Cloth, 341 pp., $27.95
The grandson of the British poet Vita Sackville-West and foreign service diplomat Harold Nicolson, Adam Nicolson writes of his quest to return the family home — with its remarkable display gardens — to the status of a working farm. He tells of his childhood there and the experiences that gave him an appreciation of the environment and history of the Kent countryside. Despite his differences with his father, he, too, sought to maintain its heritage when the home place became a National Trust Site. The direction he took was to champion organic farming in the production of crops and livestock for a more functional use of the land and to encourage local individuals to continue this heritage. In reporting on the trials he faced in order to accomplish this goal, Nicolson covers a broad range of topics, including family relationships and the British class system.
—Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden