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Family Portraits in Global History, An Oral History Collection – is a work of love; it’s about writing family history, writing memoir, and writing about place.

Arranged into Three Themes: Survivor Narratives, The Wars, and Phenomenal Women, the collection chronicles memories that humanize and expand the historical record and meet a deep need for the older generation to tell their story for posterity.

This valuable acquisition will enrich your current collection, benefit your student population, stimulate classroom discussion and offer a memorable writing and research assignment that your students and their families will not forget.

Family Portraits In Global Perspectives showcases a collection of vivid and touching memoirs of the surprising lives of ordinary elders from across the globe. Surviving the Great Depression, WWII, the Vietnam War, famines, migration & poverty, the collection will move and inspire your students to chronicle their elders’ histories for posterity.

The memoirs were recorded, translated and written by university students under my guidance, and based on an oral history assignment that I designed, which is also described in the book. Sample oral history questions are also included. The narratives capture transnational accounts of lived experiences during pivotal world events dating back to the 1920’s through contemporary times. The topics in this volume include intimate accounts of the Great Depression, the Civil Rights era, World War II, Latin American history, military coup d’états, natural disasters, communism, and migration.

The collection of memoirs showcased in Family Portraits reflects student diversity, spanning many cultures, and including diverse regions of the United States, Mexico, China, Japan, Greece, Korea, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, Nepal, Burma, and Malaysia.

The oral histories offer a space from where to empathize with the everyday realities of the previous generations, and the many resourceful ways in which our ancestors lived their lives.

Overwhelmingly, students who conducted these oral histories were surprised by the memories shared by their grandparents and the elders in their families. The assignment brought them closer together, deepened their understanding of family and created a lasting bond.


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