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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Three Tenant Families
Agee, James (Book - 2001 )
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
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Words and photographs describe the daily lives of typical sharecropper families in the American South.
Authors: Agee, James, 1909-1955
Title: Let us now praise famous men
three tenant families
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001
Edition: 1st Mariner Books ed
Characteristics: xi, 416 p, [61] p. of plates :,ill. ;,23 cm
Statement of Responsibility: James Agee, Walker Evans
Notes: "Featuring striking photographs newly reproduced from archival negatives"--Cover
"A Mariner book."
Summary: Words and photographs describe the daily lives of typical sharecropper families in the American South.
Additional Contributors: Evans, Walker - 1903-1975
Alternate Title: Three tenant families
ISBN: 0618127496
9780618127498
0395957710
9780395957714
Branch Call Number: 917.61 A26L 2001
Subject Headings: Alabama Social conditions Alabama Description and travel Alabama Rural conditions Farm tenancy Alabama History Agee, James, 1909-1955 Travel Alabama
Topical Term: Farm tenancy
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Dec 09, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

James Agee didn't see 50, but wrote a few celebrated and influential works on which his reputation rests: "A Death in the Family," the screenplay for "The African Queen" and this non-fiction book. In 1936, he and photographer Walker Evans (his photos preface the book) went to the South to report on tenant families and this was the result. In its fusion of Agee's idiosyncratic and spirited voice and reportage it forecasts the New Journalists, as well as the Beats. You won't learn much about the farmers, who remain ciphers, but you'll learn a lot about Agee. His self-involved, turgid and seemingly unedited prose (drawing from Faulkner and Wolfe) overwhelms the grim subject matter, rather than offering any insights or sympathy. Here's the most obnoxious sentence: "I could not with any of them that they should have had the 'advantages' I have had: a Harvard education is by no means an unqualified advantage." Yeah, it's really tough going to Harvard and God forbid any of these farmers get a world class education. Jerk.

Dec 06, 2013
  • RainCityLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

My Desert Island Book #2: this one literally blew my mind when I read it, many summers ago. It isn't an easy book to read, but this powerful testament, this monumental witness to suffering and human dignity has an amazing, mesmeric kind of power. Agee was sent down South to write an article, but what happened to him there, the transformation that took place for him that led to an entire book, was remarkable. Like the best journalists, he does all he can to help us to see and understand these people, but ultimately what it became for him was something far deeper - a religious sacrament, a dark night of the soul, and a searching, searing quest for meaning that awaits any reader with ears to hear, with eyes to see.

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