From one of Canada's most respected and bestselling authors comes a beautifully written chronicle of his odyssey through the American South and rediscovery of his family heritage. of photos.
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Ostensibly a family memoir, John Bentley Mays's Power in the Blood is a lyrical remembrance of his ancestors in the American South. He traces his lineage back to the arrival of a forebear in 1609 and then provides an illuminating view of how historical events were experienced by a large extended family. Mays's chronicle of his ancestors' lives during the colonial period, through the great upheavals of the Civil War, and into the 20th century is a beautifully written and highly informative narrative.From Kirkus Reviews:
A soul-searching memoir makes poetic hay of the saw that you can take the boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the boy. Mays's picturesque childhood on a Louisiana cotton plantation ended abruptly with his parents' deaths. He withdrew into a fantasy of ultra-Southernness and, after a mental breakdown, rejected Dixie altogether and settled in Canada, where he's the art critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail. The death of Aunt Vandalia, final occupant of his childhood home, instigates a midlife quest to rediscover his southern roots. That quest leads to tidewater Virginia (where his first ancestor, an Anglican priest, arrived in 1609), to colonial South Carolina, and finally to the Deep South of Mississippi and Louisiana. The power referred to in the title (from an old gospel hymn) is paternalistic duty, a patrician sense of decorum and behavior that once made up the ``codes and tactics of Southern existence handed down, father to son'' and that persist, for Mays at least, ``at the deep levels of consciousness where the anthropological oddments of `Southern culture'. . . are irrelevant.'' Those oddments, which compose the popular conception of the South canonized and promoted by the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and the burgeoning academic field of Southern studies, represent Southernness in only the narrowest sense, he convincingly argues. Mays, more interested in memory than history, seeks a broader definition. Like a graduate student deconstructing literary texts, he mines deep significance from tombstone epitaphs and family snapshots, communing dutifully with the ``genius loci'' of his ancestors' far-flung homes. The portrait of Southernness that emerges--rooted inexorably in land, classical notions of agrarian harmony, and Golden Age Greek and Roman myth and epic--is decidedly elitist, and narrow in its own right. Mays thoughtfully interprets Southern culture, but his self-absorption makes the journey less compelling as memoir than as history. (8 pages b&w photos) ($50,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800601826941.0
Book Description Harpercollins 10/1/1997, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1 This book is brand new; never used or opened. May have a remainder mark. Bookseller Inventory # 040906-8-my42
Book Description Harpercollins, U.S.A., 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 90895076
Book Description Harpercollins, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060182695
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Book Description Harper Collins, NY, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). Book. Bookseller Inventory # 036569
Book Description Harpercollins, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060182695
Book Description Harpercollins. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060182695 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1017527