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At a time when so much manliness is played out on computer keyboards and TV or videogame remote controls, it takes a certain degree of grit and guts and plain pigheadedness to pull up stakes and move to the country. For those brave souls, the backward-looking gentleman farmers of our fast-forward-looking age, Roger Welsch has a few choice words. To homestead in the Old West, the saying went, all you needed was forty acres and a mule. For the 21st century, Welsch contends that instead of a beast of burden one only needs the stubbornness of being a fool.
In several hilarious essays, Welsch presents a guy's guide to leaving modern miracles behind and embracing productive Ludditism. Made famous by his laconic pieces on CBS Sunday Morning (while wearing his signature overalls), Welsch takes on new subjects, and even elaborates the principles of feng shui for the farmhouse, barn, and farmyard. He draws on a lifetime's worth of experience to counsel prospective migrants to rural America on what precisely not to do. Learn from the mistakes of a master, and laugh harder than you thought possible while doing it. Roger Welsch is in fine fettle in Forty Acres and a Fool, a light-hearted look at rural upstarts that puts the delights of country living-and the occasional advantages of urban life-into rare perspective.