A Pulitzer Prize–winner, Bromfield wrote 30 books, and all were best-sellers, yet he has been criminally overlooked since his death in 1956. Heyman now captures all of the flair and drama of Bromfield’s productive life, which included a successful stint in Hollywood and a deep commitment to gardening that blossomed into a passion for conservation and ecology. In this delightful and exhilarating page-turner, which takes readers from Bromfield’s native ground in Ohio to Paris and back again, Heyman does an impressive job of combining all of Bromfield’s interests into a cohesive narrative that captivates as both intriguing history and a significant look at early environmentalism. Bromfield is finally the subject of a bit of a renaissance.
...Stephen Heyman, a Pittsburgh-based magazine writer and editor, applies keen narrative skills to tell the story of Bromfield’s celebrity-studded life—two lives, really—as an author and farmer. The result is a rattling good yarn. Unfortunately, Mr. Heyman moves the tale along too rapidly. The book would have been more rewarding if it offered a deeper analysis of Bromfield and his work ... Bromfield’s life provides a ready-made template for a Lost Generation biography.
...this is not just a standard biography; Heyman turns the story of this novelist, screenwriter, nonfiction author, and pioneering farmer into an utterly engrossing account of both his life and his times ... Heyman marshals meticulous detail, unflinching appraisal, indelible personalities, and rich character study in a narrative that straddles worlds and eras and never flags. These elements coalesce within a fluid, remarkably propulsive writing style that keeps the pages turning. This is a biography of dual landscapes—literary and pastoral—as much as a chronicle of a man. The narrative succeeds on every level, not least in Heyman’s evocation of time, place, and the origins of American agricultural blunders that plague us still ... An outstanding debut.