New Book Notes
Rob Amberg. The New Road: 1-26 and the Footprints of Progress in Appalachia. Chicago: Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2009. 187 pages with photos. Hardback with dust jacket, $39.95.
Rob Amberg's first coffee-table book, Sodom Laurel Album, came across, at least to me, as an example of a book written by an outsider-Rob grew up in the D.C. area-that reinforced negative stereotypes. The first word in the title is the name of a community, I know, but that didn't help much. His second book is totally different, I imagine, because he has lived in Madison County, North Carolina, long enough now to become much more sensitive. This book has a positive purpose, to show the impact of an interstate highway on a community. It treats local people with great respect, and the photos are beautiful. Hide Amberg's first book, and proudly display this one on your coffee-table!
James Bailey. Bailey's Blood: Moonshine, Murder, and Wild Women. Coral Springs, Fla.: Llumina Press, 2009. 221 pages. Trade paperback, $14.95.
According to the back of this book, "The story includes nine separate murders and ... moonshine whiskey and parties with wild women." The author refers to himself as Dr. Bailey and says he retired from a career as an engineering professor at Arizona State to become a novelist.
John Bowers. Love in Tennessee. Granada Hills: Red Hen Press, 2009. 194 pages. Trade paperback, $18.95.
This, his seventh book, is John Bowers' fictional memoir based upon his experience growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee. The author is now retired after twenty years teaching writing at Columbia University. "If the reader does not alreadty know and cherish the inimitable John Bowers, Love in Tennessee will launch a love affair--John Bowers' memoir of sexual yearning and thwarted passions incorporates scenes of piercing truth.... His love of the past, his birth place and his first girlfriends will entertain as they tear at one's heart."
Alyce Faye Bragg. Laughter from the Hills. Charleston: Quarrier Press, 2009. 182 pages. Trade paperback, $12.95.
This is the third book from Bragg, a popular columnist in the Charleston Gazette and the Clay County Free Press. It follows This Holler is My Home and Homesick for the Hills. The author has six children, twenty-two grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren.
Wayne Caldwell. Requiem by Fire. New York: Random House, 2010. 334 pages with illustrations. Hardback with dust jacket, $25.00.
Wayne Caldwell's first novel, Cataloochee, presented a fictional portrait of early 20th-century life in a corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is remote but dear to the hearts of practically all who have ventured there. The book achieved an enviable popular and critical following. Requiem by Fire, the sequel, carries the story forward by telling the dramatic story of the National Park Service's removal of the more than one thousand residents of the Cataloochee Valley. "On a tightrope between humor and heartbreak, Requiem by Fire is an uncompromising story of a doomed community, a rewarding journey into the high mountains."--John Ehle. Wayne Caldwell "is an Appalachian treasure, but Requiem by Fire's story of love and loss transcends regional concerns to speak to all places and all people."--Ron Rash.
Tim Callahan. Dark Days in Morgan County. Mustang, Okla.: Tate Publishing and Enterprises, 2009. 307 pages. Trade paperback, $16.99.
This is the third book in the Kentucky Summers series. It tells the story of the drama that is stirred up when a black family moves into a rural area in i960.
Howard Carlberg, Marvin Carlberg, and Patricia L. Stephens. Images of America: Berea. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2009. 127 pages with photos, bibliography, and timeline. Trade paperback, $2i.99.
At the top of the back cover of this book are the words, "In 1853, emancipationist Cassius M. Clay gave a portion of his land holdings in central Kentucky to Rev. …