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.
[Lingan] finds dignity and even heroism in the lives of those in its orbit and reminds us, on every page, that the times are always a-changing, though often not for the better ... he is at his most passionate when depicting the 'constant collision' between the past and modernity and between the powerful and those who are displaced by economic and cultural shifts ... Mr. Lingan’s rollicking descriptions of honky-tonk nights are so booze-soaked that a reader might wonder about the safety of driving after reading such passages.