Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk

John Lingan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-93253-1
Journalist Lingan’s engrossing and fast-paced book tells a mesmerizing tale of the characters that put Winchester, Va., on the map. As in many small cities, the residents of Winchester are torn between preserving tradition and encouraging industry and jobs. Freelance writer Lingan was first drawn to Winchester in 2013 to explore country singer Patsy Cline’s hometown, just two hours from Washington, D.C. Once there, he learned about Jim McCoy, a DJ who in 1948 gave Cline a chance to sing on a local radio station when she was 16 years old. Within a decade, McCoy started Winchester Records and opened a country music nightclub called the Troubador, which he operated until his death in 2016. Cline died in a plane crash in 1963, and since then the Troubadour has drawn tourists searching not only for stories about Cline but also looking for an authentic small-town experience. Lingan introduces readers to the town’s notable historical figures, such as politician Harry Flood Byrd, who in the early 20th century helped expand the town’s apple farming industry, and contemporary writer Joe Bagean (Deer Hunting with Jesus) who railed against the first Walmart that opened there. Lingan’s charming book tells of a mountain town’s adapting to change in fast-moving times. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2018
Release date: 07/17/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-544-93083-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-192-4
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