- Book Notes
Farming in the Black Patch. By Bobbie Smith Bryant. (Morely, Mo.: Acclaim Press, 2016. Pp. 192. $39.95 cloth)
Western Kentucky native Bobbie Smith Bryant draws on her family history as inspiration in this exploration of tobacco production in that corner of the commonwealth. Farming in the Black Patch not only covers modern cultivation techniques, it also sketches the history of tobacco in the region more generally. Known as the “black patch” for the dark, fire-cured tobacco and hue of the soil, southwestern Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee have been associated with the [End Page 123] crop for over two hundred years. Bryant brings this history to life, from the first crops through the “Black Patch War” of the early twentieth century to the present day. This book has a beautiful layout and features striking color photography on virtually every page. Bryant’s volume complements her 2013 documentary film of the same name.
The Long Game: A Memoir. By Mitch McConnell. (New York: Sentinel, 2016. Pp. viii, 278. $28.00 cloth; $14.99 ebook)
In an era of hyper-partisanship, the new memoir from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invites the reader to look beyond the specifics of today’s political showdowns to reflect on longer timeframes. Covering McConnell’s life from his Alabama childhood, struggle with polio, and career at the University of Louisville through his rise in Bluegrass politics, the memoir details the life story of one of the longest-tenured senators in the state’s history. It also weighs in on some of the heated political battles of McConnell’s career, pulling the curtain back to reveal his take on clashes on both sides of the aisle over more than three decades. McConnell’s work provides interesting anecdotes and insights on the modern political arena. [End Page 124]