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Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History 1st Edition

38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804010030
ISBN-10: 080401003X
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Editorial Reviews Review

Linda Spence's Legacy proves to be just that: the creation of a family heirloom that money couldn't buy. Through a series of thought-provoking questions about each phase in human life, Spence helps readers record their personal history, think back to feelings that any number of snapshots could never capture, and reflect upon their lives. What events occurred during your childhood? What did you like most about school? What do you wish your parents had done for you? The text includes sample essays by the author and quotations by other writers to encourage your muse.

From Library Journal

Aiming to prod the story out of the writer, writing consultant Spence has designed a book of questions and quotes that goes deeply into the hows and whys of the writer's life. The questions are well written and divided by time period, from earliest memories of childhood to life as seen from the vantage point of old age. People will probably want to own and spend time with this book because the project it proposes will take longer than a three-week checkout, but it would do well in libraries where patrons are interested in genealogy or local history as a springboard to getting people to talk about the past. It also has great potential for people working with nursing-home patients. Recommended.?Lisa J. Cihlar, Winfield P.L., Ill.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Swallow Press; 1 edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080401003X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804010030
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Mike Donovan on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a valuable resource for families to use when preserving the legacy of a loved one who is dying. My mother has brain cancer, yet has full use of her faculties and has LOVED going through the book of questions and leaving behind a history of her life. We have used the book as a guide for a *very long* audio interview. I ask the questions from the book - she reaches back and tells the stories. It has been a wonderful experience for me and my mother in these days we know will be cut short due to her illness. Preserve the legacy of your loved ones now - before it's too late! Thank you Linda Spence for helping my mother leave us a wonderful gift.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a step-by-step guide to writing your life's stories as a legacy for other family members. The author has worked with seniors for many years, gathering their stories and helping them document their life histories. In this book, she presents a simple methodology that anyone can follow to help them get over the hardest step in the process-getting started. In the introduction, she urges the reader to set aside some time and space for writing, in a notebook, on an audio cassette, on a typewriter, or on a computer, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Then she provides lists of reflective questions to get the juices flowing. The questions are organized by topic, including earliest memories, school life, young adulthood, marriage, children, grandchildren, and later adult years. Interspersed with these questions are quotations from unknown as well as famous published memoirists whose writing illustrates the topic at hand.

Everybody has had life experiences which are fascinating, amazing, or potentially edifying for others. The trouble is, so few of these stories ever get passed on because it's so hard to actually sit down and write them. With this book, Spence makes the task seem easy. Writers can sit down with the book, open to a page at random, and begin writing responses to her prompts. Or they can begin with the first question and work methodically through the book. Each question can easily require an entire essay to answer in full. Once the individual essays start collecting, the raw material is ready to edit into a book. Or, the answers can simply be left as drafts in the writer's notebook to be passed on to others as a legacy.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. L Russell on July 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
I taped 16 hours of memories using Spence's book to interview my 87 year old father. It was a wonderful way of connecting as he lived more in the past as he aged. He was delighted to have my full attention and I enjoyed hearing his life story. The book helped me to organize material for the interviews. Last year I transcribed, edited and published the memoir as a gift for his children and grandchildren. He had seen a draft of it before his death and was thrilled that his life was recorded for posterity.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This review was written by Alice Joyce. As memoirs become increasingly popular reading material, so do individuals of the baby-boomer generation increasingly hunger for details about their own multigenerational family histories and the long-buried stories that, in accumulating, make up an essential heritage. Spence creates a compelling context for recording the stages of one's life. In each section, from childhood through grandparenting, Spence compiles a wealth of penetrating questions to help guide the novice and more skilled writer alike. An inward journey, it is meant to uncover intimate memories and experiences that shape the very foundation, walls and interior spaces of a personality. Quotes from authors associated with a style of mesmerizing and revelatory writing illustrate just how moving are the episodes and scenes that create the fabric of our everyday lives.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Amedio on August 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for writers whether or not you really intend to write a personal Legacy. I bought it on a whim (because I liked the concept) at Restoration (yes, the furniture store). I read through it and started writing. While working in through the book, an idea for a story I was already woriking on came to me. I became side-tracked with that idea and finshed the story which then became a series of short stories. In the meantime, I passed the book on to a friend who had retired and was thinking about writing something. I went back to some of the notes I had made while browsing through Legacy and decided to use the exercises and questions to build a set of characters, that intertwined. I used that as the base of a novel I am working on now. (I did a similar thing with the short storeis). Eventually, I do plan to go back and write a "personal" history about my family (sans me), but in the meantime, I bought another copy of Legacy for myself to use when building characters and another to spare in case I decide to pass the book on to someone else, I'll still have a copy of my own. It will get anyone writing and better yet, talking to your family. It will get you to learn about your family in a way we never really do. It's a very touching way to connect yourself to your family, yourself and to the world through great periods of time. You'll be surprised by what you learn and more so by how easy the writing comes to you. Thank you Linda for writing the book.
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