Ancestor Trouble Pdf Summary
An acclaimed writer goes searching for the truth about her wildly unconventional Southern family–and finds that our obsession with ancestors opens up new ways of seeing ourselves.
Maud Newton’s ancestors have vexed and fascinated her since she was a girl. Her mother’s father, who came of age in Texas during the Great Depression, was said to have married thirteen times and been shot by one of his wives. Her mother’s grandfather killed a man with a hay hook and died in a mental institution. Mental illness and religious fanaticism percolated through Maud’s maternal lines, to an ancestor accused of being a witch in Puritan-era Massachusetts. Maud’s father, an aerospace engineer turned lawyer, was a book-smart man who extolled the virtues of slavery and obsessed over the “purity” of his family bloodline, which he traced back to the Revolutionary War. He tried in vain to control Maud’s mother, a whirlwind of charisma and passion given to feverish projects: thirty rescue cats, and a church in the family’s living room where she performed exorcisms.
Their divorce, when it came, was a relief. Still, the meeting of her parents’ lines in Maud inspired an anxiety that she could not shake; a fear that she would replicate their damage. She saw similar anxieties in the lives of friends, in the works of writers and artists she admired. As obsessive in her own way as her parents, Maud researched her genealogy—her grandfather’s marriages, the accused witch, her ancestors’ roles in slavery and genocide–and sought family secrets through her DNA. But sunk in census archives and cousin matches, she yearned for deeper truths. Her journey took her into the realms of genetics, epigenetics, and the debates over intergenerational trauma. She mulled modernity’s dismissal of ancestors along with psychoanalytic and spiritual traditions that center them.
Searching, moving, and inspiring, Ancestor Trouble is one writer’s attempt to use genealogy–a once-niche hobby that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry—to expose the secrets and contradictions of her own ancestors, and to argue for the transformational possibilities that reckoning with our ancestors has for all of us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and Convictin
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 2, 2022
When I learned about Maud Newton’s book, Ancestor Trouble, I knew I had to read it. I come from 19th-century European immigrants on my mother’s side and slave-owning Confederate true believers on my father’s. My father was a ranting and raving racist. Ancestor Trouble is engaging with Maud’s family stories but most important, compelling in truth-telling, convincing in genealogical research and in its exploration of the unreliable ways of the human heart.
To anyone anywhere in the world descended from oppressors (we are everywhere!) and unconsciously perpetuating their own version of history and preconceptions of the “other”: read this book. Recognize how those assumptions and attitudes were woven into your world so that you barely recognize the pattern which you live out every single day. See why it’s critical to try to make reparation for the sins of your ancestors, starting with the way you treat other human beings, with what you say, do and model for your children.
“Ancestor Trouble” is an important book which will draw you in with stories and convict you with truth
3.0 out of 5 stars INTENSE and FOCUSED
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 15, 2022
Although a genealogist, I found this book deep in relating the author’s studies and thinking I was earning a double degree in psychology and sociology before I was finished. Which I did finish but believe I would be unable to recommend to my avid reader friends.
I felt the author experienced an extreme and one-sided experience in the Christianity she grew up with, and was left wishing she would explore other branches of protestant faiths which would lead her to the love and peace for which I felt she continues to search.
1.0 out of 5 stars Retrospective guilt v factual error
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 30, 2022
I bought this book after being shocked at hearing an NPR interview that presented inaccurate facts as the basis of a claim of racism against one of the author’s ancestors Mary Bliss Parsons, the accused witch of Northampton. Comparing the author’s written and spoken words against the historic source materials, her accusation against her ancestor being party to a beating of a helpless person is not supported. In the author’s rage and zeal against her family to correct the racism inherent in our past and present, the author over-reached. The book is well written and the message taken to heart by this reader. Facts, however, should not be stretched to make points, regardless of how important the learning. Despite the professional treatment and introspection of this worthy book, this is an author who, because of her standing and power, especially must honor facts and therefore the factual error is especially painful. Here is a one star reminder to the author to not victimize an accused witch who strove relentlessly to find justice in the midst of madness and male domination of church, government, “Justice” and the marketplace. Mary Bliss Parsons fought to prevent the whipping of her children and family oxen. It is unlikely and probably physically and emotionally impossible for her to have been complicit in whipping the slave of a family member. All of us who come from early settler families know the blood and tears soaked into these soils from the people we displaced, forcibly, at the cost of own own lives, too. The author asks what would Mary Bliss Parsons think? She would speak out and be proud of her multiple great granddaughter who wrote this book, but she can’t defend herself against charges of racism for having any hand in beating another. She needs her descendent to protect her from false charges. Mary Bliss Parsons needs to be recognized and reconciled with inner heroism, a wholeness that resonates in the author.
About Maud Newton Author Of Ancestor Trouble pdf Book
Maud Newton Author Of Ancestor Trouble pdf Book, A Reckoning and a Reconciliation (Random House), her first book, has been called “a literary feat” by the New York Times Book Review and a “brilliant mix of personal memoir and cultural observation” by the Boston Globe. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, named one of the best books of 2022 by The New Yorker and Esquire, selected for the Roxane Gay Book Club, and praised by Oprah Daily, NPR, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vulture, the Los Angeles Times, Wired, and many other publications. Excerpts from the book appeared in Esquire, Time, and the Wall Street Journal. Her essay on “America’s Ancestry Craze,” a seed of the book, was a Harper’s cover story.
Newton also writes personal essays, cultural criticism, and fiction. Beyond Harper’s, her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Narrative, the New York Times Book Review, Oxford American, Time, Granta, Bookforum, the Wall Street Journal, the Awl, Longreads, Tin House, Humanities, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Paris Review Daily and many other publications and anthologies, including the New York Times bestseller, What My Mother Gave Me.
Newton has discussed ancestors and family history with NPR’s All Things Considered, the New York Times Book Review podcast, WNYC, the Dallas Morning News, KERA’s Think, Slate/Future Tense, Wisconsin Public Radio, and PEN. She has also appeared on BookTV, Talk of the Nation, Radio Open Source, the Poured Over podcast, the Maris Review podcast, and more.
Newton received the Narrative Prize for “When the Flock Changed,” a work of fiction. Her personal essay, “Conversations You Have at Twenty,” was anthologized in Love is a Four-Letter Word. She was awarded City College’s Irwin and Alice Stark Short Fiction Prize for “Regarding the Insurance Defense Attorney.” Her fiction and essays have been praised by Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, the New Yorker online, Elle, the New York Times, the Paris Review online, and others.
Newton was born in Dallas, grew up in Miami, and graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English and law. Eventually she moved to Brooklyn, and for the past five years she’s lived on Lenape land in Queens. She started blogging in May 2002 with the aim of finding others who were passionate about books, culture, and politics, and to establish an informal place to write about her life and family. Within a few years, her site had been praised, criticized, and quoted in the New York Times Book Review, Forbes, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, the UK Times, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, Poets & Writers, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Yorker, Book Magazine, London’s Evening Standard, the Scotsman, Slate, the Denver Post, and Canada’s National Post.
For her debut book, Ancestor Trouble, Newton went searching for the truth about her wildly unconventional Southern family—and found that our obsession with ancestors opens up new ways of seeing ourselves. The book is an outgrowth of longstanding preoccupations that she wrote about on her blog.
Ancestor Trouble pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
Listening Length11 hours and 14 minutes Author Maud Newton Narrator Catherine Taber Whisper sync for VoiceReadyAudible.com Release Date March 29, 2022PublisherRandom House Audio Program TypeAudiobookVersionUnabridgedLanguageEnglishASINB09FYJ7DZ3Best Sellers Rank#22,627 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#9 in Genetics (Audible Books & Originals)
#43 in Genetics (Books)
#83 in Dysfunctional Families (Audible Books & Originals)
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