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Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty Hardcover – November 1, 2008
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"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
"Fascinating . . . deeply felt and deeply personal." California Literary Review
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased Kentucky Clay as a genealogical reference source while researching my Clay family history and found all the information that I hoped would be included—and much more. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Columbus, OH
it was a great history book for those who are kin to the William clay and Rebecca cecil Clay family. I learned a lot of things about my
family from this book. Read more
I have enjoyed reading this book. It is interesting if you enjoy Kentucky history.Published on July 17, 2014 by Luke Davidson
So many family histories consume too much ink with arcane scraps of court house data. While Ms Bateman documents her stories and proves them well, she prefers to let us enjoy a... Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by ellenindc
Bateman's history is a personal one here. You're not going to get a blow-by-blow historical accounting of the Clay family here, partly because much of their early history in the... Read morePublished on July 20, 2009 by John A. League
This reader was a little disappointed by Kentucky Clay: Eleven Generations of a Southern Dynasty by Katherine Bateman. Read morePublished on June 1, 2009 by C. Davis
I've always loved old family stories-not just my family either but everyone's. I suppose considering my near lust for historical fiction it makes sense-all the old family legends... Read morePublished on May 28, 2009 by Lilly Flora
As a fairly recent transplant of Kentucky, I find anything having to do with the history of this place quite interesting. Read morePublished on March 28, 2009 by S.R.W. Phillips
Family histories have a reputation for being widely varying in quality. Some are ponderous dense genealogies or chronicles that are of little interest outside of genealogies or... Read morePublished on March 13, 2009 by Todd Bartholomew