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Volume 90, Number 2 (Spring 2016)

“Consumer Terroists”: Battles over Agricultural Antibiotics in the United States and Western Europe MARK R. FINLAY AND ALAN I. MARCUS

This paper examines the reception and regulation of antibiotics in animal agriculture in the United States and Europe. It finds two different cultural traditions. In the United States, a libertarian ethos, aided and abetted by big agriculture, hampers effective regulation. Authoritarianism in Europe promotes active and aggressive regulation. These two thrusts have something in common: both effectively obscure science and scientific debate. Policy on the two sides of the Atlantic reflects a priori assumptions rather than thorough scientific scrutiny. We assert that there is a larger moral here. Indeed, scientism as practiced and expertise generally lack the technological competence to define an objective course. Repeated dependence on the quest for scientific objectification to resolve public issues stands as nothing more than desperate and naïve pipedreams of what science and expertise can establish; they can and do contribute precious little to the discussion. Cultural presumptions and contemporary economic imperatives have set and will continue to be the basis for “scientific” decision-making and “rational” governmental policy.

“One of the Finest Grass Countries I Have Met With”: Prince Edward Island’s Colonial Era Cattle Trade RUSTY BITTERMANN AND MARGARET MCCALLUM

Potato production is now the central agricultural enterprise on Prince Ed- ward Island, but live cattle were the main agricultural export in the first decades after the island became part of the British Empire. Cattle production relied on effective use of marsh hay, pre-existent human alterations to the landscape, and forest grazing, with the Newfoundland fishery providing the main market. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, as the island attracted more immigrants, the cattle industry declined in relative importance, and potato and grain production grew. This shift was driven in part by curtailed access to wild forage as more land was settled and by changing markets, but it represented, too, a shift in the ecosystems that sustained agriculture. Where the early cattle industry depended largely on the nutrient cycles of coastal lands, the grain and potato industries increasingly focused on those of the island interior.

Cookbooks as Resources for Rural Research REBECCA SHARPLESS

Cookbooks as printed primary sources can provide insight for historians of rural America. The humble volumes carry important evidence about people's interactions with their environment and the society around them. Most are produced by women and thus offer significant messages about gender as well. Although most cookbooks came from cities, some do exist from rural areas. Analyzing their structure and content shows much about how rural house- wives thought about food and about their communities. The Fannin County Home demonstration Club’s Cook Book (1933) is an excellent example of a rural cookbook that can be parsed for evidence about life in Northeast Texas during the Great Depression.

Nitrogen Nation: The Legacy of World War I and the Politics of Chemical Agriculture in the United States, 1916-1933 TIMOTHY JOHNSON

In the years before World War I, America’s federal government played a very limited role in advanced fertilizer research. This changed after 1916 when lawmakers included a provision in the National Defense Act that funded a swords-to-plowshares project to manufacture incendiary weapons during war and chemical fertilizer during peacetime. This essay examines how the United States entered a new era in agricultural production in spite of the government’s bungled job of enacting its mandate. It argues that 1916 marked a turning point after which federal research helped usher in the chemical revolution in American agriculture. Significantly, it shows how legislators had pitched the arms-to-farms project as a type of federal fertilizer subsidy for farmers, but in practice the law became a corporate subsidy that helped agricultural firms become increasingly sophisticated chemical manufacturers.

Await the Jarga: Cattle, Disease, and Livestock Development in Colonial Gambia TAD BROWN

As veterinary efforts reduced outbreaks of rinderpest in the Gambia, the colonial government sought to capitalize on an increased rural cattle population. One idea was to build a boat—the Jarga—to ship cattle downriver to the cap- ital. This article recounts that venture. Whereas attaining knowledge of live- stock disease ecology in the region was rather conducive to British expertise, livestock marketing proved otherwise. Farmers’ practices may have, at times, informed colonial agricultural practice in Africa, but this repositioning of authority did not extend to matters of local economics. Ultimately, a refusal to defer to local relations of exchange spoiled the colonial effort at livestock development in the Gambia.

Book Reviews


Murphy and Stout, Agriculture and Settlement in Ireland, by Jonathan Bell

Montanari, Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table, by Frederick Gibbs

McGregor, Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World from Prehistory to the Present, by Philip Thibodeau

Latin America

Hoelle, Rainforest Cowboys: The Rise of Ranching and Cattle Culture in Western Amazonia, by Maron Greenleaf


Albertone, National Identity and the Agrarian Republic: The Transatlantic Commerce of Ideas Between America and France (1750–1830), by Thomas Chase Hagood

Wall, The Commons In History: Culture, Conflict, and Ecology, by Kathryn Newfont

Tyrrell, Crisis of the Wasteful Nation: Empire and Conservation in Theodore Roosevelt’s America, by Sarah T. Phillips


Batten and Brown, eds., Environment and Society in the Japanese Islands: From Prehistory to the Present, by Ichiro Miyata

Knight, Sugar, Steam and Steel: The Industrial Project in Colonial Java, 1830–1885, by Peter D. Griggs

Liu,The Chinese Market Economy, 1000–1500, by Yongguang Hu

North America

Boyer, Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico, by Nora Haenn

Berry, Devoted to Nature: The Religious Roots of American Environmentalism, by Kevin M. Lowe

Andrews, Coyote Valley: Deep History in the High Rockies, by Joseph E. Taylor III

Andrés Jr., Power and Control in the Imperial Valley: Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900–1940, by Sean Parulian Harvey

Colpitts, Pemmican Empire: Food, Trade, and the Last Bison Hunts in the North American Plains, 1780–1882, by Nathan F. Sayr

DeLuca, The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm, by Megan Birk

Burton and Cross, Penn Center: A History Preserved, by James H. Tuten

Dethloff and Searcy, Engineering Agriculture at Texas A&M: The First Hundred Years, by Paul K. Nienkamp

Berry et al., eds., Studying Appalachian Studies: Making the Path By Walking, by Bruce E. Stewart

Ruef, Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South, by William D. Bryan

Wuthnow, In The Blood: Understanding America's Farm Families, by R. Douglas Hurt

Brown, Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West, by Thomas G. Andrews

Clavin, Aiming for Pensacola: Fugitive Slaves on the Atlantic and Southern Frontiers, by Irvin D. S. Winsboro

Baker and Hahn, The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans, by Jonathan E. Robins

Shields, Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine, by Hayden R. Smith

Ambrose, A Great Rural Sisterhood: Madge Robertson Watt & the ACWW, by Deborah Stiles

Huston, The British Gentry, the Southern Planter, and the Northern Family Farmer: Agriculture and Sectional Antagonism in North America, by Thomas Summerhill

Freeman, Black Hills Forestry: A History, by Gregory Gordon