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Writing Family Histories and Memoirs Paperback – April, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether you want to whip up a light and fluffy story of your family for the next holiday gathering, or craft the world's greatest novel by drawing upon your personal and family history, this is a very practical writing guide appropriate for experienced writers and complete novices alike.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1st edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558703942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558703940
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wish I had written this book. It is balanced and complete. I discovered it only after I had self-published a much smaller and simpler guide to writing family stories. Where my brief encouragement to older family members is intended to give them the confidence to write, Kirk Polking's 250-page summary will help even a seasoned writer in putting the family histories and memoirs on paper. My only reservation in recommending the book is that it definitely is not for the beginning writer. The writing examples are excellent and demonstrate her points well. However, one must assume that the would-be writer is well-versed in the rules of English usage and familiar with the finer concepts such as voice and tone.
I had intended to write a second guide to help my new storywriters in fine-tuning their actual writing content and individual writing stye. That is already covered quite well in Chapter 15, Self Editing Your FInal Manusctript. I especially appreciate the Twenty Rules for Good Writing, which Polking attributes to the Writer's Digest School, which she once directed.
My third book would have been intended for the more sophisticated taste and style of a good writer; exactly what Kirk Polking's manual has done for us. That is why I envy her accomplishment.
I recommend the book as a fine reference at a fair price.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely well-written, the American English, fluid and entertainly written, the contents structured for ease of use, the contents clear, succinct and in depth. It is filled with very helpful tips and outstanding quoted examples of family histories, biographical sketches and memoirs, showing how your genealogical research, your family stories and tales, and your raw family statistics can be assembled to showcase your family.
Kirk Polking, the former editor of Writer's Digest and former director of Writer's Digest School, demonstrates with her own skillful writing just how to write informatively and to be engaging at the same time.
I recommend the book highly. It can be easily obtained through the Amazon Marketplace at very reasonable prices.
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Format: Paperback
The author included lots of excerpts from different family histories - but didn't have much information about how to do the background research, how to organize your records or how to craft stories out of a pile of dates and other records. I didn't find the book particularly useful.
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Format: Paperback
Very useful book! Not only does it provide topic ideas for writing about your family history, it provides excerpts from memoirs that demonstrate how to approach the task in an entertaining fashion rather than writing, "so and so begat so and so and so and so did such and such." This book led me to Shirley Abbott's "Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South," which I truly loved for its approach and for the historical and sociological background it provided.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book, very readable, and thoughtfully written, with the voice of experience.
A bit dated with references to recording cassette tapes, but this does not take away from
the overall excellence.
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