It Runs in the Family
By Richard Manning
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312620301, 307pp.)
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
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It Runs in the Family is a memoir of faith and willful ignorance, truths and secrets, rural and urban labor, and fire: fire as both knowledge and destructive force.
Richard Manning was raised on a piece of farmland in Michigan, in a working- class family of Christian fundamentalists. Manning's father was a jack of many trades: farmer, carpenter, builder, power lineman, factory worker, small businessman. His mother concealed her own troubled childhood beneath a religious faith that explained away uncertainty, illness, and tragedy.
Manning grew up learning how to work and what to believe---but came to understand his family’s seemingly-normal facade as a mask for troubling secrets. It Runs in the Family is the story of Manning’s journey away from his family, one that ranges from their Michigan farm to the fire-ravaged wilderness of Montana, and finally to a remote village in Panama, where he comes to pursue a past he had vowed to leave behind. Linking his own life with the larger story of his family, the land they inhabited, and the right-wing fundamentalist politics gaining ground in America, Richard Manning offers a singular memoir.