In 1940 seven-year-old Tony Bailey was evacuated to the United States—one of more than 16,000 children sent overseas at a time when a Nazi invasion of England seemed inevitable. He spent four years with the wealthy Spaeth family in Dayton, Ohio, before returning to his parents in Southampton. Evocative, heartfelt, and charming, this is a story of a double childhood—of a boy who became American while never ceasing to be British.
"An original, sensitively told story in which the perspectives of the child are carefully remembered. . . . Bailey's book speaks, with gentle eloquence, not only to those who remember being boys, but to everyone who would seek to protect children from the hurts and ravagings that ordinary life can inflict, to say nothing of war." —Richard Montague, Newsday
"No doubt Tony Bailey owed America something for its hospitality during those anxious years, and with this book he has amply repaid the debt." —Joseph McLellan, Washington Post
"An exquisitely controlled, quietly amusing and moving story." —Publishers Weekly
"As tender as it is truthful, and as amusing as it is unpretentious." —John Russell, New York Times Book Review
The blossoming of Appalachian studies began some thirty years ago. Thousands of young people from the hills have since been made aware of their region’s rich literary tradition through high school and college courses. An entire generation has discovered that their own landscapes, families, and communities had been truthfully portrayed by writers whose background was similar to their own.
An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature is an anthology of literary criticism of Appalachian novelists, poets, and playwrights. The book reprises critical writing of influential authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Cratis Williams, and Jim Wayne Miller. It introduces new writing by Rodger Cunningham, Elizabeth Engelhardt, and others.
Many writers from the mountains have found success and acclaim outside the region, but the region itself as a thriving center of literary creativity has not been widely appreciated. The editors of An American Vein have remedied this, producing the first general collection of Appalachian literary criticism. This book is a resource for those who teach and read Appalachian literature. What’s more, it holds the promise of introducing new readers, nationally and internationally, to Appalachian literature and its relevance to our times.
Colorful and lively personal essays about life in the wilds of Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta
Among the Swamp People is the story of author Watt Key’s discovery of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. “The swamp” consists of almost 260,000 acres of wetlands located just north of Mobile Bay. There he leases a habitable outcropping of land and constructs a primitive cabin from driftwood to serve as a private getaway. His story is one that chronicles the beauties of the delta’s unparalleled natural wonders, the difficulties of survival within it, and an extraordinary community of characters—by turns generous and violent, gracious and paranoid, hilarious and reckless—who live, thrive, and perish there.
There is no way into the delta except by small boat. To most it would appear a maze of rivers and creeks between stunted swamp trees and mud. Key observes that there are few places where one can step out of a boat without “sinking to the knees in muck the consistency of axle grease. It is the only place I know where gloom and beauty can coexist at such extremes. And it never occurred to me that a land seemingly so bleak could hide such beauty and adventure.”
It also chronicles Key’s maturation as a writer, from a twenty-five-year-old computer programmer with no formal training as a writer to a highly successful, award-winning writer of fiction for a young adult audience with three acclaimed novels published to date.
In learning to make a place for himself in the wild, as in learning to write, Key’s story is one of “hoping someone—even if just myself—would find value in my creations.”
Though he has spent half of his life elsewhere, Gregory Orfalea has remained obsessed with Los Angeles. That “brutal, beautiful city along the Pacific sea” shaped him and led to a series of essays originally published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. These deeply moving pieces are gathered here together for the first time.
Populated with fascinating characters—the Angelenos of Orfalea’s life—these essays tell the story of the author’s trials. He returns to Los Angeles to teach, trying to reconcile the LA of his childhood with the city he now faces. He takes on progressively more difficult and painful subjects, finally confronting the memories of the shocking tragedy that took the lives of his father and sister.
With more than 400,000 Arab Americans in Los Angeles—probably surpassing Detroit as the largest contingent in America—Orfalea also explores his own community and its political and social concerns. He agonizes over another destruction of Lebanon and examines in searing detail a massacre of civilians in Iraq.
Angeleno Days takes the memoir and personal essay to rare heights. Orfalea is a deeply human writer who reveals not only what it means to be human in America now, but also what it will take to remain human in the days to come. These essays soar, confound, reveal, and strike at our senses and sensibilities, forcing us to think and feel in new ways.
A vivid archive of memories, Beth Alvarado’s Anthropologies layers scenes, portraits, dreams, and narratives in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Bringing her lyrical tenor to bear on stories as diverse as harboring teen runaways, gunfights with federales, and improbable love, Alvarado unveils the ways in which seemingly separate moments coalesce to forge a communal truth. Woven from the threads of distinct family histories and ethnic identities, Anthropologies creates a heightened understanding of how individual experiences are part of a larger shared fabric of lives.
Like the opening of a series of doors, each turn of the page reveals some new reality and the memories that emerge from it. Open one door and you are transported to a modest Colorado town in 1966, appraising animal tracks edged into a crust of snow while listening to stories of Saipan. Open another and you are lounging in a lush Michoacán hacienda, or in another, the year is 1927 and you are standing on a porch in Tucson, watching La Llorona turn a corner.
With vivid imagery and a poetic sensibility, Anthropologies reenacts the process of remembering and so evokes a compelling narrative. Each snapshot provides a glimpse into the past, illuminating the ways in which memory and history are intertwined. Whether the experience is of her own drug use or that of a great-great-grandmother’s trek across the Great Plains with Brigham Young, Alvarado’s insight into the binding nature of memory illuminates a new way of understanding our place within families, generations, and cultures.
Barrie Jean Borich The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3552.O7529A66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
From award-winning author Barrie Jean Borich comes Apocalypse, Darling, a narrative, lyric exploration of the clash between old and new. Set in the steel mill regions of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, the story centers on Borich’s return to a decimated landscape for a misbegotten wedding in which her spouse’s father marries his high school sweetheart. The book is a lilting journey into an ill-fated moment, where families attempt to find communion in tense gathering spaces and across their most formative disappointments. Borich tells the story of the industrial heartland that produced the steel that made American cities, but also one of the most toxic environmental sites in the world.
As concise as a poem and as sweeping as an epic novel, Apocalypse, Darling explores the intersection of American traditional and self-invented social identities and the destruction and re-greening of industrial cityscapes. Borich asks: can toxic landscapes actually be remediated and can patriarchal fathers ever really be forgiven? In a political climate where Borich is forced to daily re-enter the toxic wastelands she thought she’d long left behind, Apocalypse, Darling is an urgent collision of broken spaces, dysfunctional affections, and the reach toward familial and environmental repair.
The landscapes, cultures, and cuisines of deserts in the Middle East and North America have commonalities that have seldom been explored by scientists—and have hardly been celebrated by society at large. Sonoran Desert ecologist Gary Nabhan grew up around Arab grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in a family that has been emigrating to the United States and Mexico from Lebanon for more than a century, and he himself frequently travels to the deserts of the Middle East. In an era when some Arabs and Americans have markedly distanced themselves from one another, Nabhan has been prompted to explore their common ground, historically, ecologically, linguistically, and gastronomically. Arab/American is not merely an exploration of his own multicultural roots but also a revelation of the deep cultural linkages between the inhabitants of two of the world’s great desert regions. Here, in beautifully crafted essays, Nabhan explores how these seemingly disparate cultures are bound to each other in ways we would never imagine. With an extraordinary ear for language and a truly adventurous palate, Nabhan uncovers surprising convergences between the landscape ecology, ethnogeography, agriculture, and cuisines of the Middle East and the binational Desert Southwest. There are the words and expressions that have moved slowly westward from Syria to Spain and to the New World to become incorporated—faintly but recognizably—into the language of the people of the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. And there are the flavors—piquant mixtures of herbs and spices—that have crept silently across the globe and into our kitchens without our knowing where they came from or how they got here. And there is much, much more. We also learn of others whose work historically spanned these deserts, from Hadji Ali (“Hi Jolly”), the first Moslem Arab to bring camels to America, to Robert Forbes, an Arizonan who explored the desert oases of the Sahara. These men crossed not only oceans but political and cultural barriers as well. We are, we recognize, builders of walls and borders, but with all the talk of “homeland” today, Nabhan reminds us that, quite often, borders are simply lines drawn in the sand.
Women from all over Arkansas—left out of the civil rights granted by the post–Civil War Reconstruction Amendments—took part in a long struggle to gain the primary civil right of American citizens: voting. The state’s capital city of Little Rock served as the focal point not only for suffrage work in Arkansas, but also for the state’s contribution to the nationwide nonviolent campaign for women’s suffrage that reached its climax between 1913 and 1920. Based on original research, Cahill’s book relates the history of some of those who contributed to this victorious struggle, reveals long-forgotten photographs, includes a map of the locations of meetings and rallies, and provides a list of Arkansas suffragists who helped ensure that discrimination could no longer exclude women from participation in the political life of the state and nation.
Few artists have ever been so beloved—or so controversial among art critics—as Andrew Wyeth. The groundbreaking book Artists of Wyeth Country presents an unauthorized and unbiased biographical portrait of Wyeth, based on interviews with family, friends, neighbors—even actress Eva Marie Saint. Journalist W. Barksdale Maynard shines new light on the reclusive artist, emphasizing Wyeth’s artistic debt to Howard Pyle as well as his surprising interest in surrealism. The book is filled with brand-new information and fresh interpretations.
Artists of Wyeth Country also comprises the first-ever guidebook to the artistic world of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, center of the Brandywine Tradition begun by Howard Pyle. Six in-depth tours for walking or driving allow the reader to stand exactly where N. C. and Andrew Wyeth stood, as has never been fully possible before.
As Maynard explains, Andrew Wyeth’s artistic process was influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s nature-worship and by his habit of walking daily. Newly commissioned maps, rare aerial photographs, as well as glorious full-color images and artworks of the landscape (many never reproduced before) illustrate the text.
A fascinating exploration of the world of Andrew Wyeth, Artists of Wyeth Country is sure to become an essential new source for those who love American art as well as for admirers of the scenic landscapes of the Mid-Atlantic, of which the Brandywine Valley is an exceptional example. As a rare, unauthorized biography of Andrew Wyeth, it opens the door for an entirely new understanding of the American master.