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Distracted by Alabama : tangled threads of natural history, local history, and folklore  Cover Image Book Book

Distracted by Alabama : tangled threads of natural history, local history, and folklore


"In 1971, Jim Brown moved to Birmingham with his young family to start his first full-time teaching job at Samford University. Within days, he was fishing on the Cahaba River; soon, the entire Brown family was regularly exploring the river's twists and turns and the myriad creatures living there. A European historian by training, Brown began to broaden his areas of expertise to fulfill the range of his teaching responsibilities. As his intellectual horizons expanded, Brown quickly became fascinated with the history, culture, and environment of his new home. In the years to come, Brown's curiosity would lead him on a series of literal and investigative journeys across Alabama's physical and cultural landscape which he endeavored to bring back to the classroom. Upon retirement in 2016, Brown set to work weaving together an account of the encounters and activities that unfolded in his early years in Alabama as the state slowly made him into one of its own. Incorporating personal experiences and insights drawn from a lifetime of learning and teaching, the resultant memoir begins with his first brush with the Cahaba River and spans topics ranging from salamander migration, shape note singing (with Wayne Flynt, no less), disappearing arts and crafts traditions, land use patterns over time, historic preservation, experiential education, birds, bats, railroad hollers, and more than a few fish tales along the way. Interspersed throughout with insights drawn from Brown's academic career, Distracted by Alabama traces a very personal, historically informed, and idiosyncratic profile of a region in transition in the mid to late twentieth century. It also stands as testament to the ideals and value of liberal arts education in a society"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780817321178 (hardcover)
  • ISBN: 0817321179 (hardcover)
  • Physical Description: xii, 304 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
  • Publisher: Tuscaloosa : The University of Alabama Press, [2022]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Immersed in the Cahaba River -- Homewood's salamander migration and festival -- The Archy Culvert, a.k.a. Ross Bridge -- Foxfire, folk crafts, and folkcenter south -- What wondrous love is this : Sacred harp singing -- Telescoping time : landscape architecture, historical geography, and greenways -- Herb Doctor Tommie Bass and the scholars -- Experimenting with experiential education -- Survival of the great shoal fishtrap and other old practices -- River redhorse and the seasonal snaring thereof -- The mountain workshop of the Alabama Audubon Society -- For the amusement of the boys : John Mealing, railroad caller.
Subject: Brown, James Seay, 1944-
Natural history > Alabama.
Folklore > Alabama.
College teachers > Alabama > Biography.
Alabama > Description and travel.
Alabama > Biography.
Sciences naturelles > Alabama.
Folklore > Alabama.
Alabama > Descriptions et voyages.
Alabama > Biographies.
College teachers.
Natural history.
Genre: Biographies.

Available copies

  • 2 of 2 copies available at State Library of Alabama.


  • 0 current holds with 2 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
APLS 976.1 BRO 2022 31291002951315 STACKS Available -
APLS 976.1 BRO 2022 31291002951323 STACKS Available -

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