Great books to add to your roots reading list.
Love and marriage. PB and J. Genealogy and history. Some things just go together, as Judy Jacobson shows in History for Genealogists (Clearfield Co.). Scores of timelines explain why and how our forebears immigrated and how they fit into their communities. You’ll see how exploring social history can help you find ancestors.
Known for her memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls turns to fiction with the story of her grandmother Lily Casey Smith in Half Broke Horses (Scribner). Though the book is based in fact, Walls writes in her ancestor’s voice and fills in details with her imagination. That doesn’t diminish the real drama of a woman who saw her family through tornados, droughts, floods and the Great Depression.
Andrew Scull gives new meaning to biography in Hysteria: The Biography, from the Oxford University Press series Biographies of Diseases. Scull covers the origins of hysteria (once considered a woman’s disease), its earliest accounts, later status as a fashionable condition, sometimes-gruesome treatment, and modern obsolescence as a diagnosis.
Frances Osborne’s great-grandmother Idina Sackville was anything but a conventional housewife. A product of the 1920s, this full-blown flapper pushed behavioral boundaries with five husbands and numerous lovers. Using letters, family stories and the diaries of Sackville’s first husband, Osborne pieces together the life of this scandalous and colorful woman in The Bolter (Alfred A. Knopf).
From the July 2010 Family Tree Magazine