The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature
J. Drew Lanham (Author)
DescriptionFrom the fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina--a place "easy to pass by on the way somewhere else"--has been home to generations of Lanhams. In The Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be "the rare bird, the oddity." By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South--and in America today.
June 13, 2017
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.72 pounds
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About the Author
J. Drew Lanham is a native of Edgefield, South Carolina, and an Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University. Lanham is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram's Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home, among others. He and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk's downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall.
Foreword Reviews Best Book of 2016 and Nautilus Silver Award Winner Praise for The Home Place "A groundbreaking work about race and the American landscape, and a deep meditation on nature, selfhood, and the nature of home. It is thoughtful, sincere, wise, and beautiful. I want everyone to read it."--Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk "Consider The Home Place required reading--it's a thoughtful and relevant-as-ever look at race and identity in the great outdoors."--Outside "A lyrical story about the power of the wild, The Home Place synthesizes J. Drew Lanham's own family history, geography, nature, and race into a compelling argument for conservation and resilience."--National Geographic "When you're done with The Home Place, it won't be done with you. Its wonders will linger like everything luminous. You might find yourself hoping for a world where every family has a J. Drew Lanham in it."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "A beautifully rendered and deeply personal story of the complex geographies of home, and displacement . . . The Home Place is a deft examination of how we come to define ourselves in a world that, in turn, is relentlessly trying to define who we are--and how we can take those definitions over and make our own."--Sierra "There are no fireworks here--simply the musings of an African-American naturalist who, throughout his lifetime, has trained himself to marvel at the minor. Trust me, that is enough. . . . Of the many powerful lessons J. Drew Lanham bestows upon readers, perhaps this last one is his best: proof that human nature, like Mother nature herself, can still surprise us with its grace."--Los Angeles Review of Books "J. Drew Lanham's The Home Place is a stunning read, a masterpiece, a soft rebellion that touches the deepest of our instincts." --Marine Ornithology "An extraordinary and trailblazing perspective on nature and race, told by a southern black man who became a natural scientist and a bird watcher. J. Drew Lanham's colorful and long-awaited memoir deeply enriches our understanding of American culture and the environmental movement, rising as it does from the silence of an entire people. This is a captivating and crucial biology and a volume that I'll proudly add to my bookshelf."--Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood "Wisdom and generosity fill the pages of The Home Place. This memoir and story of a familial ecosystem is anchored firmly in the Piedmont clay of South Carolina that J. Drew Lanham's enslaved ancestors worked and would later come to own--and love. A man 'born of forests and fields, ' Lanham thinks deeply about the land writ large and our connections to it as well as to each other. His honest and insistent words encourage us to cultivate a broader, deeper perspective that recognizes ties between race and environment in deliberate ways."--Lauret Savoy, author of Trace "The Home Place teems with life--notably the author's own remarkable one. This wise and deeply felt memoir of a black naturalist's improbable journey travels the hallways of academia, the fields and forests of ornithological study, and the dusty clay roads of the rural south where it all began with grace, humility, and an abiding appreciation for this exquisite world."--William Souder, author of Under a Wild Sky "Your world will change while reading this beautiful, deep, and generous book. A book by a scientist that goes far beyond science, a book by a black man that looks issues of race in the eye but then transcends them, a book by a loving son who, in the end, finds a new identity, The Home Place is really about what it means to be human, and in particular what it means to be human in relationship to the land. It is a love song to family, soil, trees, birds, and wildness itself. Read it and be enlarged."--David Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains "Rapturous and illuminating . . . A shrewd meditation on home, family, nature, and the author's native South."--Kirkus "Insightful . . . Encouraging readers to pay closer attention to nature, J. Drew Lanham gathers the disparate elements that have shaped him into a nostalgic and fervent examination of home, family, nature, and community."--Publishers Weekly