The Foxfiire 45th Anniversary Book: Singin', Praisin', Raisin' edited by Joyce Green, Casi Best, & Foxfire students - Book review

The Foxfire 45th Anniversary Book

Singin', Praisin', Raisin'

By: Foxfire Fund, Inc.

Published: August 30, 2011
Format: Paperback 528 pages
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN-10: 0307742598
ISBN-13: 978-0307742599
Publisher: Anchor Books

"If you remember anything from this book, I hope it is this: Every person has a story, and they are simply waiting for someone to say 'hello'", write co-editor Casi Best and co-editor Joyce Green of the Foxfire Fund, Inc., in the introduction to their marvelous and inspirational book The Foxfire 45th Anniversary Book: Singin', Praisin', Raisin'. The co-editors share the fascinating and memorable first hand accounts of the music, the history, practical skills, and wonderful lives of the residents of Appalachia.

The co-editors understand that the most heartfelt and powerful stories are told by the people who lived them and shared their lives with their family and friends. The narratives tell of hard times, hard work, love of family, community, faith, and the sound of music. In their own voices, the stories tell of the good old days when times were hard, but where people shared their bounty and love with others in their families and their communities. Through the painstaking recording of these fantastic oral histories, the book preserves the sense of a time and place where many traditions were born, nurtured, and developed into a way of life. These stories, told from the heart, are their legacy.

Foxfire museum, Mountain City, Georgia (photo left)

Through all of these intriguing stories runs a thread of a love for life, for the endurance of the human spirit, and a faith that people share a common destiny larger than themselves. This spirit is told through their stories of faith, of ghosts, and of larger than life characters who are the stuff of legend. Even the constant companion of music, and starring role of the banjo, helps to transcend this life and enter into another realm. The music of Appalachia, and its bluegrass and gospel sound, formed the background to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and to the everyday life of the residents of the region. Sustained through times of Depression and the personal joy of living, the people have endured, and share their experiences through this heartwarming anthology.

For me, the power of the book is the strength and force of the stories, as told in the words of the people who lived them and shared their joys and sorrows, and their triumphs and tragedies. The stories bring the people of Appalachia's colorful past to life through their stories, crafts, and music. The storytellers share songs, numerous compelling photographs, and even the almost lost arts and skills that sustained life throughout their lives. This book is a testament to the human spirit, and to the ingenuity and creativity of people, regardless of life's circumstances. These personal narratives are a treasure to be read, reread, and savored; preferably to the music of a banjo in the background.

I highly recommend this gem of a book, The Foxfire 45th Anniversary Book: Singin', Praisin', Raisin' edited by Joyce Green, Casi Best, and the Foxfire Fund, Inc., to anyone seeking a living oral history of the amazing people of Appalachia, both from the past and the present. The stories and people will stay with you long after their stories are read and enjoyed.

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