FARM by Richard Rhodes
Simon & Schuster
336 pages; $19.95
Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1987) won every major American prize for nonfiction. Having written well on the most terrible weapon ever used in war, Rhodes evidently has decided to beat his words into plowshares.
Farm gets as close to the sweat and slim profit margins of an uncertain occupation as any suburban slicker could imagine. Rhodes says he filled 42 notebooks during working visits to Tom Bauer's Missouri farm, and he seems to have used every detail from them, including the squeal of Bauer's hogs.