Memoir & Biography

The Soulful Sounds of Derbytown
This is the first-ever record of Louisville’s rich heritage of African American music and entertainment. Known as “Derbytown” because of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville has been home to hundreds of African American musicians whose “soulful sounds” have made significant contributions to the world of music and entertainment locally, nationally, even internationally across a wide range of genres, including gospel, jug band, blues, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and classical and theatrical music.
LIV: A Memoir
This is the story of Olivia, an active and smart 12-year-old who was diagnosed with cancer before the end of her sixth grade school year. While fighting and overcoming the disease only to have it return, getting sepsis and nearly dying, Olivia's faith was put to the test. But the power of God, the emotional strength of her family, and the support of healthcare workers gave Olivia the life she has today.
The Lane Way: Family, Faith, and Fifty Years in Basketball
Celebrated Transylvania University basketball coach Don Lane has taught, counseled, and encouraged thousands of young people over more than three decades of coaching. In this memoir, Coach Lane relates stories about his players, his strategies, his coaching style and philosophy, and the triumphs and setbacks of each season. He also generously shares the life lessons he's drawn from 80 years of a life truly well lived.
Cast Away: Five Generations of Family Fish Stories
Newscaster John Boel offers a new collection of 39 personal stories focused on his lifelong passion for fishing with his family. Through a series of beloved memories and 80 included photographs, he discovers that escaping to go fishing is the thread that binds five generations of the Boel family.
Tula Pendleton: The Life and Work of a Forgotten Southern Writer
Researched and written by Tula Pendleton's great-niece, this book uncovers the historical author's remarkable life with empathy and insight. It also collects, for the first time, all of her extant stories, giving new generations the chance to discover the work of this extraordinary Southern writer.
Spit and Polish: A Kentucky Boy's Coming of Age in a Tennessee Military School
Author Bill Harris tells the story of how he – a lackadaisical, happy-go-lucky 14-year-old in 1957 – gained maturity and built a respectable life on the foundations provided by attending the Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Handed a Greater Purpose
Meet Jason Koger, the first bilateral upper arm amputee in the world to be fitted with two multi-articulating bionic hands. He is a record-setting hunter, a TV and film personality, a sought-after speaker, and the most proficient bionic hand-user in the world. How did he do it? What is his source of strength?
Coming Out and Coming Home
In this poignant and moving memoir, Stan "JR" Zerkowski bravely recounts his personal struggle to face and embrace his identity as a gay man and to reconcile it with his deeply rooted Polish Catholicism. Telling his own story and stories of others who, for whatever reason, face rejection, discrimination, and judgment, Zerkowski issues a prophetic call within the Catholic Church for healing, compassion, dignity, and inclusion.
Bert Combs: The Fern Hill Years
On the threshold of what he thought were his twilight years, Bert Combs, legendary lawyer, judge, and former Kentucky governor, met Sara Walter, and suddenly he began writing a whole new chapter of his life. Sara and Bert loved the mountains of Eastern Kentucky almost as much as they loved each other, and they set off for the mountains to build a life together and begin the adventure of a lifetime. At the heart of it all was Fern Hill, the home they built, Bert’s dream-come-true. From his desk at Fern Hill, Combs filed the lawsuit that shook school reform to its roots, changing forever the face of education in Kentucky. In this poignant memoir, Sara Combs fulfills her last promise to Bert: to tell the tale of the treasured years they spent together at Fern Hill.
A Life's Journey Outdoors
Always evocative and relatable, this is the definitive collection of Mark Reese's columns and personal essays about his favorite pastimes: hunting, fishing, enjoying the outdoors, and observing nature in all its wonder.
Liberation: My Father's Long Journey from War to Peace
The story of how a man finally made peace with his war experiences by returning, decades later, to the French town he helped liberate in 1944 during World War II.
Bluegrass Bold: Stories of Kentucky Women
From scientists to engineers, activists, politicians, writers, actors, and more, Bluegrass Bold celebrates and tells the stories of 36 Kentucky women who helped improve the state and the world beyond. Original portraits by Kentucky woman artists accompany each profile.
More Than Friends: Shaped by Flower Power: Women's Stories from Brotherhood of the Spirit
In the 1970s, 15 women from across the US found themselves living in community at the Brotherhood of the Spirit/Renaissance Community in Massachusetts, one of the largest hippie communes in the country. Living in passive solar houses, growing organic food, and buying organic rice and grains in bulk, they were ahead of their time in some respects, but not all. This is the story of that time of communal living, and the years that followed.
Indentured: A Pathway to America
This harrowing work of historical fiction follows a German family who arrive in Philadelphia in 1746 after the father signs an indenture contract for his family to work toward a free and secure life in the New World. Once there, they are put on auction blocks and sold off to unscrupulous masters. Told by the family's living descendants, this chronicle of betrayal, fear, grief, and murder is ultimately a story of hope, love, and perseverance.
One Lifetime Long: The Heartwarming Memoir of a Pediatric Cardiologist
The personal memoir of Dr. Carol Cottrill, of Lexington, Kentucky, who devoted more than four decades of her life to caring for the tiniest and most vulnerable cardiac patients – newborns, toddlers, and children. Throughout her career, Dr. Cottrill took these patients into her heart and sometimes even into her own home. Her medical expertise, professionalism, passion, and compassion made her a beloved member of the Lexington medical community.
Kickin' ALS: A Young Mother's Journey through Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
When Carrey Dewey was diagnosed at age 42 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), she became determined to spend what life she had left advocating for ALS research and educating people about the disease. Kickin' ALS is a compilation of Carrey's personal Facebook posts, written from shortly after her diagnosis in June 2014 until just before her death in May 2018. It is a powerful and poignant chronicle of one woman's experience with the disease that is 100 percent fatal.
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Leader and Legend: Kevin McDonald's Journey from Troubled Youth to Founder of a Landmark Rehabilitation Program
After a tormented childhood, years of drug abuse, and conviction for armed robbery, Kevin McDonald founded a landmark residential rehabilitation program in Durham, North Carolina. In the midst of today's opioid epidemic, this story chronicling David's life, path to recovery and successful rehab program offers a beacon of hope.
Kentucky's Everyday Heroes, Volume 5: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
Steve Flairty's fifth collection of well-told stories recognizing the most important – not the most famous – people in our beloved state of Kentucky. These stories about real members of our statewide community will warm your heart, inspire you, and make you feel more positive about the human condition.
Sneakin' Deacon: From Secret Service to Sacred Service
Cop, Secret Service agent, private consultant, and bodyguard … Greg Gitschier has led an exciting life. He's protected presidents and royalty, tracked down international criminals, and cracked tough cases. He now serves as a deacon in the Catholic Church, a police chaplain, and Secret Service chaplain. This book shares the raw, the routine, the gritty, and the grand moments of a life in both Secret Service and sacred service.
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22 Feet: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Soccer Story
The incredible true story of the 1992 Davidson College men's soccer team: a brotherhood of young men, a dynamic coach, and an unforgettable season filled with triumph and heartache. The team from a small, liberal arts college in North Carolina showed the world that 22 feet, acting as one team, can accomplish anything.
The Two Lives and One Passion of Louise Marshall: Founder of the Cabbage Patch Settlement
Rich, flawed and female, Louise Marshall was an unconventional hero, focusing her life on one Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood, known as the Cabbage Patch, and the individuals who lived there. For 70 years, she used love, not legislation, to foster pride, self-respect, and character in people, and to attack the day's most difficult social problems.
Political Quickstep: The Life of Kentucky's Colonel Charles S. Todd
This biography explores the life of Charles S. Todd, a patriotic Whig gentleman, farmer, father, lawyer, and army colonel who served in the War of 1812 and later became a political agent, ambassador, and champion of the cultural and industrial revolutions in 19th-century America. Todd's evolution reflects a turbulent time in America, when social and class distinctions were upended, new lands were opened to settlement, and the Civil War ended slavery and the plantation lifestyle to which Todd had been born.
The Collected Poems of Mary Catherine Kirtley Young, 1975-2015
For the last four decades, Mary Catherine Kirtley Young has keenly observed the ups and downs of her own life and put pen to paper to record those experiences and emotions through poetry. Now in her late years, she has collected her poems into this "bouquet" to share with her family, friends, and all who, like her, enjoy the simple pleasure of writing, reading, and identifying with a well-written poem.
Samuel Joseph Elsby: Banker, Businessman, and Community Leader
The Elsby, built in 1916 on the corner of Pearl and State Streets, was New Albany, Indiana's first high-rise office complex. It was a testimonial to the art of ingenuity and innovation, incorporating the most modern conveniences available at the time. In 1917, the New Albany Public Press declared, "Everyone admires the new Elsby." But who was this man, Samuel J. Elsby, who built it? This book dives into the history of both the man and the building, which Elsby considered his crowning achievement.
From a Barnyard to a Schoolyard: My Journey as a High School Principal
Terry Cummins spent most of his life in schoolhouses, primarily as a high-school principal in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. In this book, Cummins, nicknamed "Top Cat" by his students, explains why the hearts and minds of teenagers are mysterious, why parents fail more often than students, why school boards don't have a clue, why teachers go batty, and how principals try to maintain their sanity.
Bessie Jones: Moonshiner's Daughter
When you grow up in the country, family is everything. Bessie Jones Elliott felt very strongly about her family and her home in Kentucky. Even during tough times in her life, she always held her family together … and they stayed together. This book of memories was written by Bessie's daughter, Sharrie A. McWhirter, who hopes this book gives readers an opportunity to experience her mother's memories — the good, the bad, the funny and the sad — of what it was like to live in the country as a "moonshiner's daughter."
Following Boone's Trace
Author Neal O. Hammon precisely details the route that pioneer Daniel Boone took to carve a route through the Kentucky wilderness for land-seekers. Hammon touches on interesting stories, the successes and failures, and the unintended consequences of Boone's journey — for which we all are richer. In the words of Richard Taylor, former Kentucky Poet Laureate, "Hammon's meticulous, stubborn research makes him the dean of living Kentucky frontier historians."
Kentucky's Everyday Heroes: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, Volume Four
Steve Flairty's fourth collection of well-told stories recognizing the most important — not the most famous — people in our beloved Kentucky. These stories about real members of our statewide community will warm your heart, inspire you, and just generally make you feel more positive about the human condition.
Kadee's Hope: A Family's Fight Against Childhood Cancer
Ten-year-old Kadee Sterling has it all — a nice home, a happy life, and a loving family. Soon, though, she faces the biggest challenge of her young life: cancer. Are her family and her faith enough to help her survive?
My Blessed, Wretched Life: Rebecca Boone's Story
Author Sue Ballard provides a thoroughly researched, fictionalized autobiography of frontiersman Daniel Boone's wife, Rebecca Bryan Boone, a woman who deserves tribute for her role in carving new homes and new lives in the primitive and dangerous Kentucky wilderness. Ballard's description of Rebecca's day-to-day life is accurate in each detail, from raising their many children, farming, and kitchen work, to her hourly prayers and waiting in loneliness for the return of her trailblazing husband. A must-read for all who love early American and Kentucky history.
Unexpected Inheritance
Kentucky Monthly magazine publisher Stephen M. Vest offers readers a unique and nostalgic collection of family tales. Through a series of real-life vignettes exploring the relationships within his own feisty, fascinating family, Vest uncovers the many values, traits, and life lessons — often unexpected — that he inherited from his older parents, domineering grandmother, and other colorful characters who influenced his life.
Kentucky Bourbon Barons: Legendary Distillers from the Golden Age of Whiskey Making
Dedicated to preserving the history of the Bluegrass State's most beloved spirit, author Chester Zoeller introduces readers to some of the outstanding gentlemen who became involved in whiskey distilling at the turn of the 20th century in and around Kentucky. He also takes us back to the last years of the 1800s, when hundreds of distilleries produced a wide spectrum of whiskies — Bourbons, both sweet and sour mash, rye, and multi-grain whiskies — and the medicinal benefits of these delightful drinks were as endorsed as their taste.
Home on Clear Creek: The Life of Barbara Jean Brady Thompson
Inspired by her mother's and grandmother's family stories, Joanna Thompson Buckman shares warm reminiscences of what her mother's life was like growing up on a farm in central Kentucky.
Mud Creek Medicine: The Life of Eula Hall and the Fight for Appalachia
This biography chronicles the life of Eula Hall, an iconoclastic woman with a resolute spirit to help her people. Through moonshining, labor strikes, and eventually creating the Mud Creek Clinic, Eula found herself — through sheer determination and will — at the center of a century-long struggle to lift up a part of America that is too often forgotten.
My Kentucky Life
For over a quarter-century, popular television host and producer Dave Shuffett has traveled thousands of miles across Kentucky, interviewing people and photographing places that showcase what is unique and extraordinary about the beloved Bluegrass State. Here he shares over 100 pages of his favorite photographs and essays from those travels, opening our eyes and our hearts to the rich heritage, fascinating people, colorful culture and pure natural beauty of the Commonwealth.
This I Believe: Kentucky
The popular radio essay series focuses its attention on Kentucky voices and themes in this new book from This I Believe, Inc. Here, 60 authors who are either from Kentucky or who are writing about Kentucky provide thoughtful explorations of their core values and guiding principles, including Muhammad Ali, Tori Murden McClure, Frank X Walker, Silas House, Sena Jeter Naslund, and many others from all walks of life.
The Caudills of the Cumberlands: Anne's Story of Life with Harry
In this heartwarming memoir, Anne Caudill — at age 89 — tells fascinating and incredible stories from her life in Appalachia with her husband, Harry Caudill, author of the 1963 book, Night Comes to the Cumberlands. She recalls historic visits by famous people, memorable moments with family and friends, and shares captivating accounts of regional legends and lore. Foreword by Wendell Berry.
Faith Grows by Risk: Stories from the Life of Kentucky Refugee Ministries
This is the story of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a resettlement agency based in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, where human beings who have come out of conflict and deprivation create new lives of accomplishment. Since its founding in 1990, KRM has welcomed more than 12,000 humans from more than 40 countries across the globe and helped them start new lives. It continues its work to this day.
We Must Remember: The Vietnam War Service of Men from Nelson County, Kentucky
Nelson County, Kentucky, which includes the city of Bardstown, suffered more battle deaths per population in the Vietnam War than any other county in America. In this book, co-authors Harry Spalding and Don Parrish share the service records and stories of many brave Nelson County citizens who served valiantly in all branches of the military during the Vietnam War.
Bernson's Corner: A Reporter's Notebook
As a journalist of the "old school" who believes everyone has a story worth telling, Barry Bernson has endeared himself to TV audiences in Louisville and Chicago by focusing on the "little guy" and the human comedy: the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Here, Bernson reveals the warm, often-hilarious account of a life spent in modern broadcast news.
On the News ... In the News: A Journalist's Own Story of Recovery and Self-Discovery
In this tell-all book revealing the news behind the news, veteran Emmy-award-winning TV news anchor John Boel shares 25 years of fascinating stories from one side of the camera, then takes readers to the other side, telling the whole story of his powerful journey through the public shame of two high-profile DUI arrests and his gradual recovery and self-discovery.
Surviving A Stroke
Stricken by a major stroke at age 35, Andrew Fisher tells the amazing story of his sudden illness and the innovative neurologist at the University of Louisville Hospital whose treatment saved his life. Told with an unflinching honesty, Andrew's story is riveting and alarming, yet uplifting and hopeful.
Beyond the Cabbage Patch: The Literary World of Alice Hegan Rice
This is the first and only book-length biography of Alice Hegan Rice, whose bestselling novel, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, has never gone out of print since its publication in 1901. Here, author Mary Boewe has researched and recounted the profound literary career of Alice and her poet husband, Cale, in the context of her fellow talented Louisville writers and the literary world at large in the first two decades of the 20th century.
Finding Sara: A Daughter's Journey
Virginia journalist Margaret Edds was three when her vibrant young mother died in 1950. How could she ever discover the woman she barely knew? Edds unearthed hundreds of letters that led her from southern Tennessee to a World War II city that helped birth the atomic bomb to the Kentucky coal fields and deep into the human heart. Finding Sara is a unique and heartwarming memoir that resurrects a lost relationship and a gentler America.
Never Say Never – Yes You Can! by Phyllis George
Throughout her colorful career—as Miss America and First Lady of Kentucky, and as a pioneering sportscaster, entrepreneur, actor and author—Phyllis George has had to take risks, overcome challenges, and reinvent herself many times in her life. In Never Say Never, she reveals how an indomitable spirit, positive outlook, courage and adaptability has helped her—and can help you—face and learn lessons from each challenging chapter in life.
No Guts, No Glory: My Life as a Brawler, Soldier, Mercenary, Bounty Hunter, Bouncer, Bodyguard, Businessman and All-Around Nice Guy
Jim Bolen's official memoir recounts a life lived so on-the-edge dangerously that you'll insist — as everyone else has — that he shouldn't have made it through. No Guts, No Glory is the hard-knuckle first-hand account of a man whose fierce dedication to justice and fearless sense of adventure have taken him around the world standing up to and fighting down a laundry list of dishonorable and violent men, from belligerent off-duty police officers to South African terrorists.
Hero Tales from American History
In 1895, Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt published 26 of their favorite stories of American heroism, courage under fire, self-sacrifice, and battles that helped shape America. This is an accurate reprint of those tales aimed at a new generation of American youth, to inspire them to learn more of our history and encourage their own acts of heroism.
Romany Marie: The Queen of Greenwich Village
A truly special event, Romany Marie puts readers at the table to engage in a remarkable conversation with the indomitable woman who, for three generations, was hailed as an earth mother by a wide and now-legendary range of intellectuals, artists and bohemians who gathered in New York City's Greenwich Village in the early half of the 20th century.
The Keats Family
Keats descendant Lawrence M. Crutcher has researched and written about every known member of the extended family of the poet John Keats, stretching from Keats' great-grandparents down through the ninth generation issue of his siblings and cousins. The family includes numerous writers, business and professional people, as well as a few reprobates.
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