ROBERT MORGAN was raised on his family’s farm in the North Carolina mountains. The author of eleven books of poetry, three books of nonfiction, and eight books of fiction, including the bestselling novel Gap Creek. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches at Cornell University. He won the Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature in 2007.
In this Oprah Book for 2000, Robert Morgan returns his readers to the vivid world of the Appalachian high country. Julie and Hank’s life in the last years of the nineteenth century is more complicated than the couple ever imagined. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what to fear most – the fires and floods or the flesh-and-blood grifters, drunks, and busybodies who insinuate themselves into their lives. Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with their disappointments and triumphs make this a riveting follow-up to Morgan’s acclaimed novel, The Truest Pleasure.
Ginny, who marries Tom at the turn of the century after her family has given up on her ever marrying, narrates the story of their life together on her father’s farm in the western North Carolina mountains. Their marriage is mutually beneficial in purely practical terms but there is also mutual attraction, and indeed their “loving” is deeply gratifying. What keeps getting in the way of it, though, are their obsessions. It’s not until Tom lies unconscious and at the mercy of a disease for which the mountain doctor has no cure that Ginny realizes her truest pleasure is her love for her husband.
Brave Enemies: A Novel of the American Revolution
As the War for Independence wore on into the 1780s, unrest ruled the Carolinas. Robert Morgan’s stunning novel tells a story of two people caught in the chaos raging in the wilderness. Sixteen-year-old Josie Summers murders her abusive stepfather and runs away from home disguised as a boy. Lost in the woods, she accepts a young preacher’s invitation to assist in his itinerant ministry. Eventually her identity is revealed and affection grows between the two. But when the preacher is kidnapped by British soldiers, Josie disguises herself once again and joins the militia in a desperate attempt to find him.
Robert Morgan’s first novel unfolds through the voices of three generations of Appalachian storytellers. In the first segment, adventurous teenager Petal runs off with a handsome homesteader in 1772. She tells of setting up housekeeping on the frontier, including the story of birthing her first baby while staving off a panther. In the second, set in 1816, Petal’s grandson uses a starved pig to track the best path for building a route down the mountain to market. In the third, set in 1845, Petal’s grandson constructs the turnpike down the mountain.
Jefferson dreamed that the United States would stretch across the North American continent, from ocean to ocean. The account of how that dream became reality unfolds in the stories of Jefferson and nine other Americans whose adventurous spirits and lust for land pushed the westward boundaries. Their stories—and those of the nameless thousands who risked their lives to settle on the frontier, displacing thousands of Native Americans—form an extraordinary chapter in American history that led directly to the cataclysm of the Civil War. Filled with illustrations, portraits, maps, battle plans, notes, and time lines.
The story of Daniel Boone is the story of America—its ideals, its promise, its romance, and its destiny. Robert Morgan reveals the complex character of a frontiersman whose heroic life was far stranger and more fascinating than the myths that surround him. Extensive endnotes, cultural and historical background material, and maps and illustrations underscore the scope of this rich, authoritative, distinguished, and immensely entertaining biography.