First published in 1989, Our Kind of People is Jonathan Yardleys moving account of his family from the founding of America to the present day. It is the story of the Yardleys, Gregorys, Ingersolls and Woolseys, families prominent in the growth of the nation. But pre-eminently it is the story of Helen and Bill Yardley, the author's parents, whose marriage forms the center of this remarkable narrative.
When Bill Yardley first met Helen Gregory, in 1935, he was a post-graduate student of education at Harvard and she a senior in the first graduating class at Bennington. Over the next fifty years their lives would become inextricably bound as they married and raised four children, Supported by Helen, Bill rose through the ranks of the educational profession to become rector of Chatham Hall, a small girls' school in Virginia. On his retirement they moved to a house they built in Rhode Island.
Using the correspondence and records with which his parents scrupulously documented the events of their lives, Jonathan Yardley has painted an eloquent and affecting portrait of an American family and of a way of life that has now all but passed. For this new edition he has added an afterword and an essay about his mother.
Reads like a first-rate novel....Out of lived experience and inherited legend, Jonathan Yardley has made a fine book about all kind of people. - Elizabeth Janeway, New York Times
John P. Marquand is Jonathan Yardleys model, but the truth is that this story has more depth than Marquand's fiction. And it has real authority and authenticity....His portrait of our first ruling culture is accurate and honest. His view of America, then and now, is both lively and challenging. But Yardleys true literary triumph is to have introduced us to some decent and honorable people who are as alive and worthy of interest as anybody you are likely to meet, in or out of a book, for a good time to come. - George Garrett, USA Today
It's a lovely book - not so much a family memoir or family history, but a detailed, lacy valentine to two ordinary people such as few American parents, in this hardball century at least, will ever be lucky enough to receive. - Stephen Birmingham, Washington Times
Our Kind of People is a loving book, an act of familial and filial piety in an impious age. Yet its tone is never pious in a pejorative sense. Intermingled with wit and warmth we encounter sharp edges and tragedies in this multi-generational chronicle. Edmund Fuller - Raleigh News and Observer
Jonathan Yardley was born in Pittsburgh in 1939 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the Washington Post in 1981 he worked for the New York Times, the Greensboro Daily News, the Miami Herald and the Washington Star . He is the author of Ring: A Biography of Ring Lardner (1977), Out of Step: Notes from a Purple Decade (1991), States of Mind: A Personal JourneyThrough the Mid-Atlantic (1993), Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley (1997) and Monday Morning Quarterback (1998). In 1968-69 he held a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University and in 1981 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism.
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