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Vaughn Public Library - Ashland

Ancestor trouble: a reckoning and a reconciliation
(Book)

Book Cover
Average Rating
Published:
New York : Random House, [2022].
Format:
Book
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Desc:
xviii, 378 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : black and white photographs ; 25 cm
Status:
Description
“Extraordinary and wide-ranging . . . a literary feat that simultaneously builds and excavates identity.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
 
Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club Pick • An acclaimed writer goes searching for the truth about her wildly unconventional Southern family—and finds that our obsession with ancestors opens up new ways of seeing ourselves—in this “brilliant mix of personal memoir and cultural observation” (The Boston Globe).

Maud Newton’s ancestors have vexed and fascinated her since she was a girl. Her mother’s father, who came of age in Texas during the Great Depression, was said to have married thirteen times and been shot by one of his wives. Her mother’s grandfather killed a man with a hay hook and died in an institution. Mental illness and religious fanaticism percolated through Maud’s maternal lines back to an ancestor accused of being a witch in Puritan-era Massachusetts. Maud’s father, an aerospace engineer turned lawyer, was an educated man who extolled the virtues of slavery and obsessed over the “purity” of his family bloodline, which he traced back to the Revolutionary War. He tried in vain to control Maud’s mother, a whirlwind of charisma and passion given to feverish projects: thirty rescue cats, and a church in the family’s living room where she performed exorcisms.

Her parents’ divorce, when it came, was a relief. Still, her position at the intersection of her family bloodlines inspired in Newton inspired an anxiety that she could not shake, a fear that she would replicate their damage. She saw similar anxieties in the lives of friends, in the works of writers and artists she admired. As obsessive in her own way as her parents, Newton researched her genealogy—her grandfather’s marriages, the accused witch, her ancestors’ roles in slavery and genocide—and sought family secrets through her DNA. But immersed in census archives and cousin matches, she yearned for deeper truths. Her journey took her into the realms of genetics, epigenetics, and the debates over intergenerational trauma. She mulled over modernity’s dismissal of ancestors along with psychoanalytic and spiritual traditions that center them.

Searching, moving, and inspiring, Ancestor Trouble is one writer’s attempt to use genealogy—a once-niche hobby that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry—to expose the secrets and contradictions of her own ancestors, and to argue for the transformational possibilities that reckoning with our ancestors offers all of us.
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Call Number
Status
Last Check-In
Ashland Adult Nonfiction
929.2 NEW
Due Jun 8, 2022
Location
Call Number
Status
Last Check-In
Eagle River Adult Nonfiction
929.2 NEW
Available
Superior Adult Nonfiction
NEW 929.2 N485a
Available
May 9, 2022
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Other Editions and Formats
More Details
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780812997927, 0812997921

Notes

Bibliography
Includes bibliographic references and index.
Description
"Maud Newton's ancestors have vexed and fascinated her since she was a girl. Her mother's father, who came of age during the Great Depression in Texas, was supposedly married thirteen times, and survived being shot in the stomach by one of his wives. His father purportedly killed a man in the street with a hay hook, and later died in a mental institution. On her father's side, a Massachusetts ancestor was accused of being a witch, who cast sickness on her neighbor's ox and was later tried in court for causing the death of a child. Maud's father had a master's in aerospace engineering on scholarship from an Ivy League university and was valedictorian of his law school class; he also viewed slavery as a benevolent institution that should never have been disbanded, and would paint over the faces of brown children in her storybooks. He was obsessed with maintaining the purity of his family bloodline, which he could trace back to the days of the Revolutionary War. Her mother was a whirlwind of charisma and passions that could become obsessions; she kept over thirty cats and birds in a tiny two-bedroom apartment, and later started a church in her living room, where she would perform exorcisms. Maud's parents' marriage was acrimonious, their divorce a relief. But the meeting of their lines in her was something she could not shake. She signed up for an online account and began researching her genealogy. She found records of marriages and trials, wills in which her ancestors gave slaves to their spouses and children. The search took over her life. But as she dabbled in DNA testing and found herself sunk in census archives at 1 o'clock in the morning, it was unclear to her what she was looking for. She wanted a truth that would set her free, in a way she hadn't identified yet. This book seeks to understand why the practice of genealogy has become a multi-billion-dollar industry in contemporary America, while also mining the secrets and contradictions of one singularly memorable family history"--,Provided by publisher.
Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Newton, M. (2022). Ancestor trouble: a reckoning and a reconciliation. First edition. New York: Random House.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Newton, Maud. 2022. Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation. New York: Random House.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Newton, Maud, Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation. New York: Random House, 2022.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Newton, Maud. Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation. First edition. New York: Random House, 2022. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Grouped Work ID:
ea2f76c4-29ce-046d-6860-429b04b37172
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Record Information

Last Sierra Extract TimeMay 18, 2022 03:23:59 PM
Last File Modification TimeMay 18, 2022 03:24:05 PM
Last Grouped Work Modification TimeMay 23, 2022 04:40:32 AM

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