Home Town by Tracy Kidder

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In this splendid book, one of America's masters of nonfiction takes us home--into Hometown, U.S.A., the town of Northampton, Massachusetts, and into the extraordinary, and the ordinary, lives that people live there. As Tracy Kidder reveals how, beneath its amiable surface, a small town is a place of startling complexity, he also explores what it takes to make a modern small city a success story. Weaving together compelling stories of individual lives, delving into a rich and varied past, moving among all the levels of Northampton's social hierarchy, Kidder reveals the sheer abundance of life contained within a town's narrow boundaries. Does the kind of small town that many Americans came from, and long for, still exist?  Kidder says yes, although not quite in the form we may imagine. A book about civilization in microcosm, Home Town makes us marvel afresh at the wonder of individuality, creativity, and civic order--how a disparate group of individuals can find common cause and a code of values that transforms a place into a home. And this book makes you feel you live there.

About Tracy Kidder

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TRACY KIDDER graduated from Harvard University and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine. MICHAEL FRENCH has published twenty books, including fiction for adults and young adults, biographies, and art criticism. He has adapted many acclaimed adult works for young people. Michael French divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Published September 5, 2012 by Random House. 468 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Within this small city, Kidder finds, is an inextricable web of relationships, held together by a “tradition of secularized virtue that fed on dreams of ideal places.” As with The Soul of a New Machine (1981), Among Schoolchildren (1989), and House (1985), Kidder focuses on representative individ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Kidder finds Northampton capable of harboring ""appalling abundance"" in the private lives of its 30,000 citizens, and he taps the town's diversity selectively, profiling a single mother from California who studies at Smith, a crack-addled drug informant, a judge, a lawyer whose obsessive compuls...

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AV Club

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A historic community of 30,000 nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Northampton appears at first to be the quaint, Rockwellian ideal suggested by the title of Tracy Kidder's remarkable Home Town.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Home Town

Entertainment Weekly

Home Town is a crosscutting, anecdotal account about the place where Kidder lives, Northampton, Mass., a thriving, arty college town of 30,000 people about 100 miles west of Boston and as far as you can get from a typical small town.

May 21 1999 | Read Full Review of Home Town


If the whole town were suddenly transparent and you could see in one broad sweep everything about the place, "you'd be overcome before you turned away," writes Tracy Kidder of Northampton, Mass., the town he dissects in Home Town.

May 24 1999 | Read Full Review of Home Town

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