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In The Land Of Cotton: Martha A Taylor

March 25, 2010

Political Freedom & Security – Civil Rights


Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha’s natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone’s life changed for ever.

Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times – a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.

The year was 1956.

I have a feeling that there’s a fascinating story lurking on the pages of In the Land of Cotton: the problem is that it’s buried beneath a lot of clumsy writing and careless mistakes, most of which could be cleared up by a careful edit and a thoughtful rewrite. Several sentences were so poorly-written that I had to stop and reread them in order to understand them fully; and there were a few places where entirely the wrong words had been used. The foreword is particularly badly-written and does the book no favours—I would drop it entirely; but if the writer is determined to keep it then she’d be wise to at least explain who its author is, and why his opinion of her and this book is significant: because although he’s clearly significant to her, I don’t know who he is or how he is connected to the book.

Overall, then, this book is a missed opportunity: its writer rushed into publication before she was really ready for it. Her writing is not yet good enough to be published, and her editing skills will have to be far sharper than they are right now if she wants to make the best of her work.

If she had worked harder on learning her craft and been a little less eager to get into print she’d have done herself and her readers a big favour: as it is, the book just isn’t good enough. I read seventeen pages of In the Land of Cotton, and I closed this book feeling saddened: the writer could have done so much better if she had only taken a little more time.

  1. March 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    To follow up on the subject of choosing the wrong words: the terms black and African-American are widely used in the U.S. The term "Negro" hasn't been widely used since the 1960s, and is considered offensive."Primitive" is also a loaded word– does it refer to the people themselves, or just that they are living rough, in a different style that that to which the narrator is accustomed? Nowadays the word would be considered offensive when used to describe people rather than living conditions.

  2. March 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    While I agree with my fellow Yank about using negro today, it must be taken in context. That was the common non-derogatory term applied to a black person in 1956.

  3. March 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I want to amend my previous comment about the use of the word, negro. It still isn't derogatory, but black or African American is more commonly used.

  4. March 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    "The forward is particularly badly-written and does the book no favours—I would drop it entirely;"Did you intend to use forward? Or, did you mean foreword?

  5. March 28, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Haarlson, you're right: I did mean "foreword": I shall have to find myself a different editor, I'm afraid! I've corrected the error: thank you for pointing it out to me.

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