The Rising in the West: The True Story of an "Okie" Family in Search of the American Dream

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is a biography of a family in California's Central Valley. I grew up in this valley, so I had an interest in the book. It easily surpassed my expectations, being a combination of state history, national interest, and sheer drama. *** As I read about the Tatham family, I felt like I was reading my own family history. They came out on US 66 from Oklahoma, my grandfather came out on US 66 from Arkansas. They have a deep Pentecostal background, my family has a deep Pentecostal background. They were simple people who made it big in different ways, my family is simple and many of them have made it big. They had a multimillionaire, Bill Tatham, who worked with Donald Trump, while I had a great uncle multimillionaire who consulted with Governor Ronald Reagan. In fact, I would read about Oca's six kids and say, 'yep, that's my cousin, and that's my aunt, and that there is my sister . . . ' *** And the attitudes Morgan writes about are similar, too: the Okies, the Depression generation that sets down roots in California, bringing their Okie culture into hostile territory,, their kids who find themselves caught between the Dust Bowl culture and California life,, *their* kids, the true Californians, relating their family's values in the only state they've known. It's remarkably true, considering that Morgan is a journalist with the Washington Post. *** Morgan's description of the Tathams' faith journey is a little weak, gets a few facts wrong, and in some places doesn't quite grasp the importance the family put in their faith in Jesus Christ. Morgan identified himself as a 'stuffy Episcopalian', so in a way, he's an outsider writing about a deeply personal, and sometimes complicated, church life. But it does give a good introduction to us Pentecostals, and again, I can relate: the book goes into some detail about Aimee Semple McPherson, Ray Stedman, Rick Howard, Demos Shakarian, and Tommy Barnett, all prominent ministers I am very acquainted with. I certainly relate to granddaughter Cindy, who's my age, and her God journey in the secular San Francisco area. *** Overall, it's a big book I have a hard time putting down, and would be a great one for history lovers and those wondering what came after 'The Grapes Of Wrath'. *** P.S. I loaned the book to my father, and he had the same reaction I did. 'Where did you find this book, Ron?'

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