Brand, a longtime novelist, has published one other similarly conversational and prosaic book of localized poetry, Dry Summer in Provence, in 1966. This almanac of hard-working fresh-from-the-farm sentiments (with two nice recipes for bread and persimmon pudding thrown in for good measure) hails from Brand's adopted Pennsylvania Dutch home and has been in progress now for some 34 years. Needless to say, this is no slender sheaf, but more the size of a fat crackerbarrel. Crammed full of two.dimensional thumbnail lives of corn-fed folks like the old man who once shook hands with Lincoln, and personal friends like Isaac Stahl the potter, Leo Reppert the tavernkeeper, the Bechtel family who mn the general store, Rev. Johnson from the Bally church -- it's a thumpingly homespun tribute to the community, economy and faith of Brand's plain-sect neighbors and their pioneering ancestors from the Palatinate. Yellowed visions of Norman Rockwell-style Americana rise out of these pages. An unabridged commonplace history of a ""quaint,"" backward folk culture, equivalent to an archive. . .and maybe that's just where this enormous tome belongs.