Generations: An American Family

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Overview

Burnam Ledford was born in the year that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and the United States celebrated its one hundredth birthday. He married Addie King the day after the Wright brothers flew through the air at Kitty Hawk. Burnam and Addie lived their lives in Kentucky, raised children, worked and matured and saw the world widen. John Egerton met them in 1977. He was looking for a family that he "could present to the reader as a metaphor for America." Burnam was 101 and Addie was 93 when they ...
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Overview

Burnam Ledford was born in the year that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and the United States celebrated its one hundredth birthday. He married Addie King the day after the Wright brothers flew through the air at Kitty Hawk. Burnam and Addie lived their lives in Kentucky, raised children, worked and matured and saw the world widen. John Egerton met them in 1977. He was looking for a family that he "could present to the reader as a metaphor for America." Burnam was 101 and Addie was 93 when they embarked on the extraordinary series of reminiscences that eventually enabled Egerton to delineate a family portrait embracing 250 years and nine generations.

The Ledfords felt history as a living chain to which they personally belonged. Generations offers that bond to the reader, with a vision -- both striking and poignant -- of this nation's human, historical riches.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Riveting." -- Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review

"A chronicle of the Ledfords that invites us all to contemplate a realistic picture of how -- family by family, homestead by village by city -- our multifaceted country came to be." -- Chevy Chaser

"Egerton's technique of taking the reader through the process of writing the book with the Ledfords gives the reader a glimpse of the subjects' thought processes, attitudes, intelligence and wit. Burnam and Addie Ledford left us all a history that is at once unique to them and quintessentially Kentuckian." -- Kentucky Monthly

"An exemplary work of oral history.... This anniversary edition invites a new audience to the pleasures of local and regional history as interpreted by a master journalist through the voices of those who lived it." -- Lexington Herald-Leader

"In Egerton's hands, the Ledfords' memoirs are a tale of America itself: a social history that not only gets to the heart of being American, but, for an anthropological standpoint, also describes the way meaning is transmitted and preserved within social groups." -- Nashville Scene

"There is no way to read this book without coming away with a deeper appreciation of what America is all about." -- Nashville Tennessean

"Egerton urges us to recall, record, write down and remember the tales and traditions that make us the people we are." -- Nashville Tennessean

"In Egerton's hands, their story becomes a small American epic.... Generations illustrates the power of memory and the spoken word.... His accomplishment is as durable and as loving as the Ledfords' lives." -- Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813114828
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 6/20/1983
  • Edition number: 26
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Homecoming, 1978 1
1 The Last Ones Left 18
2 Curtis Burnam Ledford 26
3 Addie King Ledford 37
4 The Beginnings: Aley and Betsy 44
5 Aley's Story, 1789-1873 49
6 Goodbye, Harlan Country: Burnam, 1876-1903 80
7 A Craving Woman: Addie, 1885-1903 105
8 Tracing the Path of Aley 116
9 At Home in Garrard County: Addie, 1903-1928 145
10 Irons in the Fire: Burnam, 1903-1928 164
11 A Nice Place for Old People 185
12 Children of Burnam and Addie 198
13 A Quieter Time: Burnam and Addie, 1928-1953 228
14 The Scattered Seed: Grands and Great-Grands 245
15 The Scattered Seed: More Grands and Great-Grands 268
16 Harlan One More Time 283
17 A Safe Harbor: Burnam and Addie, 1953-1978 308
18 Waiting for April: Burnam and Addie, 1979-1982 324
Homecoming, 1983 339
Afterword, 2003 343
The Family of Curtis Burnam Ledford (1876-1983) and Addie King Ledford (1885-1987) as of June 2003 354
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2000

    Great Historical account of my relatives!

    I stumbled onto this about my own relatives! Interestingly told I could imagine myself there fleeing from the indians! I wish you would contact the author for me, I'd be interested in hearing the tape recordings of my relative he interviewed for this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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