after the passage of Georgia’s anti-immigration HB 87, he is worried that he may not be able to continue his job.

2020 – Jason Rourke: a small organic soybean farmer in Illinois. Jason has become increasingly alarmed about the threat of climate change in recent years and has taken steps in his farming to lessen his impact on global warming. 

To further explore the life and times of these individuals or families, each chapter includes several other helpful elements:

  • Historical Snapshots: Chronicles major events and milestones, allowing the reader to develop a broader understanding of the period. 
  • Timelines: Defines the background and key events of a particular issue important to the time period. 
  • News Features: Excerpted from the local media, these thought-provoking articles put the issues affecting the individual in context. 
  • Selected Prices: Examines what things cost during the time period, to further enrich the reader's understanding of their cost of living, family finances, and budgets. Prices include food items, clothing, jewelry, tickets for leisure activities, and so much more. 
  • Illustrations: Photographs, news clippings, advertisements, postcards, posters, quotes, songs, and cartoons, add interest to each chapter and depth to the reader's understanding of the world that the individual family lived in. 

The Working Americans series has become an important reference for public libraries, academic libraries, and high school libraries. These volumes will enrich the reader's understanding of American history, through the eyes of its people, and will be a welcome addition to all types of reference collections. 


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View a Full List of the Titles from the Working Americans Series

Pub. Date: November 2020
Hardcover: 600 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64265-484-4
Price: $150
Includes Free Online Access on the Salem Press Platform
e-ISBN: 978-1-64265-485-1
eBook User Price: $188