To ‘Joy My Freedom by Tera W. Hunter (thoughts)
I’ve said this before, but one of my very favourite nonfiction topics is ‘day-to-day life’ history. So as soon as I read about To ‘Joy My Freedom by Tera W. Hunter on Marilyn’s blog, I knew I wanted to read it. I ended up ILLing since my library doesn’t own a copy, which always puts a bit of extra pressure on a book. Fortunately, it easily lived up to all my expectations, even surpassing them! Hunter is an academic historian, and she’s combined a wide variety of sources to examine the lives of black southern women in Atlanta from the post-Civil War to WWI era. She’s a wonderful scholar, excellent at weighing evidence and sources, convincing in her arguments, and a master at weaving together small-picture details with big-picture theories and trends. Her writing is also wonderful: the book flowed smoothly from chapter to chapter and was quite page-turning, while always staying firmly in the nonfiction realm (aka, no dialogue or internal thoughts of people as imagined by the author, both of which drive me nuts). Sadly, my hands are acting up a little, so I need to keep this post short. But really, between Marilyn’s post, Amy’s, and Amanda’s, everything I’d want to talk about has been covered. I’ll just add my voice to the chorus! :)
To ‘Joy My Freedom gave me a peek into another time and culture, one that has been sadly maligned by past historians. As such, I loved it on many levels and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys popular history, women’s studies, social justice, or wsimply onderful nonfiction.
Suggested Companion Reads
- A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (One of my favourite nonfiction authors, in this book Ulrich analyses the diary of a New England midwife and shares all kinds of fascinating tidbits about daily life for early New Englanders.)
- Holding Our World Together by Brenda Child (A fascinating historical account of Ojibwe women from pre-Europe through to the mid twentieth century.)
- Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca (This isn’t as scholarly, more a mix of academic and personal nonfiction, but it’s an interesting examination of ‘gypsies’ in contemporary Europe.)