Dave Gaston's Reviews > The Most They Ever Had

The Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg
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Oct 06, 10

bookshelves: collection, memoir, nonfiction, family-dynamics, racial-conflict, smoldering, southern-authentic-voices
Read from August 30 to September 10, 2010

Bragg’s incredible gift for delivering flesh and blood southern authenticity is on generous display within this collection. He has assembled a series of profiles from the grizzled poverty of a notorious Alabama mill town (his own hometown). The stories are at turns tragic, noble, soulful and throbbing. Bragg supplies a rich full first-person account that indirectly answers the obvious question, “Why would whole families choose to stay in an industry that literally, slowly, stole away their very breath?” The bottom line; just like most of us, they did it for their families. In addition, social norms, ignorance and fear bent their will. In ranking Bragg’s book within the context of his past efforts, I’d say it comes in a close third (Ava’s Man is still number #1, All Over But The Shouting is #2). Please don’t that dissuade you, each of Bragg’s books has few rivals within the category of contemporary southern memoirs. This is a great book.
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