Happily Sometimes After: Discovering Stories from Twelve Generations of an American Family

Happily Sometimes After: Discovering Stories from Twelve Generations of an American Family

by Andie Tucher




For more than four hundred years, members of the author's family have been telling stories about their American lives. They have told of impassioned elopements and heart-breaking kidnaps, of hairbreadth escapes and shocking murders, of bigamists, changelings, patriots, Indians, fires, floods, and how the great-grandmother of Chief Justice John Marshall married the pirate Blackbeard by mistake.

In this beautifully written work, Andie Tucher considers family stories as another way to look at history, neither from the top down nor the bottom up but from the inside out. She explores not just what happened—everywhere from Jamestown to Boonesborough, from the bloody field at Chickamauga to the metropolis of the Gilded Age—but also what the storytellers thought or wished or hoped or feared happened. She offers insights into what they valued, what they lost, how they judged their own lives and found meaning in them. The narrative touches on sorrow, recompense, love, pain, and the persistent tension between hope and disappointment in a nation that by making the pursuit of happiness thinkable also made unhappiness regrettable.

Based on extensive research in archives, local history societies, and family-history sources as well as conversations and correspondence, Happily Sometimes After offers an intimate and unusual perspective on how ordinary people used stories to imagine the world they wished for, and what those stories reveal about their relationships with the world they actually had.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625341280
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Publication date: 11/30/2014
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Andie Tucher is associate professor of communications at Columbia Journalism School. She is author of Froth and Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America's First Mass Medium, winner of the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians. https://www.facebook.com/happilysometimesafter?_rdr=p

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Seeking Paradise in the New World 11

2 Camelot in the Tobacco Fields 41

3 Declaring Independence 71

4 The Kentucky Pioneers Speak Out 111

5 The Civil War, Real and Unreal 159

6 Damned Yankees 215

7 Grandmother Grace 247

Abbreviations 261

Notes 263

Index 291

What People are Saying About This

Kathy Roberts Forde

A highly original and wonderfully written book. Happily Sometimes After tells the fascinating and often gruesome stories of the author's many ancestors, but its larger purpose is to explore the nature and role of stories in knitting families together across decades and centuries.

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