ABOUT THIS BOOK
Could Marie Antoinette’s wigs get any higher? Could the anonymous women riding in hot air balloons alone with gentlemen be any more scandalous? Does an Ozark holler hold the mouth to a lost cave with the longest, thickest vein of gold in North America? Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past is a collection of rumors, secrets, tall tales, and lies that begins at the court of Louis XV and ends in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.
With all the astonishments of history and the intimacy of memoir, Kathryn Nuernberger’s collection juxtaposes peripheral figures from the French Revolution—the assassin, the executioner, the mistress, the spy, the son of a slave, the transgender swordfighter—with the oral histories of poachers, prophets, well witches, and ghosts of the Ozarks a century later. In essays that are equal parts historical and personal, Nuernberger brings the marvelous strangeness of the past into our present moment with wry wit and insight. Nuernberger has an eye for salvaging overlooked snapshots of human decency and moments of moral courage—the memories of which we might just want to save for later.