supposes community or at least communities,rnsome commonly accepted formsrnof belief and ideology. Absent “a commonrnground, common standards, arncommon frame of reference . . . societyrndissolves into nothing more than contendingrnfactions . . . a war of all againstrnall.” To see the process of social disintegrationrnat work, and under governmentrnsponsorship, just glance at the categoriesrnof an affirmative action form (and no,rnyou can’t just tick “American”).rnLasch traces the growing schism betweenrnelites and masses in several finerncase studies, which consider, for example,rnthe modern environment of journalism,rnthe therapeutic “abolition ofrnshame,” and the world of “academicrnpseudoradicalism” (incidentally, thisrnis far more than simply another paradernof p.c. follies). Lasch also reasserts thernvirtues of religion against the secularismrnof the new elites. Of course, the twornconcepts are by no means mutually exclusive,rnas secularism as such neitherrnprohibits nor restrains the emergence ofrnreligious or even apocalyptic visionsrnof the world. It merely ensures that suchrnideas will emerge in surreptitious formsrnpeculiarly marked by hypocrisy, faddism,rnmoral confusion, and hucksterism, andrnthat they will provide a moral justificationrnfor more or less any form of vulgarrnself-aggrandizement. Was organizedrnreligion any worse than the cultism andrnfundamentalism of the allegedly secularrnelites?rnRevolt of the Elites shows some signsrnof patchworking, and can usefully bernread as individual essays ultimatelyrndrawn together into the larger whole.rnThis caveat apart, the book is a stimulatingrnexample of cultural criticism at itsrnbest, raising the sort of questions thatrnshould be central to public debate. Presumablyrnthey will be, once the mediarncan turn their attention from suchrnpivotal phenomena as the O.J. Simpsonrncase. I would get more involved in localrnissues myself, but I just found this neatrnWeb-site at the University of Osaka . . .rnPhilip ]enkins is the author ofrnUsing Murder: The SocialrnConstruction of Serial Homicidern(AldinedeGruyter,1994).rnThe Staternof Unionrnby Allan CarlsonrnThe Transformation of Rural Life:rnSouthern Illinois, 1890-1990rnby ]ane AdamsrnChapel Hill: The University ofrnNorth Carolina Press;rn321 pp., $49.95rnTo order these books, (24hrs, 365 days)rnplease call (800) 962-6651 (Ext. 5200)rn^^Tgrew up a few miles from thernX county this book deals with,” anthropologistrnJane Adams writes in herrnaccount of rural Union County, Illinois.rn”My family’s farm, although dating onlyrnto the early 1940’s, is now essentiallyrnabandoned, the community emptied.”rnHer book describes this loss, servingrnboth as indirect autobiography andrnscholarly investigation into the rise andrnfall of a small agrarian society.rnI was at first uneasy with Adams’srnreliance on historical anthropologyrnas a means of studying 20th-centuryrnAmerican farm people. She uses aerialrnphotographs from the 1930’s andrnexcavations by her graduate students torndocument the footpaths betweenrnfarmsteads and the social fabric theyrnrepresented. She dissects the QueenrnContest of the Cobden village PeachrnFestival as though it were a South Searntribal ritual. Yet the world that Adamsrnknew as a child has seen its familiesrndispersed, its values consigned to oralrntradition, and its physical structurernreduced to weathered and rusting relics.rnWith sadness, I finished the bookrnconvinced that her techniques have becomernappropriate vehicles for graspingrnthe identity and meaning of Americanrnrural communities.rnAdams acknowledges her debt to arn”feminist pedagogy group” at SouthernrnIllinois University where she teaches, inrnthis case turning feminist analysis torngood use “to reclaim women’s roles inrnUnion County agriculture.” She documentsrnthe vital part wives played in thernfarm economy between 1890 and 1945,rnthrough direct control of small dairy andrnpoultry operations (“the butter and eggrnmoney”), regular fieldwork, and highrnfertility. The Union County wife alsornoversaw the maintenance of a home thatrnwas at once “workshop, warehouse, messrnhall, dormitory, recreation center, infirmary,rnand funeral parlor” for the owners,rntenants, hired hands, and children whornresided on the farm. In addition, Adamsrnshows convincingly that the misguidedrnprovision of an urban-oriented HomernEconomics program to farm women,rnthrough the agency of the United StatesrnDepartment of Agriculture’s HomernBureau program, played a direct role inrndismantling rural family life.rnA fascinating portion of the bookrngives the detailed histories, based onrninterviews, archaeological digs, andrndocumentary evidence, of seven UnionrnCounty farms. These farms lay in thatrnpart of the state known informally sincernthe 1840’s as “Egypt.” Settled primarilyrnby migrants from Tennessee and Kentucky,rnUnion County was always culturallyrntied to the Upland South. Adamsrnreconstructs the development there of arndiversified agrarian economy based onrnfruit and vegetable production, timberrncutting, and hunting and fishing.rnThis system reached its apogee betweenrn1890 and 1920, when the countrysidernwas fully populated and Union Countyrnfarm products flowed northward, primarilyrnto Chicago. Households werernlarge and children ubiquitous. On thernWalton Farm, for example, tenantrnEd Brimm counted 100 children overrnseveral generations growing up on itsrnbounty.rnTwo decades of agricultural depression,rnbeginning in 1920, unsettled thernclass relations of Union County, but didrnnot alter the social environment of itsrnresidents. That change came only afterrn1945, when “the entire structure andrnorganization of daily life shifted.” Thernindustrialization of Union Countyrnagriculture accelerated, with the centralrngovernment acting as a common agentrnof change. Cheaper fruits and vegetablesrnfrom California, grown on land irrigatedrnby federally subsidized water andrncarried over the new federal superhighways,rndisplaced Union County producernin Chicago markets. School consolidation,rncommonly brokered by ExtensionrnAgents, undercut community ties. Newrndairy technologies and regulations drovernsmall producers (mostly farm wives) outrnof the butter and cream business, whilernmassive “chicken factories” displacedrnthe small flocks. Draft horses, still therndominant source of field power in 1945,rnvirtually disappeared, replaced by capital-rnintensive tractors enjoying favoredrntax treatment and catering to the fixationsrnof the new “college-educatedrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn