google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Family History Book Moving Up the Amazon Charts! | The Armchair Genealogist

Family History Book Moving Up the Amazon Charts!

Back in 2011, I read a wonderful family history narrative that I have been singing the praises of ever since, Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century.

I wrote a book review in September of 2011. I was moved by John Paul Godges' story and I sent him an email and asked for an interview. I felt many of my readers would be inspired by his work and would like to know more. He was very gracious and granted me this two part interview.

An Interview with John Paul Godges, Part 1 - Writing a Family Narrative
An Interview with John Paul Godges, Part 2  - Self-Publishing 

I have been following his book because my review was not lip-service but I truly believe this book had bestseller written all over it. I also believed it was a stunning example of what many of us would love to aspire to as family history writers. However, I understood the realities; it is a self-published book and a family history book making it an uphill climb to the bestseller's list.

I was very excited not only for Mr. Godges but the entire genealogy community when I received the news that Oh, Beautiful was making some incredible inroads on Amazon. I received a lovely note from John thanking me for sharing his book with the genealogy world, he felt  I was "particularly instrumental in helping the story connect with this key audience"

This is not only a wonderful accomplishment by any standards but I think we can all agree any family history book that can capture the attention of the world's readers is wonderful news for the industry and all those compelled to write their family history. This is why I continue to spotlight family history books on this blog every week, and will continue to encourage family history writers to share their stories and to discuss writing in the family writing history forum.

Oh, Beautiful should not be confined to genealogy/family history gurus. I encourage you to share it outside of the genealogy community. This book has mass appeal, my review still stands, "You only have to be a member of a family to have this story speak to you." 

Let's all get behind Oh, Beautiful and show the world the power of family history and this community.

The following is a press release courtesy of Mr. Godges:

Selling at a steady clip, Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century rose to #3 on the Amazon bestseller list this past week for paperbacks in the category of U.S. genealogy. At nearly the same time, the family memoir hit #5 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list for genealogy.

“It’s been gratifying to see the book grow in popularity among genealogists and family historians,” said the author, John Paul Godges. “The genealogy blogs have started lighting up and spreading the word about the book as a good example of how to bring a family story to life.”

As can be seen on the author's website, Oh, Beautiful stood in good company at #3 on the U.S. genealogy paperback bestseller list, landing one spot above Slaves in the Family, which had won the 1998 National Book Award for nonfiction.

Oh , Beautiful also ranked #14 on the Amazon paperback bestseller list for memoirs related to childhood and the family. The book shared good company in this category as well, falling just four spots below the 2005 Jeannette Walls memoir, The Glass Castle.

John Paul Godges
Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century


Linda Gartz said...

Hey, Lynn,
Glad you're posting on this. I got John's tweet the other day and sent him my congrats! It's a great read and am so glad it's doing well!

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Linda, I pretty excited for John, I hope it continues to move up the charts. It's a great example for all of us looking to write our family history. said...

I read this book because you recommended it on your blog, and I really liked it. It is a gripping and flowing story. Now, I've chosen it for my one book of the year that I get to choose for my book club.

Since that time I picked up a copy of "You Can Write Your Family History" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack at RootsTech 2012. That book is going to change my life - at least my writing life for it shows one exactly how to incorporate social history into family history and create a narrative, and I could finally see how to do it!!!

I also bought the book Sharon Carmack strongly recommended as a companion to her book "Bringing Your Family History to Life through Social History" by Kathrine Scott Sturdevant (that was harder to find, I think it's out of print). I'm almost finished reading that one, and I am finally starting to believe that the research of background and era and location that I have worked on for 30 years can be woven into a factual, readable family narrative.

And, now I am going to revisit "Oh Beautiful" and read it as an example of how to do all of the above. I read it the first time as a riveting story, now I'm going to read it again as an example of what I want to do with my family's story.

It really is remarkable what he has written!