Our Kind of People: The Story of an American Family

Jonathan Yardley, Author Grove/Atlantic $21.95 (356p) ISBN 978-1-55584-174-4
This loving but wry family history by the Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic of the Washington Post focuses on his parents and their Anglo-Saxon Protestant lineage. Bill and Helen Gregory Yardley lived out most of their 50-year marriage in the service of private education, mainly at Chatham Hall, a Virginia girls' school that Bill headed for 22 years. The son depicts his parents' humanity and dignity as well as their flair for book collecting, but he is not silent about foiblesBill's bombast, his ``pedigree-dropping'' and his preoccupation with the sartorial (an Episcopalian priest, he seemed more concerned with embroidered vestments than with theology). The family's pride in ancestry is understandable: among forebears are fire-and-brimstone preacher Jonathan Edwards, for whom the author is named, and federal judge John Woolsey, whose landmark ruling opened the way for publication of Ulysses. Family minutiae does not make a surefire pageturner, but Yardley succeeds by combining affection with his amused yet sharp eye for detail. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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