Saturday, February 8th 2014
New Dominion Bookshop
Secrets abound in our Blue Ridge region. But like the burying grounds, home sites and abandoned trails that lie hidden amongst the forest understory, some are more easily discovered than others. Treasures are occasionally stumbled upon, but more are uncovered by diligent seekers who cast their nets wide for clues, and keep on asking questions. Academic histories have their place, but we often get more of the real story when real people get to tell their own story.
In his eulogy for 89-years-old Blanche Standup (see Chapter One), Pastor Doyle Thomas Jr. said, “We come in somewhere in the middle and try to catch up. What’s the part of the story which you caught that I missed?” Writer and author Phil James has learned from experience that everyone has a piece of the story; and that, like the smallest of clues in a treasure hunt, each of those story pieces has value.
“History finds its keepers,” stated Larry Lamb, another historian with ancestral roots in these Blue Ridge Mountains. His words are true. We all are historians of sorts: journaling what we have seen and done; recording the recollections of a loved one; capturing a photo for posterity’s sake.
Secrets of the Blue Ridge, Volume Two, follows in perfect manner the first volume in this series.
About the Author: Phil James is a native of western Albemarle County, Virginia. Across four decades, he has researched and gathered the stories of the people and communities of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Blending the oral histories he has collected along with photos copied from the family albums of his hosts, he presents the region’s history within the context of the people who have lived it. Secrets of the Blue Ridge has appeared regularly in the Crozet Gazette since 2006. In addition to sharing his passion for local history with school and civic groups, he has taught university-level short courses through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Virginia.
Reviews: “The first thing readers marvel over are the stare-inducing photographs. Next is his avuncular style, so sympathetic to the lives of those who have been here before us, and often trailing a moral… In a vivid detail, a telling fact, Phil gives us precious glimpses of the people who once shared our Blue Ridge vistas.”
- Michael J. Marshall, Editor, The Crozet Gazette, Crozet, VA
“Mountain folk and flatlanders have dug deep into their memory banks and attic trunks to delight Phil James with stories and photographs from the past. After decades of hunting down local history with the enthusiasm and tenacity of a prized coon dog, the writer is considered family by people throughout Crozet and the nearby mountains.”
- David Maurer, Feature Writer, The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA
“Phil James is a walking history book, having a vast knowledge of subject matter concerning the old ways. He is a keeper of the keys which not only unlock the past but open the door to the future.”
- Lynn Coffey, Retired Publisher and Author, Backroads, Love, VA
For more information contact Mitzi Ware, firstname.lastname@example.org