Rick Bragg's Hard South

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Rick Bragg's father, Charles Bragg (left), on the cover of "The Prince of Frogtown."
Rick Bragg's father, Charles Bragg (left), on the cover of "The Prince of Frogtown."

In his bestselling memoir "All Over but the Shoutin'," Bragg told the story of his heroic mother raising a family on her own in Deep South poverty. In "Ava's Man," he reached deeper into family history and lore. In his new memoir, "The Prince of Frogtown," he aims at the man who brought a world of hurt to everyone else in his family — his own father.

For a long time, Bragg didn’t want to talk about his father. His mother, yes. His sainted Southern grandfather, "Ava's man," yes. But his father — a proud, mean, too-often drunken man? Not until now.

“The devil lives in Alabama,” Bragg writes in the new memoir, “and swims in a Mason jar.” In “The Prince of Frogtown,” he paints a picture of a hard, complicated, and ultimately tragic figure. He looks at his own fathering instincts, and the history and lore of his hometown of Jacksonville, Alabama.

This hour, author Rick Bragg on one mean daddy — his own.

Have you read Rick Bragg’s books? Do they inspire you to look harder at your home turf? At your own family history, even the tough parts? When a father hurts a mother, badly, is there room for forgiveness?

Join the coversation, right here.Guest:

Rick Bragg joins us from Mobile, Alabama. He’s an award-winning journalist who currently teaches at the University of Alabama. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his work at The New York Times, and twice received a Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

You can read an excerpt from “The Prince of Frogtown," the latest in his series of Southern memoirs.

This program aired on July 31, 2008.


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