WAITING FOR RAIN

A FARMER'S STORY

The biography of an ordinary man, a farmer named Archie Clare. Butterworth (Writing and Literature/Morehead State Univ.) starts with a minute description of Archie's day—a circuit he drives in his ancient pickup truck, through a section of sandy farmland on the western edge of North Carolina's coastal plain. There is a drought during the summer of 1986, when much of the book is set, and Archie looks mostly at parched crops: corn, soy beans, tobacco and cotton, all planted on rented land. Archie, in his late 50s, is slowly going broke—slowly, because the endless paperwork that describes modern farming carries him through bad years, with loans and subsidies. On the other hand, debts keep accumulating, with never enough good years to crawl out from under them. Butterworth traces the history of the region, and of Archie's family, all of them farmers. Corn and soy beans were never the best crops here; cotton is no longer profitable. Archie has a tobacco allotment, once an almost magical assurance of prosperity, but now tobacco, tainted as carcinogenic, is running out of time. As the book progresses, with exquisite portraits of Archie's family, the sharecropping neighbors, and the bleak, nearly blown-away town of Wayfare, Archie comes to the unsentimental conclusion that he must find another way to make a living. He tries several things and finally settles on logging in the swamp, which is dangerous but pays well; slowly, the mountain of debt dissolves. Archie is a hardscrabbling, Camel-smoking, admirable rural male, and Butterworth clearly admires him for his determination, his solidity, and his adaptability. Archie is also, in Butterworth's view, an endangered species, and through the almost minimalist accretion of detail here we feel the heat on the highway and hear the dry corn rustle, and mourn the loss of a way of life. A fine and moving work.

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-945575-78-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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