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God's Little Acre

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Overview


Like Tobacco Road, this novel chronicles the final decline of a poor white family in rural Georgia. Exhorted by their patriarch Ty Ty, the Waldens ruin their land by digging it up in search of gold. Complex sexual entanglements and betrayals lead to a murder within the family that completes its dissolution. Juxtaposed against the Waldens' obsessive search is the story of Ty Ty's son-in-law, a cotton mill worker in a nearby town who is killed during a strike.

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Overview


Like Tobacco Road, this novel chronicles the final decline of a poor white family in rural Georgia. Exhorted by their patriarch Ty Ty, the Waldens ruin their land by digging it up in search of gold. Complex sexual entanglements and betrayals lead to a murder within the family that completes its dissolution. Juxtaposed against the Waldens' obsessive search is the story of Ty Ty's son-in-law, a cotton mill worker in a nearby town who is killed during a strike.

First published in 1933, God's Little Acre was censured by the Georgia Literary Commission, banned in Boston, and once led the all-time best-seller list, with more than ten million copies in print.

This novel chronicles the final decline of a white family in rural Georgia. Exhorted by their patriarch Ty Ty, the Waldens ruin their land by digging it up in search of gold. Complex sexual entanglements and betrayals lead to a murder within the family.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What William Faulkner implies, Erskine Caldwell records."--Chicago Tribune

"Caldwell is one of the best . . . a master illusionist who can create, as Hemingway did, an impression of absolute reality."--Time Magazine

"A beautifully integrated story of the barren southern farm and the shut southern mill, and one of the finest studies of the southern poor white which has ever come into our literature. Writing in the brutal images of the life of his poor white people, Mr. Caldwell has caught in poetic quality the debased and futile aspiration of men and women restless in a world of long hungers which must be satisfied quickly, if at all."--Saturday Review of Literature

Library Journal
The X-rated scenes in this comic portrayal of rural Georgia life probably seem less shocking than they did in 1933 when the book was first published. They may also seem less amusing. While a dirt farmer named Ty Ty Walden spends 15 years digging holes in his fields looking for gold, his hot-headed sons do less digging and more squabbling over women. Add a lascivious brother-in-law who has been laid off from his job in a mill, another brother from the city who shows up to steal his brother's wife, and a promiscuous sister named Darlin' Jill, and the final blowup is hardly surprising. But there are other less predictable surprises as the story veers toward melodrama. With murder and rape following a killing at the mill, it is as if Caldwell flipped a switch from "farce" to "tragedy." This puts the narrator on the spot, even one as skilled as Buck Schirner. Inevitably, Schirner's hilarious hillbilly accent, which sounds so right at the beginning of the book, becomes a near travesty as the final tragedies unfold. Only academic collections need consider.-Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.
Booknews
**** Reprint, in U. of Georgia Press' Brown Thrasher Books, of the classic originally published by Viking in 1933 (cited in BCL3). New (4p.) foreword by Lewis Nordan. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820316635
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Series: Brown Thrasher Books Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 307,737
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author


Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) was born in Newnan, Georgia. He became one of America's most widely read, prolific, and critically debated writers, with a literary output of more than sixty titles. At the time of his death, Caldwell's books had sold eighty million copies worldwide in more than forty languages. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1984.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    Keeping Peace in the Family!

    God¿s Little Acre is Mr. Erskine Caldwell¿s expanded vision of the themes he developed so powerfully in Tobacco Road. Although written in the depths of the Depression, God¿s Little Acre raises many issues about personal freedom and responsibility that will evoke the debates of the 60¿s and 70¿s in your mind. To me, the book still seems controversial, both for its approval of sexual license and for Ty Ty Walden¿s religious arguments in its favor. The story has an amazing balance in its presentation, with both a female and a male character pursuing their appetites in unfettered ways. As with Tobacco Road, God¿s Little Acre also explores the dangers and temptations of obsession. God¿s Little Acre is also interesting in its sensitive treatment of African-American sharecroppers, who are described as both exploited unfairly and as being more aware of human relationships than the Waldens are. This sympathetic treatment reminded me of some of the better parts of Huckleberry Finn. Like Tobacco Road, Mr. Caldwell balances anger, greed, humor, desire and sadness so that almost every event leaves you feeling unsettled and uncomfortable with your conflicted emotions, sometimes even while you are laughing. Whatever you think of the book¿s messages, you cannot help but be impressed by the raw storytelling power of Mr. Caldwell¿s prose and imagination. Reading this book caused me to examine the things that attract me, to try to test more objectively whether they bring benefit or harm if I pursue them. Clearly, obsession can bring a special kind of blindness. The ultimate example for me in the book was Ty Ty¿s desire to be ¿scientific¿ but rejecting the only ¿scientific¿ information that was offered to him about his obsession with finding wealth. May you find the satisfactions that only balance in life¿s pursuits can bring. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2014

    A super novel!

    This book was on the no-no list when I was in high school several years ago, so this is the first time I read it. It is one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in a long time. I doubt whether today's feminists would agree with Griselda's notion of what it takes to be a "real man," but the interactions of the several characters is fascinating. Getting a glimpse of the culture in the depression-era South makes it worthwhile all by itself. Sexual tension among the characters is a predominant theme, but there is nothing graphic that would offend the really squeamish. This is the kind of novel where you keep thinking about the characters after you've finished the book (Ty Ty Walden and Will Thompson are especially complex personalities).

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  • Posted October 17, 2014

    Check out this book.Very good.

    Excellant reading A++

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Dated american depression era noire

    And as depressiing as the era some became classic movies b/w

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2014

    A truly great read.  You feel as if you are there living with th

    A truly great read.  You feel as if you are there living with the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

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    0 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 7, 2011

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    Posted November 28, 2009

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    Posted November 19, 2014

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