Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

The Last of the Husbandmen
A Novel of Farming Life

By Gene Logsdon

“In The Last of the Husbandmen—as in everything Gene Logsdon writes — wit is the nurse crop to wisdom. With a conclusion as comical as it is hopeful, this latest book is equal parts entertainment and enlightenment—just what we’ve come to expect from Mr. Logsdon.”

Michael Perry, author of Truck: A Love Story

“Gene Logsdon remains as true–to–form in his fiction as he does in his non–fiction.… this book was maybe as valuable a read as any of his books, not for the instruction, but for scope and perspective on a life lived ‘tied down’ to a place.”

The Englewood Review of Books

“One finds humor, hijinx aplenty, and even romance, but it would be a mistake to overlook the serious implications of The Last of the Husbandmen. Aptly subtitled A Novel of Farming Life, the novel at times reads like a narrative of American agriculture in the decades following World War II.”

Rich Tomsu, Rich Gardens Organic Farm

The Last of the Husbandmen proves quite entertaining, especially for anyone who has ever spent much time on a farm.… (Logsdon) covers many of the issues so important to Ohio farmers during that period, including the consolidation of rural school districts, the competition for shrinking agricultural land, inheritance taxes, overproduction, and even organic agriculture, while never losing the human element in the story.”

Mansfield News Journal

“Nan turned to see Ben’s faceturn as hard and white as asauerkraut crock. When he didnot respond, Nan figured thathe was just going to back offas he usually did, the shy andretiring husbandman. She didnot know her history. She didnot know that shy and retiringhusbandmen have been knownto revolt against oppressionwith pitchforks drawn.”
The Last of the Husbandmen

In The Last of the Husbandmen, Gene Logsdon looks to his own roots in Ohio farming life to depict the personal triumphs and tragedies,clashes and compromises, and abiding human character of American farmingfamilies and communities. From the Great Depression, when farmers tilledthe fields with plow horses, to the corporate farms and government subsidyprograms of the present, this novel presents the complex transformation of alivelihood and of a way of life.

Two friends, one rich by local standards, and the other of more modest means,grow to manhood in a lifelong contest of will and character. In response tomany of the same circumstances—war, love, moonshining, the Klan, weather,the economy—their different approaches and solutions to dealing with theirsituations put them at odds with each other, but we are left with a deeper understanding of the world that they have inherited and have chosen.

Part morality play and part personal recollection, The Last of the Husbandmen is both a lighthearted look at the past and a profound statement about the present state of farming life. It is also a novel that captures the spirit of those who have chosen to work the land they love.

Gene Logsdon (1931–2016) was the author of more than thirty books and countless magazine articles on agrarian issues including small-scale farming and sustainable living. He is the author of four Swallow Press/Ohio University Press books: All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming, The Man Who Created Paradise: A Fable, Wyeth People, and The Last of the Husbandmen: A Novel of Farming Life.More info →

Order a print copy

Paperback · $15.16 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $18.95 · Save 20% ($15.16)

Hardcover · $23.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $29.95 · Save 20% ($23.96)

Buy from a local bookstore


US and Canada only

Buy an eBook

Amazon Kindle Store Barnes & Noble NOOK Google Play iBooks Store

Availability and price vary according to vendor.

Cover of The Last of the Husbandmen

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Downloads & Links

Related Subjects



Retail price: $18.95, S.
Release date: February 2008
334 pages · 5.125 × 8 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $29.95, S.
Release date: February 2008
334 pages · 5.125 × 8 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: August 2014
334 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for The Last of the Husbandmen

“Logsdon writes about contemporary farming issues with quaint elegance, good humor and rich detail in this novel set in the rustic village of Gowler, Ohio.… A few lively subplots … help to propel Logsdon's narrative about a disappearing way of life.”

Publishers Weekly

The Last of the Husbandmen reads like a parable. Emmet is the grasshopper, fiddling with crazy schemes that lead to disaster. Ben is the ant, steady and industrious, storing away the fruit of his labors to keep him happy and warm all winter.… This uplifting book had a few surprises.… Logsdon pulls out all the stops for a drunken funeral that would do Lake Wobegon proud.”

Dayton Daily News

“The characters in Gene Logsdon’s The Last of the Husbandmen hear a song the modern ear cannot hear. Yes, this fascinating story suggests, you must listen closely, but maybe, just maybe, the music will play on.”

Steve Zender, publisher , The Progressor Times

Related Titles

Cover of 'The Locavore’s Kitchen'

The Locavore’s Kitchen
A Cook’s Guide to Seasonal Eating and Preserving
By Marilou K. Suszko

In more than 150 recipes that highlight seasonal flavors, Marilou K. Suszko inspires cooks to keep local flavors in the kitchen year round. From asparagus in the spring to pumpkins in the fall, Suszko helps readers learn what to look for when buying seasonal homegrown or locally grown foods as well as how to store fresh foods, and which cooking methods bring out fresh flavors and colors.

Cookbooks · Nature · Food Studies · Ohio and Regional · Guidebook

Cover of 'Soliloquy of a Farmer’s Wife'

Soliloquy of a Farmer’s Wife
The Diary of Annie Elliott Perrin
Edited by Dale B. J. Randall

Diary of a Geneva, Ohio, farmer’s wife, Annie Perrin, who wrote during the final battles, climax, and close of World War I.

Literary Collections | Diaries & Journals · Literature · Ohio and Regional · Ohio

Cover of 'All Flesh is Grass'

All Flesh is Grass
The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming
By Gene Logsdon

Amidst Mad Cow scares and consumer concerns about how farm animals are bred, fed, and raised, many farmers and homesteaders are rediscovering the traditional practice of pastoral farming. Grasses, clovers, and forbs are the natural diet of cattle, horses, and sheep, and are vital supplements for hogs, chickens, and turkeys. Consumers increasingly seek the health benefits of meat from animals raised in green paddocks instead of in muddy feedlots.In

Agriculture · Nature | Environmental Conservation & Protection · Animal Husbandry · Food Studies

Cover of 'Prosperity Far Distant'

Prosperity Far Distant
The Journal of an American Farmer, 1933–1934
By Charles M. Wiltse
· Edited by Michael J. Birkner

Fresh from receiving a doctorate from Cornell University in 1933, but unable to find work, Charles M. Wiltse joined his parents on the small farm they had recently purchased in southern Ohio. There, the Wiltses scratched out a living selling eggs, corn, and other farm goods at prices that were barely enough to keep the farm intact.In wry and often affecting prose, Wiltse recorded a year in the life of this quintessentially American place during the Great Depression.

Literary Collections | Diaries & Journals · Americas · North America · United States · Appalachia · Ohio and Regional · Social Science | Regional Studies · History · American History · Food Studies · American Studies · Great Depression