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Family [Paperback]

By Ian Frazier (Author)
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Item description for Family by Ian Frazier...

The author recounts the history of his family in America from early colonial times to the present using letters and family documents, visiting towns they lived in and founded, and observing them during major historical events, in a powerful and touching view of American history. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.

Publishers Description
Using letters and other family documents, Frazier reconstructs two hundred years of middle-class life, visiting small towns his ancestors lived in, reading books they read, and discovering the larger forces of history that affected them. He observes some of them during the British raid on Danbury, Connecticut, in the Revolutionary War; he follows others west as they pioneer in the wilderness of Ohio and Indiana; he visits the battlefields where they fought the Civil War. Frazier interviews old-timers, uncles, aunts, cousins, maids, and a beer-store owner who knew his dad. He pursues the family saga in aspect from trivial to grand, hoping for "a meaning that would defeat death." "Family "is a poetic epic of facts, a chronicle of Protestant culture's rise and fall, a memorial, and a revised view of American history as romantic as it is cold-eyed.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Family by Ian Frazier has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 1259
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 996

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Picador
Pages   386
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.4" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 9, 2002
Publisher   Picador
ISBN  0312420595  
ISBN13  9780312420598  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ian Frazier

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ian Frazier is the author of Great Plains, The Fish's Eye, On the Rez, Family, and Travels in Siberia, as well as Dating Your Mom, Lamentations of the Father, and The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, he lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

Ian Frazier currently resides in Missoula, in the state of Missouri.

Ian Frazier has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of America

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Regional U.S. > Midwest
4Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local - By State > Ohio
6Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > State & Local
7Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > General
8Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families

Reviews - What do customers think about Family?

A great read  Nov 15, 2006
The author blends his own family legacy into larger themes that apply to us all. He addresses the legacy of his own family in a way that is applicable to all of us. Very tender, but also practical and a little bit shocking, like most family histories at least should be.
The Frazier family  Sep 25, 2005
I think it's Frazier's style that is the most attractive thing about this book. He writes in simple declarative sentences with little embellishment - exactly the way someone would tell you a story orally. No histrionics, no deep reflections - just straight facts, boom, boom. It works magnificently here.

He tells a history of his family (it's not really a memoir, at least not until the end, which is the weakest part), going back to his ancestors who first came to America. The best part I think is the first half; Frazier is very interested in the Civil War and spends a lot of time tracing relatives as they fought with the 55th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 11th Corps. (He goes way off on a tangent writing about Stonewall Jackson; it's interesting but probably could have been edited out.)

Commendable is his willingness to reveal some not very pleasant things about his relatives at times: prejudices, job failings, embarrassments - things that other writers would have kept secret. Unfortunately, as his family history becomes more contemporary he comes across as more self-serving: I felt suddenly that he was writing more for himself than for his audience. An excellent first half, though - and that style is terrific.
Life's too short for this book.  Aug 5, 2005
Ian Frazier is a good writer--let's get that straight. The downfall of this book is not how he writes but what he writes about. I wasn't bored out of my mind reading this book, but it just didn't do anything for me. I like to read books that move me and this book had a cruising speed of 0-1 mph. This book is a generational playback/story about his family. I often thought how amazing it was that the author could write in a way to sound like he was speaking to the reader and to keep me (just barely) reading on to the next page. This was sllooowwww reading and I thought, "with all the books out there, I am just wasting my time reading about something I really couldn't care less about. There was nothing too fascinating about his family story. (At least to the point where I finally quit---about 1/2 way) I would never ever recommend this book. I would recommend sitting comatose in front of the tv watching really bad sitcoms over reading this book.
One of the most moving books I know.  Jul 15, 2005
Many of the books I love, such as Carolyn See's "Making a Literary Life" and Barbara Grizzuti Harrison's "Italian Days," are as much about their authors as their stated subjects. Ian Frazier's "Family" also is highly personal, yet remarkable in how Frazier presents his memoirs of growing up in Ohio, adds a meticulously researched history of his ancestors, and conflates it all into a profoundly moving meditation on a country, a society and the human condition. "Family" is a book that you'll read from cover to cover without being able to put it down, then pick up often to dip into, savoring favorite parts and the rich, supple excellence of Frazier's prose. Always poignant but never sentimental, "Family" takes us through two hundred years of the lives of various Fraziers, Wickhams, Hurshes, Bachmans and Chapmans--the genealogy that culminated in David and Kate Frazier of Hudson, Ohio, their son Ian, and his four brothers and sisters. Frazier leads us off into far-ranging but fascinating and germane tangents: Discussing a Civil War skirmish in which his great-great-grandfather Charlie Wickham fought, Frazier goes off into the life story of the leader of the opposing forces in that skirmish--Stonewall Jackson. Throughout the book, Frazier shows an unerring eye for the telling detail that throws situations and personalities into dazzling focus. He also makes us love each and every one of the family members, past and present, that he writes about, and moves us to tears with his descriptions of the deaths of his father, his mother, and his young brother Fritz. Here is how Frazier describes his thoughts at his mother's deathbed: "(S)oon all the people who had accompanied me through life would be gone, too, and then even the people who had known us, and no one would remain on earth who had ever seen us, and those descended from us perhaps would know stories about us, perhaps once in a while they would pass by buildings where we had lived and they would mention that we had lived there. And then the stories would fade, and the graves would go untended, and no one would guess what it had been like to wake before dawn in our breath-warmed bedrooms as the radiators clanked and our wives and husbands and children slept." To read "Family" is to gain a fonder, fuller appreciation of our own families, and of all the blessed ties that bind.
A People's History of the United States  Jan 8, 2003
Frazier's gifts as a writer shine in this climb through his family tree. Deadpan, folksy, soulful, urbane, Frazier captures the complexities of his family's unique history within the context of our country's history. Lots of real people and their small eccentricities. The negative editorial reviews reflect a collective missing of the boat. "On the Rez" is another great Frazier book.

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