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The Foxfire 45th Anniversary Book continues the beloved tradition of celebrating a simpler life, this time with a focus on Appalachian music, folk legends, and a history full of outsized personalities. We hear the encouraging life stories of banjo players, gospel singers, and bluegrass musicians who reminisce about their first time playing at the Grand Ole Opry; we shiver at the spine-tingling collection of tall tales, from ghosts born of long-ago crimes to rumors of giant catfish that lurk at the bottom of lakes and quarries; we recollect the Farm Family Program that sustained and educated Appalachian families for almost fifty years, through the Depression and beyond; and we learn the time-honored skills of those who came before, from building a sled to planting azaleas and braiding a leather bull-whip. Full of spirited narrative accounts and enduring knowledge, The Foxfire 45th Anniversary Book is a piece of living history from a fascinating American culture."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-06-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Written by students who collect oral histories from Appalachian locals, Foxfire magazine preserves the traditions of the mountain folk culture. The current collection continues to survey the simple life with recollections that go "back to the times of one-room schools, first automobiles, and just plain hard living." "Daddy Was a Farmer" offers an account of the Farm Families school program, when sharecroppers were given a farm to work and required to attend adult education classes. The crafts chapter covers such topics as braiding a bullwhip and chair-bottoming with poplar bark. Outstanding are 130 pages on the bluegrass musicians who took that "high-lonesome sound" from family reunions and county fairs all the way to the Grand Ole Opry. (These profiles can be amplified by ordering an accompanying CD from foxfire.org.) The book's introduction is annoying because it has no facts on how the Foxfire program began in the 1960s, but readers can find much of value in this superb survey of the arts, crafts, language, and lifestyles of another time. Photos. (Sept.)