Mile for mile, St. Simons Island?one of Georgia's Golden Isles?boasts as much history as any community on the East Coast. Originally an Indian hunting ground, it has been occupied or invaded by Spanish missionaries, British settlers, planters and their slaves, the Union army, the United States Navy, and developers and tourists. The seventeen narratives in Voices from St. Simons represent an "oral archaeological dig," writes editor Stephen Doster. Many of those interviewed are descendants of masters and slaves. Surprisingly, they speak of racial issues with greater compassion than bitterness. But the volume encompasses much more than that. Here, the people of the Golden Isles recall waving farewell to Paul Redfern when his airplane took off from a sandy beach on his ill-fated attempt to outdo Charles Lindbergh. They describe jumping into a fast boat and riding to the rescue of merchant sailors torpedoed by a German U-boat. They tell of playing childhood sports?and dominating the competition?alongside future NFL legend Jim Brown, who was raised on St. Simons. They remember piloting the ship that, due to a helmsman's error, hit the Sidney Lanier Bridge, causing one of the worst such disasters in American history. "In some respects, the narratives reveal a plot of ground that time forgot," Doster writes. "They present the reflections of a cross-section of ordinary people who lived during extraordinary times."
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