Cardy Raper’s An American Harvest is the oral history of a remarkable family from rural North Carolina. In the tradition of the Foxfire series, Ms. Raper has recorded a wonderfully authentic swatch of Southern Americana, ranging from tobacco raising to hog butchering, old-time revivals to neighborhood corn-shucking, and clannish feuds to helping one’s neighbors in times of need. An American Harvest is a loving evocation of a hard place to make a living but a grand place to live. I loved these stories.
– Howard Frank Mosher
Author of A Stranger in the Kingdom and Walking to Gatlinburg
An American Harvest provides an engrossing, intimate, and revealing portrait of an extraordinary family, the eight children of Frank and Julia Crouse Raper. Growing up on a North Carolina tobacco farm in the early twentieth century without any modern conveniences, all eight children attended college and enjoyed successful careers, with three of them becoming internationally renowned in their fields.
By weaving together narratives largely drawn from a family reunion in 1965, photographs, and other sources, Cardy Raper ably shows how the family’s success was forged in an environment marked by incessant hard work, strong moral and ethical values, active civic engagement, and perhaps above all a thirst for education. The work offers a window into an American way of life that seems long ago and far away a century later.
– Clifford M. Kuhn
Georgia State University
Specialist in 20th Century southern history and in oral history
Author of Living Atlanta: An Oral History of the City, 1914-1948 and
Contesting the New South Order and, At the Crossroads: Arthur Raper, the South, and the World (forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press)