America Moved 

Booth Tarkington’s Memoirs of Time and Place, 1869–1928

By Booth Tarkington | Edited by Jeremy Beer
Front Porch Republic Books, 2015

America Moved: Booth Tarkington’s Memoirs of Time and Place, 1869–1928 brings together for the first time the autobiographical writings of Booth Tarkington, one of the most successful and best-loved writers in American history, and one of the keenest interpreters of American manners and mores.

During his lifetime, Tarkington was immensely popular. From 1902 to 1932, nine of his books were top ten bestsellers, The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams won Pulitzer Prizes, and Tarkington’s Penrod stories became widely recognized as young-adult classics.

America Moved demonstrates that Tarkington’s writing and powers of social observation stand the test of time. Written in a genial, easygoing style, America Moved gently but consistently interrogates the values of the new commercial-industrial age, especially its obsessions with speed, growth, and efficiency. The humane skepticism Tarkington directs in these pages toward the automobile, sprawl, and the cult of Progress identifies him as a voice quite at home in the twenty-first century.

America Moved will delight readers with an enjoyable eyewitness account of the vast social and cultural changes that transformed America between the Civil War and the Great Depression.


“In these autobiographical reflections of a major American writer we encounter a surprisingly cogent defense of ‘the other America,’ the America of Aunt Polly and the Widow Douglas. Booth Tarkington deserves rediscovery, and in the game of literary reputations, he also demands reappraisal.”—Mark C. Henrie, editor of Arguing Conservatism

“Tarkington grew up near grandparents whose memories stretched back to the founding of the Republic, and his own life extended into the nuclear age. In these vivid, wry, and often moving memoirs, he draws on that full range of experience to reveal, through the lens of his own life, the modern story of the heartland. It is a story of the transition from an agrarian society moving at the speed of nature to a technological society moving at the speed of electricity. Along the way he draws an engaging portrait of the artist as a young man—an artist who grew up to write novels and plays enjoyed around the world.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works

“Nearly forgotten today, Booth Tarkington deserves our revived attention—not simply as a historical figure (he was, after all, the most popular American storyteller of the early twentieth century) but also as a writer whose skill and wit and charm transcend his time and place. All thanks to Jeremy Beer for unearthing this enchanting memoir.”—Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln