Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

And Their Children After Them

The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South

by Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson

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Photographs by Michael Williamson

Foreword by Carl Mydans

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

In And Their Children After Them, the writer/photographer team Dale Maharidge and Michael Williamson return to the land and families captured in James Agee and Walker Evans's inimitable Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, extending the project of conscience and chronicling the traumatic decline of King Cotton. With this continuation of Agee and Evans’s project, Maharidge and Williamson not only uncover some surprising historical secrets relating to the families and to Agee himself, but also effectively lay to rest Agee’s fear that his work, from lack of reverence or resilience, would be but another offense to the humanity of its subjects. Williamson's ninety-part photo essay includes updates alongside Evans's classic originals.

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“A stunning sequel to the James Agee/Walker Evans classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It is at times astonishing, at all times deeply moving.”

“A book that reaches into this country's heart of darkness … A tragically human story more telling than a thousand polls. The photographs by Mr. Williamson are eloquent.”

“Mr.Williamson's photos are spellbinding and should become instant classics. Mr. Maharidge is a crusading journalist with the heart of a young man who can still look at and write about the bittersweet in life. Good for him, and good for us that he has done it.”

“The collaborative effort of photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, portrayed the lives of three sharecropper families in the South during the Depression, giving witness to the tyranny of the tenant farming system that enslaved some nine million tenants in 1936. Their book was at once poetic, scathing, compelling, and tragic. Fifty years later, Maharidge and Williamson have revisited, photographed, and interviewed the surviving members and descendants of the Gudger, Ricketts, and Woods families shown in that book … A fascinating work.”

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When he isn’t traveling across the United States gathering the stories of its various inhabitants, former newspaper reporter Dale Maharidge teaches journalism at Columbia University. He has also been a visiting professor at the University and Stanford and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Maharidge lives in Northern California.