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And Their Children After Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South
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And Their Children After Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In And Their Children After Them, the writer/photographer team Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson return to the land and families captured in James Agee and Walker Evans’s inimitable Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, extending the project of conscience and chronicling the traumatic decline of King Cotton. With this continuation of Agee and Evans’s project, Maharidge and Wil ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Seven Stories Press (first published May 13th 1989)
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Jul 22, 2013 Jon added it
I admit it--I've never been able to get through James Agee's LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN. (Gore Vidal agreed with me, for what that's worth.) Agee's clotted, pseudo-Faulkner prose always seemed like the ultimate insult to the sharecroppers he was writing about: not only did these people lead wretched lives, but when a journalist took an interest in them, he turned out not to be a good writer. (Agee's film reviews are all I can stand of him.) I would have preferred a more straightforward reporto ...more
I thought this book was fantastic. Where I found "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" to be slightly tedious and the language to be ridiculously flowery in places, this book was straightforward. It briefly told the story of its predecessor, then expounded. The writers exposed the effects that the poverty had on following generations. James Agee's personal issues and motivations were also mentioned, which made some of his own writing seem a little more clear. I found the person of Garvrin Arlo to be pa ...more
Maureen Stanton
This is an interesting account, which looks back at James Agee's and Walker Evan's book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, offering a context and history for that project (and some criticism), while also furthering the exploration by looking at the lives the next generation. This books is not hyper-lyrical like Agee's, but it's solidly researched and very well written. A fascinating account that illuminates Agee's project while shedding more light on the history and sociocultural aspects of rural so ...more
The Plight Continues …

After being mesmerized by the snapshot presented in “Cotton Tenants” (the publishing of James Agee’s original Fortune magazine article detailing three Alabama cotton farming families in 1936 and the basis for his book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”), I was compelled to find out what happened to those families after Agee’s visit. AND THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM illustrates the depressing post-Agee lives of those families as well highlighting the destitution and racial divide t
The realities that Maharidge writes about in this book are just that for a lot of people, reality. I found his writing to be very honest and poignant in most cases. The way he brings these people, their towns, their lives to light, is done so in a way as not to lift them up or beat them down. The lives they've led are real. They are much more interesting than any literary spin could have made them.

I grew up in Alabama. While we were not sharecroppers or remotely in the situation that the people
Joan Colby
A follow-up 50 years later to “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” The book contains updated photos of some of the original characters and sites and the authors tracked down members of the Gudger, Wood and Ricketts families to relate how their lives turned out. Most didn’t turn out very well as one might expect. Some of the descendants were bitter about the earlier book that portrayed them as desperately poor and illiterate; however, some are still in that deplorable state. Others advanced a bit, or ...more
Jackie G
This was a terrific follow up to the Agee/Walker classic. I really appreciated that Maharidge focused on the people -- the families -- and that he included the black sharecropper experience to rectify the shortsighted choice made by Agee's editors to exclude them from his research.
Michael Neno
This sort-of sequel to James Agee and Walker Evans' classic book doesn't have the poetry, forcefulness, attention to detail, experimentalism or passionate rage that Let Us Now Praise Famous Men did. It's a much more straight forward piece of journalism. If you're curious to know what happened next to the families Agee described, though, the book is must reading. And Their Children After Them also gives an insightful overview of the history of cotton growing in America and, in particular, Alabama ...more
A follow-up to Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, this book is actually much more readable.

A very interesting (and disturbing) book looking at many of the people in the original--what happened to the adults, and the children as they grew up. Obviously, not all wanted anything to do with this book. But that is OK.

I appreciated the addition of landowners--from a small-time landowner like Bridges, to the larger holders.

The authors also take an interesting look at how the landowners blame civil rights a
Tanya Faberson
This book was amazing. I recommend it to anyone who's ever read "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." You really should read Agee and Evan's book first, though, if you haven't. It relates everything to Famous Men and wouldn't make much sense if you haven't read it. I loved both books. They detail the lives of three cotton tenant/sharecropper families in 1936 (Agee and Evans), followed by an account of where and how the remaining members of the original families and their descendants were in 1986 (Maha ...more
This book only makes sense if you have read "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" first. This book follows up on the three families, and you find out what happens to the children & grandchildren 50 years after the original book was written. Some success stories, but mostly heartbreak. The story about the man on the cover is so horrible, I couldn't help but reread LUNPFM to look for clues as to how that family got to that point. After recently reading "Cotton Tenants", I will probably be rereading t ...more
This was mildly disappointing. I haven't read the Agee work, so maybe I'm missing something, but I think Maharidge really just skims the surface of his subject. He doesn't give any real insight into the characters and he doesn't follow them close enough or for long enough for us to get to know them. I will say that he lets some of the scenes unfold themselves in a slow, beautiful way, especially those involving Debbie - Maggie Louise's daughter.

All in all this was a good read and about a lifest
This book was actually 3 1/2 stars, because I love the original book so much, and it was interesting to read about what happened to the original characters. The author did a decent job of updating a non-fiction classic. He had respect for his subjects, as well as the original work of James Agee.
Lenny Husen
I read the first edition of this book, way back in the 1990's, and regrettably, I loaned it to someone who never gave it back. The photos are amazing and I'm sure this edition is great too.
This is the follow up book to Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. The authors went back to the south to find family members that were written about in the original story.
Stephen Lovell
Informative, but in my opinion too much, sad, can't completely live up to it's predecessor
Really only recommended for those who become obsessed with Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
A perfect example of an unnecessary sequel. Just reinforces the classic status of the first book.
This book won the Pulitzer prize for Non-fiction in 1991- so far very interesting and sad.
It so deserved the 1991Pulitzer Prize! Sad, moving, beautiful, and thought provoking!
photo essay of the poor.
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maharidge-books 1 5 Feb 13, 2010 10:30PM  
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I'm an Associate Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. I've published nine books, including And Their Children After Them, which won the 1990 non-fiction Pulitzer Prize. My tenth book will be published in March 2013--Bringing Mulligan Home/The Other Side of the Good War (PublicAffairs). Also this spring will see the publication of the paperback edition of Someplace Like ...more
More about Dale Maharidge...
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