Teddy's Child

Teddy's Child : Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars

4.5 (2 ratings by Goodreads)

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Dr. Virginia Hamilton has long been admired for the prose styling of her academic publications and the vigor of her research. In Teddy's Child: Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars, the respected historian chronicles her own lineage and discovers the commonalities that transcend the generations. Supplemented by images of family memorabilia, this scrapbook cum thesis explores the foibles, virtues, singularities, and collective tendencies that constitute a heritage and help explain one generation to another.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 201 pages
  • 195.58 x 236.22 x 22.86mm | 566.99g
  • Montgomery, Albania
  • English
  • Signed
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1588381951
  • 9781588381958

Review quote

"For someone who has vital connections to the Kentucky Bluegrass, New Orleans, and Birmingham, as I do, Virginia Hamilton's Teddy's Child: Growing up in the Impoverished Southern Gentry During the Great Depression is finest candy. I simply couldn't stop eating--I mean reading. For anyone who is aware that family members, through several generations, re-live many of the same life patterns, despite changes in time and place, this book is a serious "must read." With the insight and honesty of a historian, Virginia Hamilton examines the romanticism, the neuroses, the joie de vivre, the talents, and the grit of her own family in a way that helps any reader understand better his or her own family's tendencies. Teddy's Child includes many fascinating characters remarkable for their beauty, athleticism, leadership ability, eccentricities and literary inclinations; their individual lives and entire eras are made vivid by newspaper clippings, family photographs, letters, and journals, as well as through Hamilton's memories and compelling descriptions. Coming to know Virginia Hamilton's heritage has thoroughly entertained me while enriching my own sense of family and of growing up in Birmingham." --Sena Jeter Naslund, novelist, author of Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette, Four Spirits, and Ahab's Wife
"This is a wonderful book. Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton has long been noted for her polished historical writing. Now she turns her literary skills to an enthralling personal history of her colorful, troubled family. Her account of that family's battle against hereditary anxiety and depression is unflinching, but also loving and inspiring. With the fine eye of a novelist, she also recreates a lost time when Southern intellectuals struggled under the twin burdens of racism and oppressive moral codes." --Howell Raines
"Hamilton is best known as a stylish and influential historian, insightfully placing Alabama's role in our national story. Her memoir provides a thrilling--and highly entertaining--look at how this flinty free-thinker was forged in the Deep South of the 1920s and 1930s. Beyond its charms as a memoir, Teddy's Child is a poignant yet unsentimental chronicle of the underexplored American class diaspora. I have long been a huge fan of Dr. Hamilton's work. Now I thoroughly appreciate the person behind it." --Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
..".in Teddy's Child, she takes us into the deeper journey of childhood and adolescence, into a family rent with displacement and personal tragedy. This is a classic tale of folks descending the ladder of success and missing the American Dream, partly due to their own choices and partly due to conditions largely beyond their control. This is a compelling memoir, not only about Virginia, but about the people she loves, both within her blood family and her wider Alabama family." --Dr. Wayne Flynt
"One of the fascinating things about this book is how readers will identify with some things and marvel at others. It encourages us all to try to assemble and present our childhood memories to younger family members. Perhaps we won't come close to Virginia Hamilton's style, but we will be animated by it as we try. This is what she has done for so many historians over the decades. The author claims that "Teddy's Child" is her last book, but when you read it you will join me in hoping it's not!" --Michael Thomason, Mobile Press-Register
"Teddy's Child: Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars is about the failures and accomplishments of the author's eccentric family, but the themes extend beyond Hamilton's family to comment on the struggles of humanity: the dreams individuals reach to possess and the nobility, and at times futility, of that effort. Absorbing from start to finish, Hamilton's book will be interesting not only to students of Alabama history, but to all who love a good story" --Rebecca Dempsey, First Draft
"For anyone who has memories of the years "between the Great Wars" (in Birmingham or elsewhere) or for those who wish to know more about a simpler time of 'possum hunts, summer trips without interstate highways, home-produced operas and musicals, a time when homemade beaten biscuits and croquettes were staples, this memoir, which includes numerous family photographs, will take you there." --Leah Rawls Atkins, The Birmingham News
"Virginia Hamilton is able to present the saga of her famiy against the grand backdrop of the era. She also brings to her work her own keen intelligence, broad knowledge of history, shred insight into human behavior, and fluent prose style. All of which makes Teddy's Child an informative and engaging study." --Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"The unique brilliance of Teddy's Child: Growing Up in the Anxious Southern Gentry Between the Great Wars, A Family Memoir by historian Virginia Van Der Veer Hamilton is that Hamilton's recollections flicker and flash across her pages in quicksilver syntax that mirrors memory itself. Does Hamilton focus solely on the facts? No, and her sage editorializing lends Teddy's Child an irreverent, authoritative voice. At age 88 the author has turned the memories that shaped her into a memento of her life that echoes the experiences of our collective unconscious." --Special to the Louisville Courier-Journal
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