Polk's Folly

Polk's Folly

An American Family History

Book - 2000
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The grand saga of American history told through the story of one remarkable family--a chronicle of pioneers and generals, presidents and scoundrels, cowboys and killers, Southern belles and civil rights heroes. In 1680, a Scots-Irish mercenary named Robert Pollok fled war-torn Ireland with his family, in search of safe haven and a better life in the New World. When Robert (now using the name "Polk") arrived in Maryland, the only land available was a wretched piece of swampfront the locals derisively dubbed "Polk's Folly." From this desperate and hardscrabble beginning, the Polk clan would flourish, and generate some of the most fascinating and colorful characters in American history. When William Polk was a boy in Texas, he sat rapt as his grandmother Molly spun tales of family lore, of Civil War heroes and rascals, presidents and slaves, Indian traders and fighters. Polk would go on to have a long and prestigious career as a historian and diplomat, but he kept his grandmother's stories alive for his children, and when he retired, decided to research the truth behind the family history. And what a history. In these pages one finds drafters of an early Declaration of Independence, oft-wounded soldiers of the Revolutionary War, women taken hostage by Indians, land speculators, slaveholding aristocrats and populist crusaders, one of our greatest presidents, Civil War generals and foot soldiers from North and South, a grandfather who shot the sheriff of Laredo and became a cattle baron, the founders of the Wall Street firm Davis Polk, Patton's lead tank commander, Martin Luther King's lawyer, and the author's amazing brother, a World War II Navy pilot and journalist who was the first casualty of the Cold War. The saga of this family is the story of the United States.Polk's Follyis both epic in scope and intimate in detail--a unique book about our shared past. When Bill Polk was a boy in Texas, he sat rapt as his grandmother spun tales of family history, of Civil War heroes and rascals, of presidents and slaves, Indian traders and fighters. Throughout his long and distinguished career as a historian, Bill kept her stories alive for his children, and when he retired decided to approach his family story as a historian would. And what a history. In these pages one finds drafters of an early Declaration of Independence, oft-wounded soldiers of the Revolutionary War, women taken hostage by Indians, land speculators, slaveholding aristocrats and populist crusaders, one of our greatest presidents, Civil War generals and foot soldiers from North and South, a grandfather who shot the sheriff of Laredo and became a cattle baron, the founders of the powerful Wall Street firm Davis, Polk, Patton's lead tank commander, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s lawyer, and the author's amazing brother, a Navy pilot and journalist who was the first casualty of the Cold War. The saga of this family is the story of the United States. It is both epic in scope and intimate in detail--a unique book for an age obsessed with the past. -->
Publisher: New York : Doubleday ; Anchor Books, c2000
ISBN: 9780385491501
0385491506
Characteristics: xxxi, 512 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm

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