Gullah is both a language and a people,"" Branch states in her first book, and she goes on to explore the history, heritage, and culture of these descendents of slaves in a mix of memoir and workmanlike exposition. ""Gullah"" refers to the mix of English and West African languages as well as the 150,000 African-Americans who live along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, especially on the Sea Islands. Branch effectively limns the religious faith and traditions, folklore, language, and arts of this fascinating group; she strikes an inspirational tone by weaving much personal observation and anecdote into the text. The result, a mâ€šlange of interviews, oral history, and background facts, is not completely successful, but most readers will find this compelling material. Branch's is a unique contribution, filling a significant gap in African-American history; the book should be on every shelf.