Book - 1971
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Random House, Inc.
The National Book Award-winning author of So Long, See You Tomorrow offers an astonishing evocation of a vanished world, as he retraces, branch by branch, the history of his family, taking readers into the lives of settlers, itinerant preachers, and small businessmen, examining the way they saw their world and how they imagined the world to come.

Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1971
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679759294
Characteristics: 311 p. 23 cm
Alternative Title: Ancestors, a family history


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Jul 02, 2017

Maxwell traces his family history as far back as he can in all lines, beginning with the stories he hears as a child and attempting to research them. Most of his family spent several generations in TN before ending up in Lincoln, IL, a small town outside Springfield. A few were from New England, proud of their Mayflower heritage (which turns out to be false, though some did arrive in 1638). A large chunk of the middle of the book tells the story of Barton Stone, the founder of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and his follower, Alexander Campbell. Maxwell says he thought that section would be about 6 pages long, but it kept expanding as he did his research. Some will find this boring, and it can be skipped. I found it completely fascinating, as one of my great great grandfathers was a minister in this denomination and it helped me understand him. Maxwell stresses this aspect because his family connects with Campbell, and is greatly influenced by the church. It's especially interesting because the Maxwells and their relatives followed the rigid precepts of the Christian Church. Today they're one of the more progressive denominations. And following the church doesn't stop the generations he knows from being individuals, some of whom he loves more than others. Anybody who enjoys family sagas, especially about country life, should enjoy this book. Maxwell doesn't give away the fact that he ended up as a major writer and publisher in New York City.


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