All Over but the Shoutin'

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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

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.


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About the author

Rick Bragg is a national correspondent for the New York Times. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia.


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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Aug 18, 2010
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780307762917
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Social Science / Poverty & Homelessness
Social Science / Sociology / Rural
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this final volume of the beloved American saga that began with All Over but the Shoutin’ and continued with Ava’s Man, Rick Bragg closes his circle of family stories with an unforgettable tale about fathers and sons inspired by his own relationship with his ten-year-old stepson.

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.
The inspiring, true coming-of-age story of a ferociously determined young man who, armed only with his intellect and his willpower, fights his way out of despair.

In 1993, Cedric Jennings was a bright and ferociously determined honor student at Ballou, a high school in one of Washington D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods, where the dropout rate was well into double digits and just 80 students out of more than 1,350 boasted an average of B or better. At Ballou, Cedric had almost no friends. He ate lunch in a classroom most days, plowing through the extra work he asked for, knowing that he was really competing with kids from other, harder schools. Cedric Jennings’s driving ambition—which was fully supported by his forceful mother—was to attend a top college.

In September 1995, after years of near superhuman dedication, he realized that ambition when he began as a freshman at Brown University. But he didn't leave his struggles behind. He found himself unprepared for college: he struggled to master classwork and fit in with the white upper-class students. Having traveled too far to turn back, Cedric was left to rely on his intelligence and his determination to maintain hope in the unseen—a future of acceptance and reward.

In this updated edition, A Hope in the Unseen chronicles Cedric’s odyssey during his last two years of high school, follows him through his difficult first year at Brown, and tells the story of his subsequent successes in college and the world of work. Eye-opening, sometimes humorous, and often deeply moving, A Hope in the Unseen weaves a crucial new thread into the rich and ongoing narrative of the American experience.
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