Softcover. 309 Pages.
Born in Bryson City, North Carolina, Jim Casada has had a long career as a teacher, author, and avid outdoorsman. He grew up in a time and place where families depended on the land and their community to survive. Many of the Smoky Mountain customs and practices that Casada reflects on are gradually disappearing or have vanished from our collective memories.
In A Smoky Mountain Boyhood, Casada pairs his gift for storytelling and his training as a historian to produce a highly readable memoir of mountain life in East Tennessee and western North Carolina. His stories evoke a strong sense of place and reflect richly on the traits that make the people of Southern Appalachia a unique American demographic. Casada discusses traditional folkways; hunting, growing, preparing, and eating wide varieties of food available in the mountain region; and the overall fabric of mountain life. Divided into four main sections—High Country Holiday Tales and Traditions; Seasons of the Smokies; Tools, Toys, and Boyhood Treasures; and Precious Memories—each part reflects on a unique and memorable coming-of-age in the Smokies.
Containing a strong sense of adventure, nostalgic tone, and well-paced prose, Casada’s memoir will be appreciated by those who yearn to rediscover the Smokies of their childhoods as well as those who wish to imaginatively climb these mountains for the first time.
The work encompasses 41 chapters and spans 300+ pages as well as including an extensive section of vintage photographs. Part autobiographical, it is primarily a window into the world of the middle of the 20th century as the author knew it growing up in his beloved highland homeland.
A publisher’s blurb for the book states that “in A Smoky Mountain Boyhood Casada pairs his gift for storytelling and his training as a historian to produce a highly readable memoir of mountain life, with stories evoking a strong sense of place and reflecting richly on the traits that make the people of Southern Appalachia a unique American demographic. Containing a strong sense of adventure, nostalgic tone, and well-paced prose, Casada’s book will be appreciated by those yearning to rediscover their childhoods or imaginatively climb these mountains.”
Divided into four sections—“High Country Holiday Tales and Traditions;” “Seasons of the Smokies;” “Tools, Toys, and Boyhood Treasures;” and “Precious Memories”—each of the book’s parts reflect on a memorable coming-of-age in the Smokies. Among the work’s focal points are traditional folkways; hunting and fishing; growing, preparing, gathering and eating wide varieties of foodstuffs; and the overall fabric of mountain life in yesteryear.
Jim Casada’s book A Smoky Mountain Boyhood: Memories, Musings, and More, published in late 2020, was recipient of a bronze medal in the Non-Fiction category for the Southeast in the latest IPPY (Independent Publishers) Awards program. The competition, which draws thousands of entries each year, is the country’s largest. The entries which placed ahead of Casada’s book were from a former Pulitzer Prize winner and the wife of Wendell Berry, one of the best-known voices of Appalachia. In Jim’s view “that’s pretty heady company for a simple hillbilly like me.”
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