In the slow, quiet revolution that swept the countryside after 1945, farmers and farm workers, who had always formed the dominant social group, became a threatened, scarcely visible minority. That revolution saw the numbers working on the land plummet by 90 per cent. Villages that had existed to service agriculture were annexed by middle-class incomers, who brought with them their attitudes but no experience of how the countryside worked. A barrier of ignorance and prejudice separated the new rural population of professional commuters and retirees from the remaining farmers. Charlie Pye-Smith’s commendable purpose in writing this book is to try to diminish that ignorance and attack some of the more damaging prejudices that go with it.