Read The Tangierman's Lament: And Other Tales of Virginia by Earl Swift Free Online
Book Title: The Tangierman's Lament: And Other Tales of Virginia|
The author of the book: Earl Swift
Edition: University of Virginia Press
Date of issue: October 1st 2007
Loaded: 1743 times
Reader ratings: 3.2
ISBN 13: 9780813926223
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 678 KB
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Go where the story is--that's one tenet of journalism Earl Swift has had little trouble living up to. In two decades of covering the commonwealth, Swift has hiked, canoed--even spelunked--a singular path through Virginia. He has also stopped and listened. This collection brings together some twenty Virginia tales wherein hardship is revealed as tragedy, and humor appears as uncanny, illuminating strangeness.
The Pulitzer-nominated title story takes us to the Chesapeake island of Tangier, home to a Methodist enclave over two hundred years old, with an economy almost wholly dependent on the blue crab. The gradual exodus of the island's young people and the dwindling crab hauls point to an inevitable extinction that finds a dramatic metaphor in the erosion of the island itself, which is literally disappearing beneath its inhabitants' feet.
An epic piece of reporting, "When the Rain Came" revisits the August night in 1969 when Hurricane Camille descended on Nelson and Rockbridge counties, bringing with it a deluge of nearly Biblical proportions that killed 151 people. It was later characterized by the Department of the Interior as "one of the all-time meteorological anomalies in the United States." Swift looks beyond the extraordinary numbers to find the individual stories, told to him by the people who still remember the trembling floorboards and rain too heavy to see, or even breathe, through.
Other stories include a nerve-wracking inside look at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, the travails of a failed novelist turned folk-art demigod, an account of a 1929 Scott County tornado (deemed the deadliest in Virginia history), and a profile of Nelson County swami Master Charles, who boasts a corps of meditative followers, a mountain retreat in Nellysford, and an incomplete resume. Each piece reconfirms Virginia as a land uncommonly rich in stories--and Earl Swift as one of its most perceptive and tireless chroniclers.
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Read information about the authorEarl Swift began writing for a living in his teens. In the years since, the Virginia-based journalist has been a Fulbright fellow, PEN finalist and six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, and has earned a reputation for powerful narrative and scrupulous reporting.
Swift wrote for newspapers in St. Louis, Anchorage and, for twenty-two years, in Norfolk, where his long-form features won numerous state and national awards. His stories have also appeared in Outside, PARADE, Popular Mechanics, The Atlantic Cities, America's Best Newspaper Writing, Our State, and River Teeth.
He is the author of AUTO BIOGRAPHY: A Classic Car, An Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream (HarperCollins, 2014), a narrative journey through postwar America told through a single old car and the fourteen people who've owned it; THE BIG ROADS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), an armchair history of the interstate highway system and its effects, physical and cultural, on the nation it binds; JOURNEY ON THE JAMES (University of Virginia Press, 2001), the story of a great American river and the largely untold history that has unfolded in and around it; WHERE THEY LAY: Searching for America's Lost Soldiers (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), for which he accompanied an Army archaeological team into the jungles of Laos in search of a helicopter crew shot down thirty years before; and a 2007 collection of his stories, THE TANGIERMAN'S LAMENT (UVa Press).
He also co-authored, with Macon Brock, ONE BUCK AT A TIME (Beachnut/John F. Blair, 2017), an insider's account of Dollar Tree's rise from loopy idea to retail juggernaut. The book was chosen for J.P. Morgan's summer reading list in 2017.
An avid outdoorsman, Swift has through-hiked the Appalachian Trail, circumnavigated the Chesapeake Bay by sea kayak, and canoed the 435-mile James River from source to sea.
Since 2012 he's been a residential fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia. He lives with his 24-year-old daughter, Saylor, in Crozet, Virginia, and is engaged to the fetching Amy Walton of Virginia Beach.
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