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Publisher's Summary

Charlie Bundrum was a roofer, a carpenter, a whiskey-maker, a fisherman who knew every inch of the Coosa River, made boats out of car hoods and knew how to pack a wound with brown sugar to stop the blood. He could not read, but he asked his wife, Ava, to read him the paper every day so he would not be ignorant. He was a man who took giant steps in rundown boots, a true hero whom history would otherwise have overlooked.


In the decade of the Great Depression, Charlie moved his family 21 times, keeping seven children one step ahead of the poverty and starvation that threatened them from every side. He worked at the steel mill when the steel was rolling, or for a side of bacon or a bushel of peaches when it wasn't. He paid the doctor who delivered his fourth daughter, Margaret - the author's mother - with a jar of whiskey. He understood the finer points of the law as it applied to poor people and drinking men; he was a banjo player and a buck dancer who worked off fines when life got a little sideways, and he sang when he was drunk, where other men fought or cussed. He had a talent for living. His children revered him. When he died, cars lined the blacktop for more than a mile.


Rick Bragg has built a soaring monument to the grandfather he never knew - a father who stood by his family in hard times and left a backwoods legend behind - in an audiobook that blazes withi his love for his family, and for a particular stretch of dirt road along the Alabama-Georgia border. A powerfully intimate piece of American history as it was experienced by the working people of the deep South, a glorious record of a life of character, tenacity and indomitable joy, and an unforgettable tribute to a vanishing culture, Ava's Man is Rick Bragg at his stunning best.

©2001 by Rick Bragg (P)2001 Random House Inc., Random House AudioBooks, a Division of Random House Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Best Narration by Author or Authors

"A soulful, poignant portrait." (Publishers Weekly)

"No one writes about the South like Bragg...[his] empathy and humanity shine throughout." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • Boone, NC United States
  • 08-12-03

Deeply moving

I saw Rick Bragg on a Sunday morning interview show and immediately downloaded his book. This book is simultaneously amusing, humbling, deeply moving, and inspiring. Mr. Bragg's engaging narration contributes significantly to the overall experience. I am eagerly awaiting access to his other novels.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful Story of Family

I found the beginning of the book a bit disjointed and hard to follow, but once it settled in, I found myself enthralled in the story. Its the story of a simple man who did the best he could, and the people who loved him. Rick Bragg has a wonderful gift of telling a story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Martha
  • rapid city, SD, USA
  • 04-03-03

i liked it

a historical look at one families history - along with the way the economics and history of the era and area affected them - It was also interesting to hear the musings of the author relating his relatives experiences in the past to his own current activities.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bragg reading his own work = great big treat

Rick Bragg delves into his family history, mostly to find out about his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, who he never met and no one in the family would talk much about. Bragg interviewed family members and then interlaced their memories to make Ava's Man. You actually learn much more about the Bundrum side of Bragg's family than you did in All Over But the Shoutin', which is about the author's mother (although it is substantially about the author's career in journalism). Great familial and regional lore. Sentence-to-sentence, Bragg just gets better with each book. And it is so marvelous to have Bragg read. When books have a Southern setting, the readers are generally not Southerners and feel they must try on a "Southern accent," which always ends up sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. Very distasteful. Great writing and fantastic reading.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pam
  • FAYETTEVILLE, AR, United States
  • 05-04-12

Love the author and his grandfather too!

If you have ever loved a rascal, particularly a Southern rascal, then you will love this book. If you are a Daddy's girl, then you will love this book. It is a biography of Rick Bragg's grandfather, a most extraordinary man, and it is written by an extraordinary author whose bloodline runs true. Thank you, Mr. Bragg, for sharing Charlie with us... I loved him too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Great Listen!

Great story and great read by a wonderful author/narrator. A tribute to his maternal grandfather who helped make him into the man he ultimately became. If you were a fan of The Glass Castle or Angela's Ashes's, you may want to give this a listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Writer

If you appreciate the southern voice, Rick Bragg is the guy for you. He has the knack of writing in a voice that many can speak but few can capture on paper. Great book. His previous book "All Over But The Shouting" is exceptional

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So Enjoyable!

As with all of Rick Braggs books that I have listened to, this one is just as wonderful! Words alone can't describe the pure joy I get from listening to his books.
Rick Bragg has a clear and pleasant voice with a southern drawl.
I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite auditable book.

To have one of the best story tellers read one of his best books....doesn't get any better than this. Thank you, Rick.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Movie Worthy

I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner. I have the signed paperback, but listening on Audible is the next best thing because the author himself is the narrator. I finished it yesterday, but it was so good I’m listening to it again today. This seriously should be made into a movie. Thank you, Rick Bragg, for telling our story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful