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The Land Breakers by John Ehle

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I well remember John Ehle cracking up when he read a passage from this book at a reading at Berea College. He apologized and said it had been years since he had read it!  The snake scene in this book is even more widely known and quoted.  Now in his nineties, Ehle is one of a mere handful of Appalachian writers from what can easily be considered the World War II generation.  He was a rifleman in that war.  also a well-known actress. While on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, he was active in the Civil Rights Movement there.  His book, The Free Men, tells of that struggle. He worked full-time on Terry Sanford's campaign for Governor of North Carolina and then was hired on the governor's staff where he spearheaded so many creative initiatives that he was hired by the Ford Foundation. A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Ehle married the great British actress, Rosemarry Harris in 1967, and they are the parents of Jennifer Ehle, Taken together, seven of his historical novels present a historical narrative of life in Western North Carollina, with The Land Breakers being the first.

 

New York: Book Club Edition, 1964. 407 pages.