In the tradition of Joe Pageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus and J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, an intimate account of social change, country music, and a vanishing way of life as a Shenandoah town collides with the twenty-first century
Lingan’s book is not a polemic and it’s not a gimmick ... He often conjures the place and its people with novelistic detail, saying a lot with a lyrical little ... You end Homeplace thinking that every American town could use a book like this one written about it; every town could afford to be this lovingly but critically seen. Like many of the best country songs, the book is sentimental in a way that makes you wonder why sentiment is such a dirty word.
Lingan’s first book provides much more than the appealing subtitle suggests ... Lingan’s literary flourishes will please readers curious about country culture ... Lingan is an astute observer of the social problems and cultural changes he encounters, and he writes about them without bias or preachiness. Fans of country music will enjoy Lingan’s portrait of a place and insights into a rapidly disappearing culture.
Through patient reporting and descriptive story-telling, author Lingan also untangles the history of [Winchester, Virginia] ... Lingan turns Winchester into a character itself, mapping out the town’s history and development, and sharing details about the neighborhoods, hotels and restaurants, circling back to the importance of real estate again and again ... Through the particulars, Lingan sheds a light on different ideas of what it means to be an American.