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Books & Essays

  • Book Cover

    The French Broad

    Date Published:
    Wakestone Books 1992

    Book Review #1:
    Wilma Dykeman spent six months in the early 1950's, driving with her husband through the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee to research this book. She spoke with local farmers and loggers, visited libraries and newspaper offices, and read numerous accounts of the history of the French Broad River bioregion. The result is a very solid history of the region, spiced with plenty of local color. Although her prose is at times dry, and although her attempts to include quotations and jokes from local people sometimes come off as awkward, her fidelity to the people who are the subjects of her book is unwavering, and she makes numerous insights about the region's history and future which remain true today. The chapter, "Who Killed the French Broad?" is particularly prophetic; no doubt Ms. Dykeman must be happy in her Newport, Tennessee, home to see that the river runs cleaner than it did back in 1955, when the book was first published.