A Farm Daughter's Lament

Evelyn I. Funda

American Lives Series

336 pages
19 photographs, 2 maps


September 2013


$23.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

April 2020


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eBook (PDF)

September 2013


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About the Book

In Thomas Jefferson’s day, 90 percent of the population worked on family farms. Today, in a world dominated by agribusiness, less than 1 percent of Americans claim farm-related occupations. What was lost along the way is something that Evelyn I. Funda experienced firsthand when, in 2001, her parents sold the last parcel of the farm they had worked since they married in 1957. Against that landscape of loss, Funda explores her family’s three-generation farming experience in southern Idaho, where her Czech immigrant family spent their lives turning a patch of sagebrush into crop land.

The story of Funda’s family unfolds within the larger context of our country’s rich immigrant history, western culture, and farming as a science and an art. Situated at the crossroads of American farming, Weeds: A Farm Daughter’s Lament offers a clear view of the nature, the cost, and the transformation of the American West. Part cultural history, part memoir, and part elegy, the book reminds us that in losing our attachment to the land we also lose some of our humanity and something at the very heart of our identity as a nation.

Author Bio

Evelyn I. Funda is an associate professor of American literature at Utah State University. She has written extensively on Willa Cather and her creative nonfiction has appeared in literary magazines, including Prairie Schooner.


"I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Weeds. Such a truthful book. Your book made me admire Evelyn Funda, yearn to become a farmer, wish to live out West, and love the real America all at once! "—Alexander Theroux

"A moving look back at a lost way of life."—Leigh Newman, New York Times Sunday Book Review

"The result of Funda's lyrical merging of metaphor and landscape ecology is an unforgettable portrait of the hybrid landscape where her farm family lived and loved in a temporary community of hopes and weeds. . . . It is a remarkable book that any child of the West should read, no matter how old and sage."—Max Geier, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"This book stands among the best works in the genre, and it should attract the attention of those interested in narrative scholarship, agriculture, and theories of place."Tyler Nickl, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

"Funda ranges over subjects as diverse as seed hybridization, ex-urbanites, early-20th-century Idaho, storytelling, postwar exile and mutable family mythologies. The resounding theme is her search for home."—Kirkus

"Part cultural history, part memoir, and part elegy, Weeds reminds us that in losing our attachment to the land we also lose some of our humanity and something at the very heart of our identity as a nation."—Tom Williams, Utah Public Radio

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Preface: "In Dirt We Trust"
Wild Oats
"The True Point of Beginning"


 2014 Evans Handcart Award from Mountain West Center for Regional Studies

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