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Erskine Caldwell: A Biography (review)

Erskine Caldwell: A Biography (review) Reviews119 competent family history and a full-fledged social and economic history of the lower Mississippi Valley. For all of her skill at reconstructing her family's life along the lower Gulf Coast, Jackson fails to deliver on the promise "to tell the story of the river itself." While Jackson ably provides secondary treatments of river commerce, rivermen, and the growth of industry along "the American Ruhr," the book lacks the lyricism and sweep of Hodding Carter's Lower Mississippi. There are two shortcomings to the book. First, Jackson often misses the opportunity to draw larger connections to history. For example, readers will wonder how the constant movement of Jackson family members from town to town around the tum of the cen- tury related to weaknesses in the farm and low-wage economy of the South at the time. Second, Jackson relies heavily on oral history interviews with family members supplemented by research in secondary sources. At times long portions of the narrative are based solely on the memories of Oliver Jackson, since the family kept few letters and are mentioned in few public records and documentary sources. The book would be more effective if it focused more on the lower Mississippi http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

Erskine Caldwell: A Biography (review)

Southern Cultures , Volume 2 (1) – Jan 4, 1995

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
Publisher site
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Abstract

Reviews119 competent family history and a full-fledged social and economic history of the lower Mississippi Valley. For all of her skill at reconstructing her family's life along the lower Gulf Coast, Jackson fails to deliver on the promise "to tell the story of the river itself." While Jackson ably provides secondary treatments of river commerce, rivermen, and the growth of industry along "the American Ruhr," the book lacks the lyricism and sweep of Hodding Carter's Lower Mississippi. There are two shortcomings to the book. First, Jackson often misses the opportunity to draw larger connections to history. For example, readers will wonder how the constant movement of Jackson family members from town to town around the tum of the cen- tury related to weaknesses in the farm and low-wage economy of the South at the time. Second, Jackson relies heavily on oral history interviews with family members supplemented by research in secondary sources. At times long portions of the narrative are based solely on the memories of Oliver Jackson, since the family kept few letters and are mentioned in few public records and documentary sources. The book would be more effective if it focused more on the lower Mississippi

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 4, 1995

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