For those who have known Atlanta only in it's modern-day, post-World-War-Two incarnation as a sprawling megalopolis, this book is a stunning eye-opener -- and in many regards a real;shocker -- as to what life was like in Atlanta between the two world wars and during the Second World War.
Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
For those few remaining Atlantans who were children between the wars and during WWII (we're dying out rapidly), only we can truly understand how strangely different life in Atlanta was before WWII. Atlanta between the wars, hard as it is to believe it, was still, in so many ways, just an overgrown small town, and it still had a lot of smalltown ways. My grandmother could, with complete safety, still take me as a five-year-old child for after-dark strolls through Piedmont Park, where we could pass the warm summer evenings on a swing beneath a lamppost -- something you'd probably be insane to attempt today. As an 11-year-old child, I could still ride my bike four miles to Buckhead to watch a Roy Rogers movie and still wander alone throughout the downtown Atlanta streets in total safety as if I were in smalltown Macon or Athens, GA..
For us oldtimers, the end of World War Two was the day the world changed -- and Atlanta changed forever. For us, all the memories from before 1945 are preserved in sepia-tone, like old-fashioned snapshots, and everything after 1945 is remembered in brilliant Technicolor. Suddenly, everything was shiny and new and different. The old life was gone forever.
This book -- an oral history told by aging Atlantans (most of them dead now) who remembered what the city was like between the wars, has brilliantly captured the essence of those long-gone days as no other book has managed to do. For those Atlantans brave enough to wade through Franklin Garrett's monumental, 2,000 page history of Atlanta -- twice as long as "Gone With the Wind" -- this book serves to fill in the blanks and add warmth and local color that Garrett's more scholarly approach was unable to capture. For example, this book's interviews with aging, retired fire fighters and burned-out residents giving their stunning recollections of the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 -- a blaze that wiped out a massive section of Atlanta two miles long and half a mile wide, destroying 2,000 houses, leaving 10,000 Atlantans homeless, and changing the city's housing patterns forever -- brings the true horror of one of the greatest disasters in American history to light in an intensely human way that Garrett wasn't able to.
When the editors of this book -- at a local Atlanta public radio station -- got ready to interview more than a hundred elderly Atlantans about their sepia-toned memories, they hit on an absolutely brilliant idea. The white oldtimers were interviewed only by white interrogators, while the black oldtimers were interviewed only by black interrogators. As a result, the black Atlantans of that era divulged a lot of very shocking details about black life in the city between the wars that they never would have felt comfortable recounting to white interviewers. For me, an aging white guy, the result was a revelation of a part of Atlanta life between the wars that I never even dreamed existed. A stunning accomplishment.
For example, the center of black university life, the center of black upper class, intellectual ferment, was right down the street from my grandmother's original house in West End -- but I never knew it existed. All I knew was the black cooks and maids who came to our house.
The book is an amazing portrait of two totally separate worlds -- white Atlanta and black Atlanta -- hurtling together toward a future that would eventually bring them together in a great new city. This book recounts a time half a century after Rhett and Scarlett -- but a time equally "Gone With the Wind."
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 0820316970
- 条形码: 9780820316970
- 商品尺寸: 17.1 x 3.1 x 24.8 cm
- 商品重量: 866 g
- ASIN: 0820316970
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