In these real-life stories, Rick Bragg brilliantly evokes the hardscrabble lives of those who lived and died by an American cotton mill.
©2009 Rick Bragg; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"It is hard to think of a writer who reminds us more forcefully and wonderfully of what people and families are all about." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bragg again creates a soulful, poignant portrait of working-class Southern life." (Publishers Weekly)
I look forward to books by Rick Bragg and this one, like his others, is well written. While all of his books describe the difficulties of life in the rural south, this one is more somber than his other books. There was a tone of bitterness in parts of the book. I recommend it but not as much as Ava's Man.
Rick Bragg is at his best when writing about those who play by the rules, but struggle none-the-less. This book, however, is special even among his other volumes. It centers on a cotton mill in the middle of the last century. I see my mother and dad in these stories though they worked in different industries. This book is a kick in the pants to all of us who have a problem - a hard days physical work might kill us.
Thank you Bragg for touching the conscience. This listen isn't very long, but will be well worth the time to anyone and everyone.
Poignant, Tender, Compassionate
The female characters were my favorites because my mom and all her sisters worked in Springs Cotton Mills in Lancaster, SC. South Carolina mills went the way of the Alabama mills and were closed. A few of my uncles also worked in the mills, and even though they never talked about it, I am sure they experienced some of the same injuries as the Alabama mill workers.
Description of Flora, the 1960s cotton picker, who picked cotton on her days' off from the cotton mill to earn a few extra dollars so she could buy a few luxuries for her home and children. Buying one or two yards of fabric to cover a couch or make a dress was a big event for my aunts and their children.
When Rick read the hymns that were sung in the churches, I was transported back to Beaver Creek Baptist Church in Heath Springs where my mom's family attended Sunday school and the church service every Sunday morning. When I was a young girl, I went to Vacation Bible School at Beaver Creek and can still hear my Aunt Sara playing the piano for us as we were singing "Jesus Loves Me."
Having Rick Bragg read his own words from his book is a wonderful addition to the written word. There is something very special about his voice and the timing of phrases that makes the chapters come to life even more.
I also look forward to Rick Bragg's books and this is another good story. Bragg doesn't just write books, he makes art. He says he wrote the stories of these people because he thinks it is important - so do I and I am glad to have met them through this book. His books are favorites in my library and I recommend them, especially Ava's Man, to friends. His narration of his own books makes the listen even more enjoyable.
Rick brings a terrible time to life of poor southerner, of the generation of my parents. Although my folks did not live as mill workers, they experienced some of the same hard labor and short funds. I am 60 and I remember going back to Mississippi to visit my grandparents; daddy got out of that life before I was born and I never was comfortable with the tough, wild, and somewhat mean side of the family. This gives me insight into their history that my folks did not wish to discuss with me. It makes me appreciate what my daddy did to make my life so much better. Thank you, Rick Bragg, for capturing the true plight of these people and many like them.
Living in the South and listening to Rick tell the story about the textile mills is like hearing an old friend at the kitchen table talking about your people and our history like only he can tell it. I enjoyed it immensely!
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