This is a wonderful book, and I love the fact that this richly researched and well-written biography of Agee’s youth was created by an independent scholar who teaches music at the Coalfield School in Morgan County, Tennessee. James Agee (1909-1955) along with Cormac McCarthy, also from Knoxville, are the only Appalachian authors to have ever been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. The author of this book, Paul Brown, provides outstanding context for understanding Rufus Agee’s family, his father’s people in LaFollette and Campbell County, Tennessee, St. Andrews School in Sewanee, and Knoxville early in the 20th century. I didn’t realize, for example, that St. Andrews was a school for mountain boys, not Southern Episcopalians, at the time that Agee enrolled there. 75 – count ‘em – photographs in this book really helped give me a feel for Agee’s youth. I found this to be one of the most fascinating books I’ve encountered in a long time. Bravo!
Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2018. 422 pages with an Index, Selected Bibliography, Notes and 75 photographs. Hardback with pictorial cover