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All Over but the Shoutin' 1st Edition

591 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0679442585
ISBN-10: 0679442588
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Editorial Reviews Review

One reason Rick Bragg won a Pulitzer Prize for his feature articles at the New York Times is that he never forgets his roots. When he writes about death and violence in urban slums, Bragg draws on firsthand knowledge of how poverty deforms lives and on his personal belief in the dignity of poor people. His memoir of a hardscrabble Southern youth pays moving tribute to his indomitable mother and struggles to forgive his drunken father. All Over but the Shoutin' is beautifully achieved on both these counts--and many more.

From School Library Journal

YA?On Palm Sunday, 1994, a tornado ripped through a church in Piedmont, AL, killing 20 people. This is Bragg's hometown, and he began his story on the tragedy for the New York Times as follows: "This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven. This is a place where the song 'Jesus Loves Me' has rocked generations to sleep, and heaven is not a concept, but a destination." It is writing of this quality that won the author his job as a national correspondent and the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. He grew up in poverty, the second of three sons of an alcoholic, abusive father and a loving mother. The early chapters give a beautiful description of warm and happy moments he enjoyed with her and his family even as she struggled to provide for them after they'd been abandoned. Teens will enjoy reading about the resourceful, talented, and lucky young man's career as he moved from local reporter to working for regional and national papers. A book for students with an interest in writing, journalism, or the South and of use for autobiography assignments.?Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (August 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679442588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679442585
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (591 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

172 of 174 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
My priest is from Alabama and kept asking me if I'd read this book. The first thing I did after I finished it was to email him so we could get together to discuss it. Then I wrote ten pages about it in my journal, and next I called my sister to tell her about it and talk to her about our own family. Rick Bragg is a gifted writer who does "talk Southern," and I understood every word. My mother's people were sharecroppers during the Depression. I know how hard she tried to raise us out of her own poverty, what she sacrificed, and how well she succeeded. I saw in my own history both those things of which I am most proud and those things of which I am most ashamed. He softened my shame and strengthened the pride, as I'm sure he did his own. Naming the demons frees us, and I thank him for helping me to name a few of mine. I'll recommend this book to everyone, including my high school journalism and American literature students. It touched me in a deep place.
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103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
All Over But The Shoutin' is Rick Bragg's gift to his mother. Bragg, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for The New York Times, has written a powerful memoir of growing up poor in the South. At the center of his story is his mother, raising her three sons to manhood.
A deep understanding of the South is woven throughout the book, along with an appreciation of this region's poorest people. Rick Bragg was raised in a family led by his mother after she finally broke away from his alcoholic and violent father. Vivid memories crowd the book's pages as Bragg writes of his upbringing: surrounded by an extended family, food, hard work, and racism. There were several different cultures in the South of Bragg's youth. Whites belonged to classes, with corresponding differences in education and expectations. Bragg got only a few glimpses into the lives of the wealthy South. His upbringing was among the poorest of the poor. In his culture, men were expected to fight hard and dirty when insulted. Drinking and getting drunk was part of male gatherings. Salvation was found in religion, which surrounded people on the radio, in church, and when family got together. Women cooked huge meals that took hours to prepare. They were responsible for doing what needed to be done to hold a family together and raise the children.
What Bragg carries from his childhood are a fierce and protective love of the South, an affiliation with those who live in poverty wherever he finds them, and a hatred of those who grew up privileged and feel superior because of it. He also carries into adulthood a fear of fatherhood: a concern that he will become as his father was. This causes the breakup of his marriage and leaves Bragg in mid-life looking for something that he feels is missing.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By or Leissa Nazzareno on May 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am yet another transplanted Alabamian left in awe as I finished this book. I wonder if all the reviews by southerners like me, came from our searching for someone to talk to about this perfect account of a time and place - the 60's and 70's in rural Alabama - that was almost like time had stood still. It was so far removed from the hippies and woodstock, and full of Hank Williams, the Florida Boys, George Wallace, Bear Bryant's football and all of the rest of the very specific terms, brands, species, and local color that Rick Bragg uses in his writing. Like his mother said -"People forgets if it aint wrote down". I feel almost relieved that he has done such an excellent job of bringing that time to life. And since I've read the other reviews I see that I'm not the only one that was moved to tears by the story of the tall blonde woman and all she endured for the benefit of her sons. I wonder if you hadn't actually lived all that is described in the book, if you'd be as impressed with it. I've concluded that yes, you would. You just wouldn't be paralayzed by some memory that flies into your mind every time something like purple hull peas, or spitting on your worm for luck was mentioned. Or Red Eye Gravy and lightnin bugs. And the descriptions of the food, whether it's the food on the grounds at the Baptist church, or the Foot Long Hot Dog at PeeWees Dixie Dip, or the Thanksgiving dinner at his momma's new house, they were all incredible! (not the bologna sandwich on the dead mule,though) This book also gives me some new respect for our age (I'm a half-year younger than Bragg) His stories of "the stories" that he's covered made me realize that we've seen some news, too, in our life times, even if there were no wars or giant disasters (Thank God).Read more ›
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first time was when I read Mr. Bragg's other book "Somebody Told Me". In that collection of articles he had written I came across the following sentence,
"This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven."
It is very difficult to say something unique or clever about the way he writes. He would dismiss any suggestion that he "brings" something to a story. Even the professional reviewers have resorted to linking his name with some of the greatest writers who have taken the time to share their craft with us; Melville, Faulkner, and those who brought us "Huck Finn" and "Holden Caulfield", and Mr. Bragg is still a young writer who has scores of books to come.
The only thing this man lacks is pretense, or if you prefer, false pride. Someone said he had "lent dignity" to the people in one of his stories, he felt that comment was wrong and said "All I did was write what was there", and another time, "It wasn't that I had gotten it right-God knows I mess up a lot-but that I had gotten it true".
I believe he writes for the individuals and groups he writes about. We are just the lucky witnesses, the beneficiaries of one man's amazing talent.
Reading cannot get better than this.
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