Kirkus Star


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Mr. Wright's study, which originally appeared as a series of ten articles in the New York World Telegram and Sun, has already won some of the attention it deserves, including a Heywood Broun Memorial Award, and has probably had some effect upon public opinion and even legislation. The author worked the Eastern Seaboard crop season from the Florida tomato fields to the Long Island potato farms. This is a simple, straightforward account of what the life was like, and among what kinds of people he worked, lived and travelled. Editorial asides, statistics, and comments on attempted remedies for the many evils of the system have been brought up-to-date but are kept to a tersely eloquent minimum. The men, women, and children going stooped down the endless rows, the bossmen and crew leaders bent upon cheating them out of the pitiful wages they earn-- these are what remain with the reader. There is something here of what James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men called ""the cruel radiance of what is,"" and something too of his intense, unavoidable sympathy. One might wish that the author's original, less melodramatic title-- Where the Crops are -- had been kept, since he employs it so effectively as a refrain throughout his journey, but this is a quibble. The main thing is that a fine book on a neglected subject has at last been made available.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1965
Publisher: Beacon