The Generous Earth: A Glimpse of a Vanished World by Philip Oyler
In The Generous Earth, Philip Oyler 'describes a civilization which possesses a vitality and an integrity of which the excellence of its products is but an outward manifestation, and he describes from within, rather than as a mere detached observer.' So wrote Lord Northbourne in his foreword to this classic account of life in rural France, now reissued for the first time since 1961. Philip Oyler, farmer and traveller, moved to the Dordogne after the First World War. There, in the district between the small market towns of St Cere and Sarlat, in the Dordogne valley about 100 miles east of Bordeaux, was a region completely unexploited by commerce or tourism. He found a way of life that had hardly changed for centuries and is now no more. It was a world of true rural husbandry rooted in tradition and a beautiful countryside where the balance of nature had not been disturbed by man. The region was rich in real wealth - crops, vineyards, stock, timber, fruit and fish. Now with the current debate on agriculture in full swing, Oyler's philosophy of the farming life (which led to him becoming a founder member of the Soil Association) has a renewed importance. Anyone interested in travel, in France, in farming, good food. good wine, and sheer good living will enjoy this book.