America's disappearing family farmer is often portrayed as either a figure of pitiable tragedy or glorified romance. But in one of the most unusual books ever written on farming, farmer and Greek scholar Victor Davis Hanson eloquently explains how neither portrait conveys what really matters about farming. As the family farm all but vanishes in our nation, it is neither food production nor the environment that will most suffer - but rather our nation will lose its last real connection with the virtues and work ethic that our founding fathers had themselves inherited from the wisdom of classical Greek culture and upon which American society rests. A fifth-generation vine and fruit grower, Hanson furnishes unsparing portraits of these vanishing agrarians through tales of their perseverance, pain, faith - and baser tendencies as well. Painting a vivid contrast between true agrarians and the corrupt routines of contemporary life, Hanson provides a brutally honest memoir that will contradict quaint notions of the family farm of movies and television. But out of this intimate essay on the trials of working the land emerges something of greater importance: a defense of the agrarian idea as central to the virtues that shaped America, rooted in both the principles of the ancient Greeks and the modern knowledge we hold true today.