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Family Hardcover – October 31, 1994
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From Library Journal
Frazier, author of the best-selling Great Plains (Farrar, 1989), illuminates the recent history of this country by crisscrossing the nation to track down the names and stories of relatives as far back as his great-grandparents. Though at first the past seems as orderly as the listing of such simple details as births, marriages, and occupations, we soon move past now-peaceful graveyards to the roiled accounts of what real life was like for the people who joined the westward migration, fought in the Civil War, prospered in the oil boom, and suffered the untoward effects of progress. By weaving in his own circumstances as a young lad growing up heir to hardworking, pious traditions, Frazier converts what could have been merely a hearty retelling of popular history into a searching tale of parallels that solder together 130 years like links in the chain of life. This entrancing saga will resonate powerfully for readers reaching their middle years as the 20th century ends. Larger libraries may want multiple copies.
Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the author of the widely applauded Great Plains (1987), about a 24,000-mile van trip across the Midwest, comes another good book--but inconsistently so. Frazier writes about his family's past, and although some parts are fascinating, others are rather tedious. Readers will envy Frazier's extensive knowledge of his family history and his access to so much extant documentary evidence. He's done his research well, and he brings into his account of his family's ups and downs a substantial amount of background information on social, economic, and domestic history from colonial times to the present. We meet his progenitors on a personal level, hearing about how they grew up, courted, made a living, and died and about their individual achievements and disappointments. At times the narrative sweeps along with the drive and fluidity of fiction, but at other times, it descends into a mere recitation of facts that only family members would care about. Still, this is an effective illustration of the richness of history on the level of ordinary people who are neither kings nor presidents, and given the popularity of the author's previous book and his high profile as a regular contributor to the New Yorker, expect demand. Brad Hooper
Top customer reviews
But how unprepared I was for Chapter 18! The intensity of family involvement and grief and joy and disappointment and the ultimate confrontation with our relationship to God or not - this chapter fills in the emotions for the ancestral skeleton and the general mystery of life that has existed throughout history. It is the history of us all. Thanks, Ian.
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the past 200 years, as seen from the vantage point of
the author's family.