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American Harvest

God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
For over one hundred years, the Mockett family has owned a seven-thousand-acre wheat farm in the panhandle of Nebraska, where Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s father was raised. Mockett, who grew up in bohemian Carmel, California, with her father and her Japanese mother, knew little about farming when she inherited this land. Her father had all but forsworn it.
 
In American Harvest, Mockett accompanies a group of evangelical Christian wheat harvesters through the heartland at the invitation of Eric Wolgemuth, the conservative farmer who has cut her family’s fields for decades. As Mockett follows Wolgemuth’s crew on the trail of ripening wheat from Texas to Idaho, they contemplate what Wolgemuth refers to as “the divide,” inadvertently peeling back layers of the American story to expose its contradictions and unhealed wounds. She joins the crew in the fields, attends church, and struggles to adapt to the rhythms of rural life, all the while continually reminded of her own status as a person who signals “not white,” but who people she encounters can’t quite categorize.
 
American Harvest is an extraordinary evocation of the land and a thoughtful exploration of ingrained beliefs, from evangelical skepticism of evolution to cosmopolitan assumptions about food production and farming. With exquisite lyricism and humanity, this astonishing book attempts to reconcile competing versions of our national story.

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$28.00
ISBN
978-1-64445-017-8
Format
Hardcover
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
408
Trim Size
6 x 9
An epic story of the American wheat harvest, the politics of food, and the culture of the Great Plains

About the Author

Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Credit: Sylvie Rosokoff
Marie Mutsuki Mockett is the author of a novel, Picking Bones from Ash, and a memoir, Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye, which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She has written for the New York TimesSalonNational GeographicGlamourPloughshares, and other publications and has been a guest on The WorldTalk of the Nation and All Things Considered on NPR. She is a core faculty member of the Rainier Writing Workshop and a Visiting Writer in the MFA program Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California. She lives in San Francisco.

http://www.mariemockett.com/
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Praise

  • “[American Harvest is] by turns a woman’s travelogue of the Great Plains, a sweeping history of the American West, and a cross-sectional study of contemporary Christian theology.”Bookforum
  • “[Marie Mutsuki Mockett] has the kind of deft touch with the English language that would make me read a book by her, no matter what it was about. . . . At the end of the trip, Mutsuki Mockett bemoans the fact that she wants her ‘old self to reappear’—but it won’t. The Midwest has changed her. That, perhaps, is her greatest talent: the willingness to examine, even abandon, her own biases before she casts stones. That’s a lesson in empathy that we can all learn from, in the time of coronavirus, in the time of presidential elections—and beyond.”—Financial Times
     
  • “[Marie Mutsuki Mockett] tell[s] a tale that is at times haunting, sometimes moving and always reported with a keen eye and open mind. This is one of the most important books of 2020.”—Inside Hook
  • “A sprawling story of pilgrimage, spiritual and personal and cultural, and Mockett’s gaze is both penetrating and sweeping. . . . American Harvest is sure to wield authority in election-year conversations about what the place named in Mockett’s subtitle—heartland—signifies.”The Christian Century
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