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Book reviews for "Lyle,_Katie_Letcher" sorted by average review score:

I Will Go Barefoot All Summer for You
Published in Hardcover by G K Hall & Co (1974)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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Enchanting, Poetic
An excellent and very moving coming of age story. Ms Lyle's books are filled with marvelous imagery and snips of poetry as well as beautiful landscapes and natural scenes.

The characters are well drawn and memorable. First love and self discovery, as well as a search for one's place in the world are themes worthy of exploration.

Beautiful coming-of-age story
I first read this book over 15 years ago as I was entering a troubled adolescence and I have cherished and re-read it many times since. The very simple but affecting story of Jessie, a tomboy looking for female role models and the meaning of true love. It's not just the plot, but the setting of the story, the late 50's/early 60's in rural Virginia that contributes to the tone and the feeling of the joy that Jessie has in just being alive. Many memorable scenes, like when she is riding topless on her bike on a sunny day and smelling the honeysuckle. Wonderful, wonderful book. Why is this out of print? I treasure my tattered paperback. Also check out her book "Fair Day and Another Step Begun" about a pregant young woman and her quest for the father of her baby. It's just as magical as "Barefoot." Unfortunately, it's also out of print.

Dark but Full of Diamonds
Published in Hardcover by Putnam Pub Group Juv (1981)
Author: Katie Letcher, Lyle
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Sweet story and interesting throughout
A story that doesn't age even if the model on the cover has. I should's me ! A coming-of-age story that will enchant boys as much as girls. A romantic saga.

The Golden Shores of Heaven
Published in Hardcover by Harpercollins Juvenile Books (1976)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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Storyline ....
Since Amazon didn't post an editorial review, here's the description from the back of the book to help you decide if this book is for you: "Nashville -- it's the 'Golden Shores of Heaven' to a country singer and heaven itself is the chance to sing. Eighteen-year-old Mary Curlew landed in Nashville with a fine old Gibson guitar and a fierce amount of ambition. She was going to make it. Perform on the 'Grand Ole Opry.' Sing her heart out. Be a star. But first she had to find somebody who would listen."

Good-Bye to Old Peking: The Wartime Letters of U.S. Marine Captain John Seymour Letcher, 1937-1939
Published in Hardcover by Ohio Univ Pr (Txt) (1998)
Authors: John Seymour Letcher, Roger B. Jeans, and Katie Letcher Lyle
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Very readable, & descriptive of the times in pre-WWII China
Mr. Letcher's letters were written in a style that gives the reader a "visual" description of pre World War II China. Although some of his opinions may not be politically correct by todays standards, I think he honestly expresses his feelings of the people and surroundings at the time. Some of his predictions regarding the upcoming war are almost right on--however his prediction that California would eventually be captured by the Japanese happily did not come true. Regardless of Mr. Letcher's personal opinions, his letters are well written and gives the reader the feeling of being there. A good story. The editors did a great job of keeping the story on track, and the footnote information was very informative (Their references led me to several other publications which I subsequently read). The copy I read was from the public library. I plan to buy the book for my collection in the near future.

When the Fighting Is All over: The Memoir of a Marine Corps General's Daughter
Published in Hardcover by Longstreet Press (1997)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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Publishers Weekly review 09/22/97
Although the subtitle of this touching, beautifully written volume indicates otherwise, the book is in fact a biography of the author's parents' troubled marriage. Writing with grace and generous doses of humor, Lyle (The Foraging Gourmet) describes her early years with her mother as a wonderful time when women in the community banded together to take care of each other. Family conflict began when her father, Marine Corps Brigadier General John Seymour Letcher ("the youngest officer in the history of the Marine Corps to have a General's command in battle") returned from the South Pacific of WWII an angry, controlling man who proceeded to grind his family into submission. The author explains that her mother had entered into a loveless union with a man who was by turns charming and viciously domineering largely because, as a woman, she was blocked form most other options. During the long marriage she was subject to depression, for which she was occasionally hospitalized. Lyle skillfully describes her own life-long struggle to differentiate herself from her father, in whom she saw many of her own traits magnified and distorted. Describing her journey to come to terms with him, she is as funny as she is frank, and emerges as a compelling figure, every bit as strong and capable as her father but without his apparently self-involved rage.

The Wild Berry Book: Romance, Recipes, & Remedies (Camp and Cottage)
Published in Paperback by NorthWord Press (1994)
Authors: Kate Letcher Lyle, Laurie Anderson Caple, and Katie Letcher Lyle
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Romance, Recipes and Remedy Folklore
The presented material of commonly found wild berries is done in summarized fashion, making this book an easy read. Plus it's all very inviting, rich with quotations, eye-catching color photos and wonderful illustrations, giving the book much appeal.

Wild berries of merit are divided into three sections and those found in the first two chapters are described in a basic layout with: Introduction, Description & Locality, Edibility & Recipes, Etymology, History & Folklore plus Reputed Medical Virtues. It also goes through various common names given to many wild berries. All of these details, which include some idea for bloom season and ripening season, are mostly provided for general idea, kept very basic. With even less information highlighted in the following chapter aptly labeled Minor Berries. Before the book ends it also furnishes a brief notation of fifteen poisonous berries, in common and Latin names but simply says to avoid them, giving no visual description beyond the four pictures, or any other useful clarifications for awareness. So the book is not very consistent with providing adequate information and a few times I had questions come to mind and where not being answered as I continued to read. For the more than thirty different berries found within, this book alone is not really well suited as a source for indentification.

The many recipes supplied are quite interesting and most are vintage. One recipe that struck me as curious, found on page 32 was for a 17th Century Blackberry Wine, I also loved the author's trick for a Bloddy Mary drink on page 100, using juniper to get a flavor of gin without the alcohol. Not all recipes are very practical or necessarily healthy, calling for generous amounts of sugar, but there is at least something to experiment with. Recipes to be found range from jellies, jams, syrups, wines, drinks, pies, puddings, other desserts and more. Not much is provided for instructions on making remedies. Mainly just interesting American Indian medical folklore and comments on past usage and beliefs throughout history. A sample of the wild fruits highlighted in this book (in common name) range from strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, various raspberries, elderberry, bayberry, gooseberry, cranberry, currants, mulberry, mahonia berry, may apple, hawthorns, rosehips, sumac, saw palmetto, wintergreen, pokeberry, snowberry and many, many more.

In addition to her wonderful introduction on the topic, the author does a lovely closing chapter to the book as well, telling more of her personal accounts, memories and opinions on the beneficial aspects of harvesting from the wild, which uniquely, is where an added touch of romance falls in. Certainly is great as casual reading for the experienced berry hunter and because of its good advice it's a decent introductory book for the beginner.

The Wild Berry Book is the book to buy! A+++
If you are looking for a book to buy that has great color and depth in each picture and you really want to know what berries your about to pick if they are poison or not......this is the book to's not like a lot of books that have pencil sketches of a berry...what a joke those are when so many berries look a like! This book is GREAT! You won't be sorry!

So many berries!
Having been a berry lover and berry picker since a young girl, I found this to be a very lovely and interesting book. Lovely for the beautiful pictures of so many berries. Interesting for the variety of berries pictured and described. There are so many berries I've seen and wondered about, not daring to pick and eat, or being aware they are edible, not knowing how they are to be eaten. Now I have a reference. The book is a feast for the eyes with lots of useful information. A good book for wanderers of the forest who come across these delicate fruits and wonder.

Scalded to death by the steam : authentic stories of railroad disasters and the ballads that were written about them
Published in Unknown Binding by Algonquin Books ()
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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Interesting, but incomplete!
My father, Fred J. Lewey has been credited with writing the original words to "Wreck of the Old 97", by Robert Gordon's papers, accepted and held by the Library of Congress, where there is a cylinder recording of him singing the song. That recording was used in Supreme Court, in the George trial about the composer. Also, Reader's Digest in their "American Classics" recognised him, and Shapiro & Berstein, (who hold the copyright on the song), have acknowledged his authorship.I have sheet music, and a folk music song book showing him and Charles Noell as co-writers, (although Mr Noell has acknowledged that he rewote some of the words at a much later date). Henry Whitter recorded the song, and changed some words, but certainly did not compose the song. Why then, did the author of this book discuss Norm Cohen's and Robert Gordon's documents, plus mentioning a man proven to have made a fraudulant claim to the song, and never mention the actual writer? Did she fail to complete her research? My sister and I, Fred J. Lewey's only surviving children, are somewhat offended by this omission. Otherwise, we enjoyed the book, although we only recently became aware that it had been published, using a line from our Dad's song as the title!

Folk songs about train wrecks are put in perspective.
Ms. Lyle shows a historian's perspicaciousness in her investigation of "Wreck of the Old '97" and other train wreck songs. She finds people who were at the wrecks and digs up news accounts of the wrecks--not all wrecks, just the ones with songs about them. Her comparisons of the myths in the songs and the history itself make a wonder read.

An intriguing integration of railroad history and folksongs.
Who was Casey Jones? How did he really die? How did a child bring death to Engineer Ben Dewberry? Of all railroad disasters, why did the "Wreck of the Old 97" become so well known in song?

Lyle spins us stories of the real histories behind two dozen American railroad disasters that spawned folksongs that will not themselves die, though death figures prominently in their stanzas. Having learned most of these songs by heart as a child, Lyle writes this book as a labor of love and makes it the most readable history book in print, imbuing its historical facts with the pathos and the frailty of real humans, whose all-too-human errors occasioned many of the disasters described in these pages.

Of course, this is also a song book, and the music and words of the old railroad ballads are woven into each story. The sole disappointment in the book is that it comes to an end. Found by happenstance, it quickly became a cherished addition to my library, though whether to put it with my railroad collection or my folklore collection remains a bit of a question, but that really doesn't matter since it's in my hands much more than it's on the shelf! Readers of railroad folklore and singers of railroad ballads will surely find the lure of Lyle's writing irresistible.

Also, while you're browsing here, be sure to check out Norm Cohen's "Long Steel Rail," a thoroughly researched and scholarly work on railroads in American folksongs. Together, Lyle's book and Cohen's will provide hour upon hour of enjoyable reading to everyone whose interest includes folk music and iron rails!

The Foraging Gourmet
Published in Paperback by The Lyons Press (01 April, 1997)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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The Foraging Fourmet
Dear Reader,

If you enjoy outdoor cooking, and foraging for your own food then this is a very good book to own. "The Foraging Gourmet" has ten chapters including fungi: mushrooms, green things, nuts, flowers & herbs. This book has black and white drawings for almost every plant that is used in the recipes. It also contains 16 pages of color photos. Every plant in this book is given a description, habitat, season, history, and lore. A description of how it looks, tastes, and smells (if there is a smell). The author describes the habitat of where each plant grows. This book teaches what the best seasons are for each plant. It also tells of what different minerals each plant contains. The history describes who first started eating it. The lore tells about cures (if any) it was used for. Other helpful uses of plants are talked about such as dyes. Throughout the book there are educational side notes about a variety of subjects that I found very interesting. This book contains 195 pages and is a very good investment.

The Man Who Wanted Seven Wives: Being the Account of a Famous Murder Mystery of 1897 Supposedly Solved by the Testimony of a Ghost, Together With an
Published in Hardcover by Algonquin Books (1986)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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Not enough research
Part of the book is true.I have done a lot of research on this story.The same story was published 4 years before this was to of happened.Author has taken a folk tale and made a fortune by telling half truths.I am his great nephew.I have records to back this up.

This is one of the most interesting accounts of a local legend that I've ever read. Lyle's explanation of what probably happened is brilliant. A great read.

Fair Day, and Another Step Begun
Published in Textbook Binding by Lippincott (1974)
Author: Katie Letcher Lyle
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