Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not a Research Book!

Melungeons by Bonnie Ball

A few years ago I watched a PBS special about a group of people referred to as the 'Melungeons'.  This group of people live in Eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian Mountains.  They are atypical of the area, even today.  They are not white but aren't black or Native American, either.  So, what are they?  Who are they?  How did they get there?

That topic is fascinating to me and I was so eager to read this book to see if those questions could get answered.  And the author did provide some interesting ideas to consider:  Portugese sailers lost and moved inland; the Lost Colony of Roanoke; etc.

However, I found most of the book to be disturbing.  The tone was so overtly racist and demeaning that I spent most of the book cringing and wincing.  Being from that area, I am familair with that particular kind of racism, and I do understand that the era the author was born in an era where that type of thought was much different from today.  However, the obvious disdain the author had for the subject clouded the whole book.  Repeatedly, she calls this group of people lazy, shiftless, ignorant and amoral.

As it that weren't bad enough, there is very little research in the book.  Most is just conjecture and hearsay.  As a historical reader, I was mostly disgusted that such a book would find its way into print and its way into my hands.  I wanted to wash them when I finished.  Skip this book completely!

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