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Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty Hardcover – November 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527951
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"With wit and candor, Bateman reveals her lifelong struggle to avoid the disturbing patterns of [her family's colorful] legacy, while mining the emotional gifts passed on to her."  —Nancy Horan, author, Loving Frank



"With storytelling skill, historical research, and a questioning imagination, Katherine Bateman follows her family's odyssey in America since the seventeenth century."  —Jean B. Lee, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Madison



"This riveting book is at once a journey into centuries of the American past and a deeply personal family saga, coupling the author’s meticulous historical research with her passionate curiosity and vivid imagination."  —Ronne Hartfield, author, Another Way Home: The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family



"A most readable family history."  —The Decatur Daily


"Beautifully printed and well-illustrated."  —genealogymagazine.com


"A rich narrative."  —Blue Ridge Country


"Sweeping…well-researched."  —Southern Seasons


"Fascinating . . . deeply felt and deeply personal."  —California Literary Review

About the Author

Katherine Bateman is the author of The Young Investor. She is a former professor of art history at both Berea College in Kentucky and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

More About the Author

Katherine Bateman has had diverse interests for as long as she can remember. In her first career she was an art historian and a college professor. She received her BA from Berea College in Kentucky and her MA and PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She taught at Berea College and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After thirteen years she decided to start over.

Her second career was in business. In 1983 she began working for Nuveen Investments and taught herself the language of municipal bonds. In that career she became a higher education specialist and eventially was appointed as Financial Advisor to the Illinois Educational Facilities Authority.

In 2000 she retired so she could write books and run for president in the New Hampshire primary on a teen platform in order to teach her grandchildren and other teenagers about politics.

Her first book was The Young Investor: Projects and Activities for Making Your Money Grow, published in 2001. The second edition, revised to include online sites and market updates, was published in October 2010. In September 2008 she published Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty. She continues to dream of publishing a cookbook for beginners called Canning Out of Urban Kitchens that teaches the joys of making small batches of preserves, relishes, and chutneys using local farmer's markets.

Her web site is www.kentuckyclay.com.

Customer Reviews

For anyone with these interests, this is a book worth reading.
Jeanne Anderson
Since she's a historian and scholar, she probably was hesitant to interpret the facts into feelings and emotions, but that's what this book needs.
Abby Raffles
The many stories and anecdotes provide insight, as well as some good comedy.
To Be Simple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Inna Tysoe VINE VOICE on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an intensely personal account of the Clay family because it is a family history built around the family folklore the author heard as a child. And so this book is filled with personal anecdotes that simply cannot be found in most history books. It makes this history feel like a collection of short stories; stories about the Clays and the Cecils, the Wittens, the Burns and the Batemans.

But this is more personal than a history. This book is also Katherine Bateman's attempt to reconcile herself to the history of the "Cecil mothers" (her term). A history of women who, generation after generation, bequeathed to their daughters a legacy of unlove, class, and belief that ordinary societal rules don't necessarily apply to a Cecil. It is a legacy Kate Bateman felt personally in the tug of war between her Mother and her Grandmother; a tug of war in which she was, often, the prize.

And (perhaps subconsciously) this family history is also a story of not-telling; a story of what the family chose to leave out. Because Katherine Bateman did not inherit only the blood of the Clays, the Cecils, the Wittens, the Burns, and the Batesmans; she inherited also the blood of the Native Americans. Katherine's Grandmother, Wynemah, was named for an "Indian princess". Katherine's Great Grandfather had Indian ancestry which (according to Katherine) showed clearly in his daughters' features. Yet the story of the people who gave the Frank Burns' daughters their beauty and Katherine's Grandmother her name is not told.

We are regales with accounts of the "normal" interactions between Katherine's White Family and the Native Americans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Pangburn VINE VOICE on November 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book gets five stars, because I think it does what it sets out to do. Don't look for any historical breakthroughs about Henry Clay or Cassius Clay. This is not a work of history but a work of heritage which seeks to find patterns in the dry family history, to flesh out the names on the ancestral chart, to find the discernable historical truth behind the family legends.

We are all of the same clay, more closely related than you might think. Katherine Bateman provides a handy genealogical chart at the front of her book which includes many of the intermarried families, but that chart could easily be extended to include many other famous families as well, white, black, and red. Any reader who would like to see how these families connect to Kentucky's other famous/notorious families should not fail to read Chapter 3 of Alvin F. Harlow's WEEP NO MORE MY LADY.

Again, this does not pretend to be a comprehensive history, but rather a work of family heritage. And as such, it is a splendid read.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By William a Bourne on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am sure that Ms. Bateman was very pleased with her title, "Kentucky Clay," reflecting both one of her ancestral lines as well as the clay from which our heroes' feet are made. Unfortunately, that's the last bit of literary value in this overwrought diatribe on her families. Filled with excessive, and probably totally imaginative description of feeling the green grass under her feet, and attributing thought and feelings to various members of her family for which she seems to have no source, her volume is an adolescent rejection of the people of whom her material family is justifably proud. She uses the words "shame," "chagrined," and "embarrassed" as she discusses her forebears' accomplishments, judging 17th, 18th and 19th century people by 21st century standards. I have read many biographies and family histories that succeed in relating details without passing the judgments Ms. Bateman delivered. The only thing that kept me reading was curiosity as to who she'd trash next, and I wasn't disappointed. Her treatment of her ancestors was nothing to what she did to her more immediate family. I would assume that her vitriolic tale served as some sort of therapy for a childhood in which she felt ashamed by her ancestors' accomplishments, but it became nothing but a tell-all that was embarrassing to read. Her sources were not well cited, and it was impossible to tell what was researched fact, what was family legend, and what was her own vivid imagination.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Abby Raffles on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book seemed to be the kind I love, a juicy family history with all the faults of the family revealed. It makes me sad to say that it is not. It is a recitation of research and family oral traditioin. But none of the threads are ever followed through to a cohesive sense of someone's life. A life is not composed of just the birth notice, marriage posting, military enlistment and obituary, but for the most part that's all this book gives the reader. It never gives you a sense of the fuller reality these people lived in. A good family history should make the reader see the rooms, smell the cooking from the kitchen, and hear the family chatter, but there was nothing that intimate and personal here. It was like reading a list. Ancestor after ancestor but no real sense of their personality. The author's curiosity about her family is obvious and she delights in tracking down pieces of documents that give her data. Since she's a historian and scholar, she probably was hesitant to interpret the facts into feelings and emotions, but that's what this book needs. This book would be very interesting to anyone who was a member or descendant of these families. But it's not fulfilling to a reader looking for entertainment or a juicy story.

It's a genealogy rather than a history. The writing is mostly descriptions, extracts from letters and comments from her mother and grandmother. It is more "tell" than "show."
The strange thing is that the interesting Clays, the famous ones like Henry Clay and Cassius Clay, get no more treatment than anyone else. Since they had a place in history, they would interest a wider audience. But we don't get anything new about them.

It's a great title, "Kentucky Clay." But it makes me wonder why the editor wanted to publish it. Maybe it was knowing that title would create a response. The cover art and the photographic insert are both engaging.
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