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A Childhood: The Biography of a Place Hardcover – October 1, 1995
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Crews is, obviously, a unique southern raconteur. . . . It's easy to despise poor folks. A Childhood makes it more difficult. It raises almost to a level of heroism these people who seem of a different century. A Childhood is not about a forgotten America, it is about a part of America that has rarely, except in books like this, been properly discovered.(New York Times Book Review)
It is Crews' great gift that he can show us how absolutely cursed, and alsolutely beautiful, we are. . . . Crews burns through the easy ways in which we would like to regard ourselves; what he leaves behind is something better, something touched by the refiner's fire.(New York Newsday)
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
Crews is still with us, so the events that he so evocatively describes, have occurred in the span of one lifetime. He grew up in a one room sharecropper's cabin. In the era where agriculture is dominated by multinationals, it is useful to recall that "sharecropping," that is, farming someone else's land for a percentage of the take, was one of the most fundamental principles that permitted grave inequalities in income. Crews prose is earthy and unpretentious, and he has a keen ear for the patois of rural Georgia. Despite, or is rather because of the poverty, there was a strong sense of family and the community which he aptly depicts.
The scene that I most vividly recall is when the children were playing "crack the whip." In this era of endless electronic distractions for kids, does the game still exist? Each child hold hands, the leader makes a sudden turn, and the centripetal force throws the last child off. In Crews' case, it was a bright, cold February, 1941, when there was much joy since they were slaughtering hogs, and knew lots of meat would be available.Read more ›
rather it seems to be all these quilted together.
A Childhood recounts the author's earliest memories of his upbringing in rural Georgia, as well as a fictionalized account of his father who died before the author's birth. This book is a testament to his childhood playmates and the folks that were kind to his poverty stricken family, as well as to the first fictional characters he conjured up out of the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.
The book recounts a great many firsts, from the first time he ate grapefruit, to the first time he
"started and nearly finished a detective novel, although at the time I had never seen a novel, detective or otherwise," to the first personal encounter with death.
The "place" made mention of in the subtitle is the author's home of Bacon County, which has become a mythic landscape for me; I think of it in the same way many think
This is simply the most evocative and beautiful memoir I have ever read. The man is amazing.
I know that his novels tend to shock some people. But reading this book helps us understand where he's coming from--both literally and figuratively.
I spent a day at Harry's house this summer (July 2011), and he was gracious and hospitable--and tons of fun. He cussed up a storm, but he just exuded wisdom. He's 76. He can't use his legs, and he has all kinds of health problems. But he still has that gleam in his eye, and he's working on his 18th book. He gets up at 4 a.m. every morning and writes 500 words. Long may he live.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Harry Crews grew up in south Georgia in an impoverished sharecropper family. Their poverty and ignorance were almost unbelievable. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard Gilbert
Well written and interesting reminiscences. I'm not yet finished with it but I'm struck with how hard life has been for the author. I'm not a fan of the illustrations.Published 7 months ago by Allen Tess
I'm still working on this one. Thank you Mary Karr for the introductionPublished 10 months ago by David
Not how I expect it to go, but I liked his unique use of dialec and language to tell the story.Published 10 months ago by Joshlyn
Since I was born in Jacksonville FL in northeast Springfield, and my maternal relatives came there from southeast Georgia, Crews's memories of his childhood are like revisiting my... Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by Vida J Broxson
Crews had a tendency to lie about things, but whether the story he tells is factual, it's still a good read.Published on December 14, 2013 by A. Levine
Excellent service and the book is in very good condition. This book is recommended reading for a class I am taking. Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by Gloria Mitchell
A beautiful mix of the author's narrative voice (in perfect prose) with the mid-20th century Deep South vernacular of his childhood in Georgia, this is Tom Sawyer about a hundred... Read morePublished on May 27, 2013 by barbarena