Midwest Farmer’s Daughter featured in national radio and media

Check out the national radio interviews with Zachary Michael Jack on The Midwest Farmer’s Daughter: In Search of An American Icon. Hear them at Illinois Public Radio, Iowa Public Radio. Harvest Media, and the Successful Farming Radio Show, among others. Look for articles about MFD in magazines nationwide, including Successful Farming magazine and Modern Farmer.


From yesterday’s gingham girls to today’s Google-era Farmer Janes, The Midwest Farmer’s Daughter explores the resurgent role played by female agriculturalists at a time when fully 30 percent of new farms in the US are woman-owned, but when, paradoxically, America’s farm-reared daughters are conspicuously absent from popular film, television, and literature. In this first-of-its-kind treatment, Zachary Michael Jack follows the fascinating story of the girl who became a regional and national legend: from Donna Reed to Laura Ingalls Wilder, from Elly May Clampett to The Dukes of Hazzard’s Catherine Bach, from Lawrence Welk’s TV sweethearts to the tragic heroines of Jane Smiley’s Thousand Acres. From Amish farm women bloggers, to Missouri homesteaders and seed-savers, to rural Nebraskan graphic novelists and, ultimately, to the seven generations of entrepreneurial Iowan farm women who have animated his own family since before the Civil War, Jack shines new documentary light on the symbol of American virtue, energy, and ingenuity that rural writer Martha Foote Crow once described as the “great rural reserve of initiating force, sane judgment and spiritual drive.”

Packed with dozens of interviews, The Midwest Farmer’s Daughter covers the history and the renaissance of agrarian women on both sides of the fence. Giving equal consideration to both agriculture’s time-tested rural and small-town Farm Bureaus, 4-H, and FFA training grounds as well as to the eco-innovations generated by the region’s rising woman-powered “agro-polises” such as Chicago, the author crafts a lively, easy-to-read cultural and social history, exploring the pioneering role today’s female agriculturalists play in the emergence of farmers’ markets, urban farms, community-supported agriculture, and the new “back-to-the-land” and “do-it-yourself” movements. For all those whose lives have been graced by the enduring strength of American farm women, The Midwest Farmer’s Daughter offers a groundbreaking examination of a dynamic American icon.

Let There Be Pebble named Golf Digest editor’s pick

Let There Be Pebble: A Middle-Handicapper’s Year in America’s Garden of Golf has earned a nomination for the William H. Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award as well as year-end accolades including:

Golf Digest Editor’s Pick
Golf Week, Top 5 Travel Books
Golf Magazine, Best Books of 2011

Let There Be Pebble: A Middle-Handicapper’s Year in America’s Garden of Golf has received widespread critical acclaim and has been short-listed for multiple year-end awards. Sample reviewer reactions to Zachary Michael Jack’s latest work of literary journalism and creative nonfiction covering the legendary California course and its fairy-tale setting on the Monterey Peninsula. Read the full text of Martin Kaufmann’s GolfWeek review at http://www.golfweek.com/news/2011/jun/23/jack-tackles-chronicle-pebble-success/?Travel
It was “scary,” Jack Nicklaus said of Pebble Beach, and gave him nightmares so acute he famously woke his wife on the eve of his 1972 U.S. Open victory totally spooked. “It’s not a golf course,” sportswriter Jim Murray wrote, “it’s a hellship.” Golf writer Dan Jenkins once joked that the famed venue of the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am should be dubbed “Double Bogey-by-the-Sea.”
A one-time failed Division One golf walk-on, Zachary Michael Jack opts to stare down an early midlife crisis by chronicling a U.S. Open year spent at Pebble Beach, object of his ailing father’s fantasies and site of the nation’s number one public course and its fairy-tale host town, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. There, along the blue Pacific, he traces the colorful, capricious, and comical world of golf on the Monterey Peninsula as never before via interviews with legends of the game Johnny Miller, Gary Player, and Tom Watson; with today’s brightest stars—Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson; and with some of its most famous celebrity linksters—actor Bill Murray, Olympic soccer star Brandi Chastain, and billionaire entrepreneur Charles Schwab.
Conducting more than one hundred interviews, Jack ranges far and wide to get the scoop, talking golfing haunts with bestselling golf novelist Michael Murphy; teeing up with members of a Carmel-based worldwide golfing society devoted to mystical play; learning to play Pebble at the knee of one of the Top 50 Golf Teachers in America and with a Carmel-based journeyman pro described as “a golf savant”; and raising a cup with a lifelong Pebble Beach resident and caddy who, unbeknownst to the hackers he shepherds, is a Hall of Fame golfer. By turns hilarious, haunting, and historic, Let There Be Pebble reveals the utter uniqueness—the people, the rich history, the unforgettable setting and sporting culture—of this one-of-a-kind golfing cathedral.
“There’s plenty to satisfy, entertain and prod most golfers to want to read this one on Pebble. . . . An absolute winner!”—Bob Koczor, Golf Today
“Few courses have spawned as many published words as Pebble Beach. It’s unlikely that any writer will ever tackle this subject with the skill displayed by Jack.”—Martin Kaufmann, Golf Week
“Every golfer goes through some variation of the mid-life crisis. Not everyone gets to do it on the Monterrey Peninsula. Once the obvious envy is removed from the equation, what’s left is an inviting escapade into discovering—through a diverse cast from Michael Murphy and Clint Eastwood to the caddie corps and the author himself—why Pebble and its high-rent environs are always so absorbing, especially in an Open season.”—Golf.com
“A real-life golf fantasy year, boldly lived and exuberantly told.”—Kirkus
“Like the author himself, the reader of Let There Be Pebble won’t play golf one bit better at the end of the book. But there are enough laughs, and even a few poignant moments in between, to satisfy any golfer.”—Jack Shakely, Foreword
Let There Be Pebble immerses the reader in the history, myths and legends of Pebble Beach. Jack lets us hear firsthand from golfers, local historians, employees and former local reporters—even those with contrarian views—while blending in the written history.”—Tim Gebhart, Blogcritics
“If David Sedaris, Studs Terkel, and George Plimpton got together to write a book about golf they might come up with something as enticing and magical as Let There Be Pebble.”—Rus Bradburd, author of Forty Minutes of Hell: the Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson

Let There Be Pebble is a book for sports fans and lovers of great writing. Faraway fairways and magical greens, history and thrills, hilarity and woe… Zachary Michael Jack’s year spent next to California’s fabled Pebble Beach offers not just a reading of the greens but a rediscovery of the self.”—Steve Friedman, author of The Agony of Victory