- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: The Glade Press; 1st edition (September 3, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0578027798
- ISBN-13: 978-0578027791
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,613,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We Were Dancing on a Volcano: Bloodlines and Fault Lines of a Star-Crossed Atlanta Family, 1849-1989 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Despite the fact the Gatins is not a well-known name outside of Atlanta, and that this history was written by a family member, readers of We Were Dancing on a Volcano by Joseph Gatins are in for a pleasant surprise. Not only is the family as fascinating as the Kennedys to whom they bear some surface similarities (Irish Catholic, a rich scion with a disreputable past, a war hero and international impact), but the author is able to keep his distance and cast a cold critical eye on the family curse of alcoholism and its insidious legacy.
The Gatins family story begins with the founder's acquisition of considerable wealth through illegal speculation in New York, his investments in real estate in Atlanta and the building of the Georgia Terrace Hotel which provided income for the next three generations. Where the book evolves from interesting to fascinating, however, is with the founder's marriage to a French noblewoman and the subsequent connections to Paris which would continue in the succeeding generations. The most compelling is the tale of Joseph Francis Gatins III, the author's father who served in the French Army during World War II, was captured by the Germans, tortured because they thought he was Jewish, and who escaped several times only to be transferred to more and more horrible prison camps.Read more ›
My favorite part of the book was the last few chapters as the author wove the strands together and put himself into the picture with his own memories. This book was well researched and written, but when feelings and emotions were added to the weaving, it gave it a more personal touch that allows all the parts to converge into one man's story and his place in history.
At present, Joseph Gatins is an unpretentious retiree who maintains a small garden in the mountains of north Georgia, but his roots are impressive, to say the least. His great-grandfather- Joseph F. Gatins, Sr.- was a Wall Street tycoon who amassed, by 1910, a fortune estimated to be about $10,000,000.00, the equivalent of $228,000,000.00 today. Among other things, he founded the Georgian Terrace Hotel, one of Atlanta, Ga.'s most luxurious buildings. His maternal lineage is, if possible, even more amazing. His grandmother, Egle, was the spawn of French nobility. Her family was old, too, dating back to the Crusades. Gatins' ancestors were so prominent that major newspapers like the Atlanta Journal regularly chronicled their vacations overseas, whom they were dating at the time, and their ritzy soirees.
Still, there were numerous cracks in a surprisingly fragile façade. His great-grandfather may have been a gifted financier and entrepreneur, but he was also a con man. He was arrested for stock fraud, which is, of course, a serious crime. In 1913, he narrowly escaped a two-year prison sentence through a plea bargain. He agreed to plead guilty and quietly paid a $9,000.00 fine. Egle's family may have been old and wealthy, but it also had a checkered past.Read more ›
After his father's death, Joseph Gatins found one such photo. One of a one armed man holding a baby. Partly because of his curiosity and because of his journalistic background, Joseph Gatins went on a quest to discover his family's past.
What he discovered was one on intrigue, drama, and success. In Atlanta, the Gatins have left a lasting imprint in the Georgian Terrace Hotel which is celebrating its centennial celebration this year. The hotel was constructed by his Great-Grandfather Joseph Francis Gatins, Sr., a successful business man.
Weaving the Gatins men through the prongs of history is intriguing look of high society and the outside forces that shaped them. The women were not to be discounted, the author's mother was a Colombian born woman who grew up in France. She was a hit in the burgeoning heart of Dixie.
Told in as a historical novel, this book moves quickly as the family grew and evolved. Because the Gatins had the tradition of giving firstborn sons the same first and middle names the dialogue in parts can be a bit confusing.
This tale of the Gatins family tree is a rich illustration of a world long gone and how Atlanta history is their own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I decided to read this book because I knew the Gatins Family; most particularly Charles Gatins, the author's younger brother who passed away in 1995. Read morePublished on June 21, 2013 by Belle Girl
"Joseph Gatins is the author of the new non-fiction biography We Were Dancing on a Volcano: Bloodlines and Fault Lines of a Star-Crossed Atlanta Family, 1849-1989, published by The... Read morePublished on June 2, 2011 by The Glade Press
Dancing on Volcano was indeed a very entertaining and educational book. J Gatins does a fantastic job of researching and providing many facts, events, etc, that take you back to... Read morePublished on January 6, 2010 by James R. Campbell
What a family of strong, determined, creative, and occasionally unruly individuals. Gatins skillfully folds their stories into the family history that is a great American story. Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by Joan L. Amory
This is part of Atlanta history I never heard truth about. Joe takes extreme measure with his research and tells it very objectively considering it is his family roots. Read morePublished on November 28, 2009 by Dem Mtns
We were dancing on a volcano by Joseph Gatins
Make room Margaret Mitchell. A real-life refugee from the potato famine spawned a dynasty in which his son was among the... Read more
Review by Alexander Shapleigh
We Were Dancing on a Volcano is a compelling read from start to finish. Read more
This unvarnished account of a multi-national family with strong historic ties to Atlanta provides a personal window into the turbulent times of the 20th century. Read morePublished on October 31, 2009 by Marianne J. Skeen