"Not everyone hits the right key when singing the praises of our lost mountain ways. Lynn Coffee hits it, and has written a rich and nuanced book of love songs about the culture I love best. Thanks, Lynn. We needed this." - Jan Karon, award-winning author of the Mitford and Father Tim novels.
In his foreward to this book, Coffey's friend and bestselling author Brad Herzong (States of Mind and Small World) says that "it is somewhat ironic for me to write something called a foreword because, in many ways, Backroads is a look back - a window into the past." but he wasn't referring just to this book; he meant the hundreds of issues of the "other" Backroads, the monthly country newspaper Lynn founded, wrote for, photographed for, typset for, sold advertising for, fretted and labored over endlessly for, and, perhaps most significantly, tirelessly . . . devotedly . . . lovingly . . . published for twenty-five years. In 1999, in his own travel memoir States of Mind, Herzog wrote this endearing homage to Lynn's raison d'etre: "Backroads is a treasure trove of mountain lore, mountain humor, mountain history, mountain interests, and mountain concerns. But mostly, it is a loving account of mountain people." Ten years later, he adds, "This book that you hold in your hands is a sort of Greatest Hits of Backroads . . . " For those of our mountain heritage, the "Plain Folk" of "Simple Livin'," these are stories to be cherished for the ages.
With chapters on Butchering Hogs, Digging Ginseng, Chair Caning, Making a Kraut Mallet, Early Mountain Schools, Grave Digging, and Rural Route Carriers plus 25 more Lynn provides stories and images in rich detail.