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A Family Place
A Hudson Valley Farm, Three Centuries, Five Wars, One Family
A Family Place
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Leila Philip - Author
Excelsior Editions
Price: $14.95 
Paperback - 318 pages
Release Date: April 2009
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-2760-7


Summary Read First Chapter image missing

One woman’s journey to uncover her family’s history and understand the ties that bind us to a particular place.

Encompassing three centuries of manor lords and tenant farmers, Civil War heroes and renegade aunts, award-winning author Leila Philip tells the story of her ancestral Hudson Valley home, Talavera, and the mystery of her attachment to it. After her father’s death in 1992, Leila and her family struggled to find the means to keep their farm intact. This uphill battle led her to examine the forces that compel a family to sacrifice almost everything to hold onto a particular piece of land.

Newly republished with a folio of historic photographs and an epilogue that updates the story of the farm and the family to the present, A Family Place addresses the tensions between memory and recorded fact, inviting readers to take a new look at their own sense of home.

“Philip is an extremely gifted writer who doesn’t skirt somber emotional notes. She has created a brave, eloquent, and beautifully constructed memoir of a remarkable place and the remarkable family that belongs to it.” — Chronogram

“Author Leila Philip presents a tribute to her family’s long and illustrious history, revealing a piece of Americana that is hard to replicate. A Family Place is … recommended reading for anyone who wants to see the evolution of the American family first hand.” — Reviewer’s Bookwatch

“Philip grafts history, natural history, and autobiography into a stunning performance.” — Maureen Howard, author of Big as Life

“Mesmerizing … Both narrative threads are profoundly personal. Braided together with insight, they pay homage to the ideals of home and family with a resonance that should extend beyond her home region.” — Publishers Weekly

“…an unpretentious, subtly shaded story of the importance of understanding the ghosts and heroes that reside in every ancestral home.” — New York Times

“An exquisite rendering of a Hudson Valley family farm, as detailed and colored as a Persian miniature. Philip’s family history is alarmingly transporting, and her sense of place so rich you can taste it.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Riveting … one of the most finely written family histories available.” — Library Journal

Leila Philip’s first book, The Road Through Miyama, won the PEN 1990 Martha Albrand Citation for Nonfiction in 1990. She has received awards for her writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is a professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Beginning

1. One

2. The Count

3. Claverack, 1732

4. After

5. Yesterday’s Harvest

6. Talavera, 1969

7. Wild Bees

8. In the Hollow of His Hand

9. Writing to the Wind

10. Talavera, 1866

11. Household Accounts

12. Hardly a Hasty Word

13. Talavera, 1913

14. The Lives of Aunts

15. Anna

16. Another War

17. In the Orchard

Family Tree

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