Amplifying the story of family and Wasteland, Meyer takes us on a journey across Manchuria's past, a history that explains much about contemporary China--from the fall of the last emperor to Japanese occupation and Communist victory. Through vivid local characters, Meyer illuminates the remnants of the imperial Willow Palisade, Russian and Japanese colonial cities and railways, and the POW camp into which a young American sergeant parachuted to free survivors of the Bataan Death March. In Manchuria is a rich and original chronicle of contemporary China and its people.
"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist
"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal
"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.
A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
This haunting, harrowing, gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin is the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. It is the story of Bragg's father, a hard-drinking man with a murderous temper and the habit of running out on the people who needed him most.
But at the center of this soaring memoir is Bragg's mother, who went eighteen years without a new dress so that her sons could have school clothes and picked other people's cotton so that her children wouldn't have to live on welfare alone. Evoking these lives--and the country that shaped and nourished them--with artistry, honesty, and compassion, Rick Bragg brings home the love and suffering that lie at the heart of every family. The result is unforgettable.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
“A brisk, captivating and expertly crafted reconstruction of a community living through a time of fear. . . . Masterful.”— Washington Post
The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up, patrolling the rural Virginia coast with cameras and camouflage. Volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The arsonist seemed to target abandoned buildings, but local police were stretched too thin to surveil them all. Accomack was desolate—there were hundreds of abandoned buildings. And by the dozen they were burning.
“One of the year’s best and most unusual true-crime books” (Christian Science Monitor), American Fire brings to vivid life the reeling county of Accomack. “Ace reporter” (Entertainment Weekly) Monica Hesse spent years investigating the story, emerging with breathtaking portraits of the arsonists—troubled addict Charlie Smith and his girlfriend, Tonya Bundick. Tracing the shift in their relationship from true love to crime spree, Hesse also conjures the once-thriving coastal community, decimated by a punishing economy and increasingly suspicious of their neighbors as the culprits remained at large. Weaving the story into the history of arson in the United States, the critically acclaimed American Fire re-creates the anguished nights this quiet county lit up in flames, evoking a microcosm of rural America—a land half-gutted before the fires began.
Design, forge, and fix your own tools, hardware, and household accessories with master craftsman and teacher Alexander G. Weygers. The Complete Modern Blacksmith contains clear, step-by-step instructions and hundreds of the author’s own detailed drawings, bringing scores of time-honored techniques to modern artisans – experienced craftsmen and beginners alike.
This unique resource brings together three popular but long-out-of-print classics:
• The Modern Blacksmith, which covers everything from developing the correct hammer and body motions for forging and creating tools such as pliers, shovels, and hinges.
• The Recycling, Use, and Repair of Tools, which stresses the reuse of old materials, featuring easy-to-follow processes.
• The Making of Tools, which explores how to design, sharpen, and temper whichever tool you need, using only basic shop equipment and scrap steel.
A truly invaluable resource, The Complete Modern Blacksmith is an essential volume in any craftman's library.
Oelwein, Iowa is like thousand of other small towns across the county. It has been left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy and an out-migration of people. If this wasn't enough to deal with, an incredibly cheap, long-lasting, and highly addictive drug has come to town, touching virtually everyone's lives. Journalist Nick Reding reported this story over a period of four years, and he brings us into the heart of the town through an ensemble cast of intimately drawn characters, including: Clay Hallburg, the town doctor, who fights meth even as he struggles with his own alcoholism; Nathan Lein, the town prosecutor, whose case load is filled almost exclusively with meth-related crime, and Jeff Rohrick, who is still trying to kick a meth habit after four years.
Methland is a portrait of a community under siege, of the lives the drug has devastated, and of the heroes who continue to fight the war. It will appeal to readers of David Sheff's bestselling Beautiful Boy, and serve as inspiration for those who believe in the power of everyday people to change their world for the better.
In 1974, a small group of young intellectuals, the Li Yizhe group, circulated their dissident manifesto, ‘On Socialist Democracy and the Legal System,’ a probing critique of the leftist authoritarianism of Mao Zedong. This title examines the writings of these dissidents as a means to better understand the views of non-Party Marxists in their struggle to defy the government and construct their own vision of a socialist China. Originally published in 1985, this title remains relevant in relation to contemporary Chinese politics and will be of interest to students of Asian Studies and Politics.
“A gripping story of psychological defeat and resilience” (Bob Woodward, The Washington Post)—an intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.
This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its main factory shuts down—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.
Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Amy Goldstein spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, Goldstein shows the consequences of one of America’s biggest political issues. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.
“Moving and magnificently well-researched...Janesville joins a growing family of books about the evisceration of the working class in the United States. What sets it apart is the sophistication of its storytelling and analysis” (Jennifer Senior, The New York Times).
“Anyone tempted to generalize about the American working class ought to meet the people in Janesville. The reporting behind this book is extraordinary and the story—a stark, heartbreaking reminder that political ideologies have real consequences—is told with rare sympathy and insight” (Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of a New Machine).
With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country.
The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.
Look out for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, on sale now!
In this rousing examination of contemporary American male identity, acclaimed author and journalist Elizabeth Gilbert explores the fascinating true story of Eustace Conway. In 1977, at the age of seventeen, Conway left his family's comfortable suburban home to move to the Appalachian Mountains. For more than two decades he has lived there, making fire with sticks, wearing skins from animals he has trapped, and trying to convince Americans to give up their materialistic lifestyles and return with him back to nature. To Gilbert, Conway's mythical character challenges all our assumptions about what it is to be a modern man in America; he is a symbol of much we feel how our men should be, but rarely are.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
By turns tender, incendiary, and seriously funny, this book is a call to arms for fellow progressives with little real understanding of "the great beery, NASCAR-loving, church-going, gun-owning America that has never set foot in a Starbucks."
Deer Hunting with Jesus is Joe Bageant’s report on what he learned when he moved back to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia. Like countless American small towns, it is fast becoming the bedrock of a permanent underclass. Two in five of the people in his old neighborhood do not have high school diplomas or health care. Alcohol, overeating, and Jesus are the preferred avenues of escape.
He writes of:
• His childhood friends who work at factory jobs that are constantly on the verge of being outsourced
• The mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt
• The ubiquitous gun culture—and why the left doesn’ t get it
• Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie England
In telling Charlie’s story, Bragg conjures up the backwoods hamlets of Georgia and Alabama in the years when the roads were still dirt and real men never cussed in front of ladies. A masterly family chronicle and a human portrait so vivid you can smell the cornbread and whiskey, Ava’s Man is unforgettable.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
He learns, right from the start, that a man who chases a woman with a child is like a dog who chases a car and wins. He discovers that he is unsuited to fatherhood, unsuited to fathering this boy in particular, a boy who does not know how to throw a punch and doesn’t need to; a boy accustomed to love and affection rather than violence and neglect; in short, a boy wholly unlike the child Rick once was, and who longs for a relationship with Rick that Rick hasn’t the first inkling of how to embark on. With the weight of this new boy tugging at his clothes, Rick sets out to understand his father, his son, and himself.
The Prince of Frogtown documents a mesmerizing journey back in time to the lush Alabama landscape of Rick’s youth, to Jacksonville’s one-hundred-year-old mill, the town’s blight and salvation; and to a troubled, charismatic hustler coming of age in its shadow, Rick’s father, a man bound to bring harm even to those he truly loves. And the book documents the unexpected corollary to it, the marvelous journey of Rick’s later life: a journey into fatherhood, and toward a child for whom he comes to feel a devotion that staggers him. With candor, insight, tremendous humor, and the remarkable gift for descriptive storytelling on which he made his name, Rick Bragg delivers a brilliant and moving rumination on the lives of boys and men, a poignant reflection on what it means to be a father and a son.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winner of the 2007 Saskatchewan Book Award for Non-fiction.
“Your mother and father are running away," said a voice piercing the warm air. I froze and turned toward home. To a Hutterite, nothing is more shameful than that word, running away, Weglaufen...”
In 1969, Ann-Marie’s parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony in Canada with seven children, and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming. Desperate to be accepted, ten-year-old Ann-Marie was forced to deny her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. I Am Hutterite chronicles her quest to reinvent herself as she comes to terms with the painful circumstances that led her family to leave community life. Rich with memorable characters and vivid descriptions, this ground-breaking narrative shines a light on intolerance, illuminating the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance.
A vivid, surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place in America, town by town and generally out of view of the national media. A realistically positive and provocative view of the country between its coasts.
For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane. Visiting dozens of towns, they have met hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, public servants, librarians, business people, city planners, students, and entrepreneurs to take the pulse and understand the prospects of places that usually draw notice only after a disaster or during a political campaign.
The America they saw is acutely conscious of its problems—from economic dislocation to the opioid scourge—but itis also crafting solutions, with a practical-minded determination at dramatic odds with the bitter paralysis of national politics. At times of dysfunction on a national level, reform possibilities have often arisen from the local level. The Fallowses describe America in the middle of one of these creative waves. Their view of the country is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, the generosity and compassion, the dreams, and the determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. Our Towns is the story of their journey—and an account of a country busy remaking itself.
The nation’s economy is in trouble, but there’s one cash crop that has the potential to turn it around: cannabis (also known as marijuana and hemp). According to Time, the legal medicinal cannabis economy already generates $200 million annually in taxable proceeds from a mere two hundred thousand registered medical users in just fourteen states.
But, thanks to Nixon and the War on Drugs, cannabis is still synonymous with heroin on the federal level even though it has won mainstream acceptance nationwide.
ABC News reports that underground cannabis’s $35.8 billion annual revenues already exceed the combined value of corn ($23.3 billion) and wheat ($7.5 billion). Considering the economic impact of Prohibition—and its repeal—Too High to Fail isn’t a commune-dweller’s utopian rant, it’s an objectively (if humorously) reported account of how one plant can drastically change the shape of our country, culturally, politically, and economically.
Too High to Fail covers everything from a brief history of hemp to an insider’s perspective on a growing season in Mendocino County, where cannabis drives 80 percent of the economy (to the tune of $6 billion annually). Investigative journalist Doug Fine follows one plant from seed to patient in the first American county to fully legalize and regulate cannabis farming. He profiles an issue of critical importance to lawmakers, media pundits, and ordinary Americans—whether or not they inhale. It’s a wild ride that includes swooping helicopters, college tuitions paid with cash, cannabis-friendly sheriffs, and never-before-gained access to the world of the emerging legitimate, taxpaying “ganjaprenneur.”
Winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association, Sociology of Sexualities Section
Winner of the 2010 Congress Inaugural Qualitative Inquiry Book Award Honorable Mention
From Wal-Mart drag parties to renegade Homemaker’s Clubs, Out in the Country offers an unprecedented contemporary account of the lives of today’s rural queer youth. Mary L. Gray maps out the experiences of young people living in small towns across rural Kentucky and along its desolate Appalachian borders, providing a fascinating and often surprising look at the contours of gay life beyond the big city. Gray illustrates that, against a backdrop of an increasingly impoverished and privatized rural America, LGBT youth and their allies visibly—and often vibrantly—work the boundaries of the public spaces available to them, whether in their high schools, public libraries, town hall meetings, churches, or through websites. This important book shows that, in addition to the spaces of Main Street, rural LGBT youth explore and carve out online spaces to fashion their emerging queer identities. Their triumphs and travails defy clear distinctions often drawn between online and offline experiences of identity, fundamentally redefining our understanding of the term ‘queer visibility’ and its political stakes. Gray combines ethnographic insight with incisive cultural critique, engaging with some of the biggest issues facing both queer studies and media scholarship. Out in the Country is a timely and groundbreaking study of sexuality and gender, new media, youth culture, and the meaning of identity and social movements in a digital age.
It's an awkward marriage at best, a young man with a Ph.D. in theology, full of ideas and ambitions, determined to improve his parish and bring them into the twenty-first century, and a community that is "as tightly sealed as a jar of home-canned pickles." In their own way, they welcome him and his family, even though they think he's "got bigger fish to fry." Thus begins Richard Lischer's first year as a pastor: bringing communion to the sick (but forgetting to bring the wafers); marrying two unlikely couples--a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend, and two people who can't stop fighting.
Often he doesn't understand his congregation, and sometimes they don't understand him; for instance, why does his wife hire a baby-sitter and instead of leaving, put on her bathing suit, grab a stack of novels, and hide from the kids? Or why can't Pastor Lischer see how important it is for a woman with little money to buy an elaborate coffin to bury her husband in?
There are also the moments of grace, when pastor and parishioner unite for a common goal: when he asks for prayers for his infant son, and can feel everyone in the congregation ministering to him; when old hurts are put aside to help a desperate young woman finish college and raise her baby; or when he helps save a woman from dying of a drug overdose.
In Open Secrets Lischer tells not only his own story but also the story of New Cana and all of its inhabitants--lovable, deeply flawed, imperfect people that stick together. With his sharp eye and keen wit, Lischer perfectly captures the comedy of small town life with all of its feuds, rumors, scandals, and friendships. In the end he learns to appreciate not only the life New Cana has to offer, but also the people who have accepted him, at last, as part of themselves.
From the Hardcover edition.
On a cold night in January 2001, the idyllic community of Dartmouth College was shattered by the discovery that two of its most beloved professors had been hacked to death in their own home. Investigators searched helplessly for clues linking the victims, Half and Susanne Zantop, to their murderer or murderers. A few weeks later, across the river, in the town of Chelsea, Vermont, police cars were spotted in front of the house of high school senior Robert Tulloch. The police had come to question Tulloch and his best friend, Jim Parker. Soon , the town discovered the incomprehensible reality that Tulloch and Parker, two of Chelsea's brightest and most popular sons, were now fugitives, wanted for the murders of Half and Susanne Zantop.
Authors Mitchell Zuckoff and Dick Lehr provide a vivid explication of a murder that captivated the nation, as well as dramatic revelations about the forces that turned two popular teenagers into killers. Judgement Ridge conveys a deep appreciation for the lives (and the devastating loss) of Half and Susanne Zantop, while also providing a clear portrait of the killers, their families, and their community –and, perhaps, a warning to any parent about what evil may lurk in the hearts of boys.
"In contemporary letters John Berger seems to me peerless; not since Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience." --Susan Sontag
By turns cattle rancher, forest ranger, outfitter, masseuse, wife and mother, Bell vividly recounts her struggle to find solid earth in which to put down roots. Brimming with careful insight and written in a spare, radiant prose, her story is a heart-wrenching ode to the rough, enormous beauty of the Western landscape and the peculiar sweetness of hard labor, to finding oneself even in isolation, to a life formed by nature, and to the redemption of love, whether given or received.
Quietly profound and moving, astonishing in its honesty, in its deep familiarity with country rarely seen so clearly, and in beauties all its own, Claiming Ground is a truly singular memoir.
From the Hardcover edition.
A scene of madness greets Vince and his girlfriend as they arrive at the squalid farmhouse of Vince’s hard-drinking grandparents, who seem to have no idea who he is. Nor does his father, Tilden, a hulking former All-American footballer, or his uncle, who has lost one of his legs to a chain saw. Only the memory of an unwanted child, buried in an undisclosed location, can hope to deliver this family from its sin.
"Duncan, through in-depth investigation and interviews, concludes that only a strong civic culture, a sense among citizens of community and the need to serve that community, can truly address poverty. . . . Moving and troubling. Duncan has created a remarkable study of the persistent patterns of poverty and power."—Kirkus Reviews
"The descriptions of rural poverty in Worlds Apart are interesting and read almost like a novel."—Choice
Fink draws both on interviews and on her own firsthand experience working on the production floor of a pork-processing plant. She weaves a fascinating account of the meatpacking industry's history in Iowa--a history, she notes, that has been experienced differently by male and female, immigrant and native-born, white and black workers. Indeed, argues Fink, these differences are a key factor in the ongoing creation of the rural working class.
Other writers have denounced the new meatpacking companies for their ruthless destruction of both workers and communities. Fink sustains this criticism, which she augments with a discussion of union action, but also goes beyond it. She looks within rural midwestern culture itself to examine the class, gender, and ethnic contradictions that allowed--indeed welcomed--the meatpacking industry's development.
Paddy Doherty loves his life as an Irish traveller, but as a child he felt like an outsider. He was different to his siblings. On the rare occasions he went to school, he was bullied for being a gypsy boy. And beyond the gates of the camp he found nothing but hostility.
Slowly, Paddy's hurt turned into anger and by the age of 11 he had started out on an illustrious career in bare-knuckle fighting. This earned him a position as one of the most well-respected (and feared) men in the travelling community. Yet while he won countless contests in the ring, the real battles he faced were very much outside.
In this deeply honest autobiography, he tells of how he has loved and lost five children; plummeted to seven stone while battling depression, drink and drugs. He describes how it feels to be shot point-blank in the head and the lengths he'll go to to protect his people, as well as life since My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Big Brother.
Told with all the warmth and humour he is famed for, Paddy's rich and colourful story is one that will stay with you for a long time to come.
Today, Foxfire's mission remains the same, and The Foxfire Book of Simple Living is both a rich look back at five decades of collected wisdom, as well as an intriguing look forward at the artists and craftsman who are working to preserve the Appalachian tradition for future generations. We hear from doll and soap makers who continue to use and adapt the time-tested methods outlined in The Foxfire Book, not to mention hunters, blacksmiths, musicians, and carpenters whose respect for those who preceded them enhances their own art. We see how the mountain community has responded to the films, books, and plays that have tried (and sometimes failed) to represent them. And, above all, by listening to the voices of those who came before, we celebrate the people who have preserved the stories, crafts, and customs that define life in the Appalachian mountain region.
Based on twenty-five years of research, Kingsolvers longitudinal ethnography of Nicholas County, her home community, synthesizes geographical, historical, economic, and political processes that have shaped lifeways and worldviews. She documents the perspectives of farmers, factory workers, politicians, those pursuing new niches in the labor market, and middle school students in search of alternative futures. Countering stereotypes, Kingsolver emphasizes the skills and agency of rural residents and demonstrates how people in widely dispersed and seemingly isolated communities in the world are connected through capitalist logic and practice, thereby illuminating globalizations far-reaching effects.
As the citrus-growing regions of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys in eastern Los Angeles County expanded during the early twentieth century, the agricultural industry there developed along segregated lines, primarily between white landowners and Mexican and Asian laborers. Initially, these communities were sharply divided. But Los Angeles, unlike other agricultural regions, saw important opportunities for intercultural exchange develop around the arts and within multiethnic community groups. Whether fostered in such informal settings as dance halls and theaters or in such formal organizations as the Intercultural Council of Claremont or the Southern California Unity Leagues, these interethnic encounters formed the basis for political cooperation to address labor discrimination and solve problems of residential and educational segregation. Though intercultural collaborations were not always successful, Garcia argues that they constitute an important chapter not only in Southern California's social and cultural development but also in the larger history of American race relations.
--The New York Times Book Review
On April 5, 2010, an explosion ripped through Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine, killing twenty-nine coal miners. This tragedy was the deadliest mine disaster in the United States in forty years—a disaster that never should have happened. These deaths were rooted in the cynical corporate culture of Massey and its notorious former CEO Don Blankenship, and were part of an endless cycle of poverty, exploitation, and environmental abuse that has dominated the Appalachian coalfields since coal was first discovered there. And the cycle continues unabated as coal companies bury the most insidious dangers deep underground, all in search of higher profits, and hide the true costs from regulators, unions, and investors alike.
But the disaster at Upper Big Branch goes beyond the coalfields of West Virginia. It casts a global shadow, calling into bitter question why coal miners in the United States are sacrificed to erect cities on the other side of the world, why the coal wars have been allowed to rage, polarizing the country, and how the world's voracious appetite for energy is satisfied at such horrendous cost.
With Thunder on the Mountain, Peter A. Galuszka pieces together the true story of greed and negligence behind the tragedy at the Upper Big Branch Mine, and in doing so he has created a devastating portrait of an entire industry that exposes the coal-black motivations that led to the death of twenty-nine miners and fuel the ongoing war for the world's energy future.
Susquehanna County, in the remote northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, is a community of stoic, low-income dairy farmers and homesteaders seeking haven from suburban sprawl—and the site of the Marcellus Shale, a natural gas deposit worth more than one trillion dollars. In The End of Country, journalist and area native Seamus McGraw opens a window on the battle for control of this land, revealing a conflict that pits petrodollar billionaires and the forces of corporate America against a band of locals determined to extract their fair share of the windfall—but not at the cost of their values or their way of life. Rich with a sense of place and populated by unforgettable personalities, McGraw tells a tale of greed, hubris, and envy, but also of hope, family, and the land that binds them all together.
“To tell a great story, you need a great story. Seamus McGraw . . . has lived a great story. . . . [He] is just one of its many characters—very real characters—caught up in a very human story in which they must make tough, life-altering decisions for themselves, their community, and ultimately their country.”—Allentown Morning Call
“Compelling . . . The End of Country is like a phone call from a close friend or relative living smack-dab in the middle of the Pennsylvania gas rush. . . . Anyone with even a passing interest in the [fracking debate should] read it.”—Harrisburg Patriot-News
“This cautionary tale should be required reading for all those tempted by the calling cards of easy money and precarious peace of mind.”—Tom Brokaw
“A page-turner . . . McGraw brings us to the front lines of the U.S. energy revolution to deliver an honest and humbling account that could hardly possess greater relevance.”—The Humanist
Beginning with the dispossession of the peasantry in early modern England, Kulikoff follows the immigrants across the Atlantic to explore how they reacted to a hostile new environment and its Indian inhabitants. He discusses how colonists secured land, built farms, and bequeathed those farms to their children. Emphasizing commodity markets in early America, Kulikoff shows that without British demand for the colonists' crops, settlement could not have begun at all. Most important, he explores the destruction caused during the American Revolution, showing how the war thrust farmers into subsistence production and how they only gradually regained their prewar prosperity.
In this second edition, David B. Danbom expands and deepens his coverage of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, focusing on the changes in agriculture and rural life since 1945. He discusses the alarming decline of agriculture as a productive enterprise and the parallel disintegration of farm families into demographic insignificance. In a new and provocative afterword, Danbom reflects on whether a distinctive style of rural life exists any longer.
Combining mastery of existing scholarship with a fresh approach to new material, Born in the Country continues to define the field of American rural history.
Norwich, a charming Vermont town of roughly three thousand residents, has sent an athlete to almost every Winter Olympics for the past thirty years—and three times that athlete has returned with a medal.
How does Norwich do it? To answer this question, New York Times reporter Karen Crouse moved to Vermont, immersing herself in the lives of Norwich Olympians past and present. There, amidst the organic farms and clapboard colonial buildings, she discovered a culture that’s the opposite of the hypercompetitive schoolyard of today’s tiger moms and eagle dads. In Norwich, kids aren’t cut from teams. They don’t specialize in a single sport, and they even root for their rivals. What’s more, their hands-off parents encourage them to simply enjoy themselves. Making it to the Olympics is seen not as the pinnacle of an athlete’s career but as a fun stop on the way to achieving other, longer-lasting dreams. Norwich, Crouse realized, wasn’t just raising better athletes than the rest of America; it was raising happier, healthier kids.
Full of inspiring stories of Olympians who excelled on and off the sports field—and had a blast doing so—Norwich is the book for every parent who wants to raise kids to be levelheaded, fulfilled, and successful.
Crafted and edited with care, Worth Books set the standard for quality and give you the tools you need to be a well-informed reader.
This short summary and analysis of Hillbilly Elegy includes: Historical contextChapter-by-chapter overviewsCharacter profilesImportant quotesFascinating triviaGlossary of termsSupporting material to enhance your understanding of the original work About Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance:
Hillbilly Elegy is both an honest, heartbreaking memoir about what it’s really like to grow up in poverty and strife and a searing, thought-provoking take on the growing class divide in America. Hillbilly Elegy touches on how, as a country, we got here—and what, must be done to reverse the damage.
As Ivy League–educated lawyer and Sillicon Valley principal J.D. Vance looks back on his childhood in Jackson, Kentucky, and Ohio, he recalls a youth marred by violence, poverty, and substance abuse, but also one of deep love and family loyalty. He tackles difficult questions about social class, upward mobility, and what it means to feel disenfranchised in your own country.
His highly personal account guides readers to an understanding of rural conservatives, and how an entire segment of people transformed from New Deal democrats to right-wing Republicans.
The summary and analysis in this ebook are intended to complement your reading experience and bring you closer to a great work of nonfiction.
Eric grew up among people whose belief was to “give” and never turn away from your neighbor’s need. There was Aunt Shine, the goodly matriarch who cared so much about young Motley’s schooling that she would stand up in a crowded church and announce Eric’s progress or his shortcomings. There was Old Man Salery, who secretly siphoned gasoline from his beat-up car into the Motley’s tank at night. There were Motley’s grandparents, who bought books for Eric they couldn’t afford, spending the last of their seed money. And there was Reverend Brinkley, a man of enormous faith and simple living. It was said that whenever the Reverend came your way, light abounded. Life in Madison Park wasn’t always easy or fair, and Motley reveals personal and heartbreaking stories of racial injustice and segregation. But Eric shows how the community taught him everything he needed to know about love and faith.
This charming, engaging, and deeply inspiring memoir will help you remember that we can create a world of shared values based on love and hope. It is a story that reveals the amazing power of faith in God and each other. If you’re in search of hope during troubled times, look no further than Madison Park.
"The genius of Like a Family lies in its effortless integration of the history of the family--particularly women--into the history of the cotton-mill world.--Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review
"Like a Family is history, folklore, and storytelling all rolled into one. It is a living, revelatory chronicle of life rarely observed by the academe. A powerhouse.--Studs Terkel
"Here is labor history in intensely human terms. Neither great impersonal forces nor deadening statistics are allowed to get in the way of people. If students of the New South want both the dimensions and the feel of life and labor in the textile industry, this book will be immensely satisfying.--Choice
First published as a lavish colour coffeetable book, this new expanded paperback edition has double the original number of contributions from many celebrities including Bill Bryson, Michael Palin, Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry, Sebastian Faulks, Kate Adie, Kevin Spacey, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Richard Mabey , Simon Jenkins, John Sergeant, Benjamin Zephaniah, Joan Bakewell, Antony Beevor, Libby Purves, Jonathan Dimbleby, and many more: and a new preface by HRH Prince Charles.
Baron begins each chapter with a personal narrative from his initial trip to Pembroke. He covers the early history of the area, explaining how the unique black oak savanna ecosystem was created and describing early residents, including Potawatomi tribes and white fur traders. He introduces readers to Pap and Mary Tetter, Pembroke’s first black residents, who—according to local lore—assisted fugitives on the Underground Railroad; details the town’s wild years, when taverns offered liquor, drugs, and prostitution; discusses the many churches of Pembroke and the nearby high school where, in spite of sometimes strained relations, Pembroke’s black students have learned alongside white students of a neighboring community since well before Brown v. Board of Education; outlines efforts by conservation groups to preserve Pembroke’s rare black oak savannas; and analyzes obstacles to and failed attempts at economic development in Pembroke, as well as recent efforts, including organic farms and a sustainable living movement, which may yet bring some prosperity.
Based on research, interviews with residents, and the author’s own experiences during many return trips to Pembroke, this book—part social, cultural, legal, environmental, and political history and part memoir—profiles a number of the colorful, longtime residents and considers what has enabled Pembroke to survive despite a lack of economic opportunities. Although Pembroke has a reputation for violence and vice, Baron reveals a township with a rich and varied history and a vibrant culture.
Accompanied by a cast of eccentric professors and an ensemble of aspiring veterinarians, this book reveals a world now lost to us, showing how life in pre-war Britain changed an enthusiastic young student named Alf Wight into the man who would charm millions of readers the world over.
The hearts and minds of the resisters emerge in the narrative, as we find out why these people found civil disobedience compelling, how they organized themselves, and what moral dilemmas they addressed as they fought for their convictions. While becoming more engaged in the resistance, they confronted critical issues in contemporary America: democratic decision making, environmental policy, legal rights, corporate responsibility, and the technology of nuclear waste.
Some of the book’s highlights include: conversations that took place between Governor Cuomo, Assemblyman Hasper, and the protestors, which thoughtfully probe who should bear the financial burden of a failed and dangerous technology; the scientific and technological issues discussed between Ted Taylor, a nuclear physicist who was one of the key people in the Manhattan project, and the leaders of the resistance; and the citizens’ initiation of a lawsuit that eventually reached the Supreme Court and abrogated the central provision in the 1987 congressional law that mandated states build low-level nuclear dumps across the country. These dialogues and vignettes illustrate how the civil disobedience and dogged determination of the people of Allegany County changed the course of history.
—James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss
Born into a third generation of Montana homesteaders, Judy Blunt learned early how to “rope and ride and jockey a John Deere,” but also to “bake bread and can vegetables and reserve my opinion when the men were talking.” The lessons carried her through thirty-six-hour blizzards, devastating prairie fires and a period of extreme isolation that once threatened the life of her infant daughter. But though she strengthened her survival skills in what was—and is—essentially a man’s world, Blunt’s story is ultimately that of a woman who must redefine herself in order to stay in the place she loves.
Breaking Clean is at once informed by the myths of the West and powerful enough to break them down. Against formidable odds, Blunt has found a voice original enough to be called classic.
Although the death of the small town has been predicted for decades, during the 1990s the population of rural America actually increased by more than three million people. In this book, Sonya Salamon explores these rural newcomers and the impact they have on the social relationships, public spaces, and community resources of small town America.
Salamon draws on richly detailed ethnographic studies of six small towns in central Illinois, including a town with upscale subdivisions that lured wealthy professionals as well as towns whose agribusinesses drew working-class Mexicano migrants and immigrants. She finds that regardless of the class or ethnicity of the newcomers, if their social status differs relative to that of oldtimers, their effect on a town has been the same: suburbanization that erodes the close-knit small town community, with especially severe consequences for small town youth. To successfully combat the homogenization of the heartland, Salamon argues, newcomers must work with oldtimers so that together they sustain the vital aspects of community life and identity that first drew them to small towns.
An illustration of the recent revitalization of interest in the small town, Salamon's work provides a significant addition to the growing literature on the subject. Social scientists, sociologists, policymakers, and urban planners will appreciate this important contribution to the ongoing discussion of social capital and the transformation in the study and definition of communities.
In this dramatic work of social history, Anthony F. C. Wallace re-creates St. Clair in those years when expectations collided with reality, when the coal trade was in chronic distress, exacerbated by the epic battles between the forces of labor and capital. As he did in his Bancroft Prize-winning Rockdale, Wallace uses public records and private papers to reconstruct the operation of an anthracite colliery and the life of a working-man’s town totally dependent upon it. He describes the labor hierarchy of the collieries, the communal spirit that sprang up in the outlying mine patches, the polyglot immigrant life in the taverns and churchs, and the workingmen’s societies that provided identity to the miners and gave relief to families in distress. He examines the birth of the first effective miners’ union and documents the escalating antagonism between Irish immigrant workers—mostly Catholic—and the Protestant middle classes who owned the collieries.
Wallace reveals the blindness, greed, and self-congratulation of the mine owners and operators. These “heroes” of the entrepreneurial wars disregarded geologists’ warnings that the coal seams south of St. Clair were virtually inaccessible and, at best, extremely costly to mine, and then blamed their economic woes on the lack of a high tariff on imported British iron. To cut costs, they ignored the most basic and safety engineering practices and then blamed “the careless miner” and “Irish hooligans” for the catastrophic accidents that resulted. In thrall to a great dream of wealth and power, they plunged ahead to bankruptcy while the miners paid with their lives.
St. Clair is a rich and illuminating work of scholarship—an engrossing portrait of a disaster-prone industry (a portrait that stands as a sober warning to the nuclear-power industry) and of the tragic hubris of a ruling class that brough ruin upon a Pennsylvania coal town at a crucial moment in its history.
Here is the first complete translation of Tomás O'Crohan's autobiography An tOileánach, first published in 1929.
This edition is based on Professor Sean O Coileain's definitive 2002 Irish language edition. It contains many passages omitted from the previous English language translation by Robin Flower from the 1930s, some of which were thought too earthy for the times.
Tomás O'Crohan, a fisherman who, at around the age of forty, has taught himself to read and write in his own native tongue, depicts in unaffected, vivid language a very unforgiving landscape of human experience. The Islander reflects life as it was on the Blaskets, raw, real and extremely challenging.
Williams begins his story in the colonial era and describes the half-century of bloody warfare as migrants from Europe and their American-born offspring fought and eventually displaced Appalachia's Native American inhabitants. He depicts the evolution of a backwoods farm-and-forest society, its divided and unhappy fate during the Civil War, and the emergence of a new industrial order as railroads, towns, and extractive industries penetrated deeper and deeper into the mountains. Finally, he considers Appalachia's fate in the twentieth century, when it became the first American region to suffer widespread deindustrialization, and examines the partial renewal created by federal intervention and a small but significant wave of in-migration.
Throughout the book, a wide range of Appalachian voices enlivens the analysis and reminds us of the importance of storytelling in the ways the people of Appalachia define themselves and their region.