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And Their Children after Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of the Cotton in the South
     

And Their Children after Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of the Cotton in the South

by Dale Maharidge
 

"A stunning sequel to the James Agee—Walker Evans' classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It is at times astonishing, at all times deeply moving."-Studs Terkel

"A book that reaches into this country's heart of darkness. . . . A tragically human story more telling than a thousand polls. The photographs by Mr. Williamson are eloquent."-Herbert

Overview

"A stunning sequel to the James Agee—Walker Evans' classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It is at times astonishing, at all times deeply moving."-Studs Terkel

"A book that reaches into this country's heart of darkness. . . . A tragically human story more telling than a thousand polls. The photographs by Mr. Williamson are eloquent."-Herbert Mitgang, New York Times

"Mr. Williamson's photos are spellbinding and should become instant classics."-John Elvin, Washington Times

In this paperback reissue, an author/photographer team returns to the land and families captured in James Agee and Walker Evans's inimitable masterwork Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, extending the project of conscience and chronicling the traumatic decline of King Cotton. In 1936, during a brief window of national attention to the topic, Fortune magazine commissioned from Agee and Evans a story on poverty among tenant farmers in Alabama. Agee was famously ambivalent in his role, calling himself a spy and ultimately delivering a book-length manuscript unpublishable in magazine form. With this continuation of Agee and Evans's work, Maharidge and Williamson not only uncover some surprising historical secrets relating to the families and to Agee himself, but also effectively lay to rest Agee's fear that his work, from lack of reverence or resilience, would be but another offense to the humanity of its subjects.

Williamson's 90-part photo essay includes updates alongside Evans' classic originals.

Dale Maharidge (Homeland, Journey to Nowhere) has been a visiting professor of journalism at Columbia University and Stanford, and a NiemanFellow at Harvard University in 1998.

Michael Williamson is a photographer for the Washington Post who won a second Pulitzer for his coverage of the war in Kosovo.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The collaborative effort of photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, portrayed the lives of three sharecropper families in the South during the Depression, giving witness to the tyranny of the tenant farming system that enslaved some nine million tenants in 1936. Their book was at once poetic, scathing, compelling, and tragic. Fifty years later, Maharidge and Williamson have revisited, photographed, and interviewed the surviving members and descendants of the Gudger, Ricketts, and Woods families shown in that book. There are so many lives in this saga that it is difficult to keep everyone straight, and the many stories of hardship caused by cotton and the struggle to leave it behind feel less like document than fiction. A fascinating work, nonetheless.-- Ann Copeland, Drew Univ. Lib., Madison, N.J.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394577661
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/13/1989
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
262

Meet the Author

Dale Maharidge has taught at Columbia and Stanford University and was a 1988 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Michael Williamson, a staff photographer at the Washington Post, won a second Pultitzer Prize in 2000 for his Kosovo war photography.

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