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The Most They Ever Had | [Rick Bragg]

The Most They Ever Had

In 2001, a community of people in the Appalachian foothills had come to the edge of all they had ever been. Across the South, padlocks and chains bound the doors of silent mills, and it seemed a miracle to blue-collar people in Jacksonville, Alabama, that their mill still bit, shook, and roared. The mill had become almost a living thing, and they served it even as it filled their lungs with lint and shortened their lives. In return, it let them live in stiff-necked dignity in the hills of their fathers.
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Publisher's Summary

In 2001, a community of people in the Appalachian foothills had come to the edge of all they had ever been. Across the South, padlocks and chains bound the doors of silent mills, and it seemed a miracle to blue-collar people in Jacksonville, Alabama, that their mill still bit, shook, and roared. The mill had become almost a living thing, and they served it even as it filled their lungs with lint and shortened their lives. In return, it let them live in stiff-necked dignity in the hills of their fathers.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (48 )
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4.3 (28 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Toney, AL United States 01-15-10
    Mark Toney, AL United States 01-15-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 12-14-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 12-14-09 Member Since 2015
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    "Hard Driving Prose"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-24-10
    Cheryl Los Angeles, CA, United States 09-24-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Another good book from Rick Bragg"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara A. Witte 05-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Now I Understand"
    If you could sum up The Most They Ever Had in three words, what would they be?

    Poignant, Tender, Compassionate


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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."


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sheila moore 01-13-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved the history of the people and the mills."

    Being from south, I love to hear Rick Bragg narrate his books. Enjoyed the book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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