Okay, I finally finished my last book. It took waaaay too long.
Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball
I don't remember what number it is. I'll have to go back and find my last post. I'm really looking forward to moving through some books. But I'm not a fast non-fiction reader and I've got several non-fiction books in queue.
This was a very interesting, very educational, very thorough historical-type book. Publisher's comments:
Slaves in the Family is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for nonfiction and hailed by The New Yorker as "a brilliant blend of archival research and oral history." First-time author and award-winning journalist Edward Ball confronts the legacy of his family's slave-owning past, uncovering the story of the people, both black and white, who lived and worked on the Balls' South Carolina plantations. It is an unprecedented family record that reveals how the painful legacy of slavery continues to endure in America's collective memory and experience.
Author Edward Ball, a descendant of one of the largest slave-owning families in the South, discovered that his ancestors owned 25 rice plantations, worked by nearly 4,000 slaves. In Slaves in the Family, he confronts his past — scouring family archives, parish records, telephone directories, and historical-society collections. Ball's fact-finding took him slogging not only down the back roads of Carolina's low country but also to West Africa to meet the descendants of the traders who sold slaves to the family.
Through meticulous research and by interviewing scattered relatives, Ball contacted some 100,000 African-Americans living in the U.S. today who are all descendants of Ball slaves. In intimate conversations with them, he garnered information, hard words, and devastating family stories of precisely what it means to be enslaved. He found that the family plantation owners were far from benevolent patriarchs; instead there is a dark history of exploitation, interbreeding, and extreme violence against the slaves.
Slaves in the Family is an extraordinary and poignant account of interwoven lives and one man's effort to come to terms with his disturbing family legacy and his nation's past.
I like to breeze through books and, as thought-provoking as this one was, I couldn't do that. Though parts of it did read easily b/c it was so fascinating, toward the end I felt like I was really working to get through it - at least through all the details about emancipation. Anyway, a very timely read since it is Black History Month.
Speaking of Black History Month, may I take this moment to recomend a fascinating book: Dreams from my Father, by Barack Obama, 1st black Senator, I think.
books in queue:
Old School by Tobias Wolff (f)
Sibling Rivalry (non-f) by Adele Farber
Another Country (non-f) by Mary Pipher
There are some really great fiction books out there, but I have to get on the library waiting list first! I'm so ready for some fun fiction.