16 June 2010

"The Oral History Workshop" by Cynthia Hart with Lisa Sampson

I always keep an eye on the genealogy reference section at the local bookstores for interesting new offerings. A little bit ago, I noticed The Oral History Workshop by Cynthia Hart with Lisa Sampson. As a genealogist, interviews are a great way to obtain family history stories and information, so I've been interesting in this book. Today, I finally decided to buy it and I would recommend it to any genealogist or family historian.

The book is organized into advise and tips for before, during and after the interview. The book includes great tips for preparation, including how to make yourself and your interviewee comfortable, different ways to record the interview and the pros and cons of those techniques, ways to keep the interview ethical, and even tips for self-interviewing. Next up, the book includes a large amount of interview questions for just about any situation. From the generic to the very specific, I found a large number of question ideas that were new to me and made we want to grab my recorder and find someone to interview. Finally, this book will also help you to figure out what to do with all the information that you'll collect, from storage and backup copies to indexing and editing to creating books.

The authors obviously have diverse experience with interviewing and have great tips to share. They've organized the book very well and I especially loved the charts filled with quick reference information, such as "recording 101" and "the terrific twenty [questions]" and "a few of their favorite things." Overall, the book is written in an easy style and great tone that makes the book flow seamlessly.

As someone who has done a good number of interviews with family members, I found that this book still offered a lot of great information to offer. After reading it, I asked my mom a few of the questions and got great responses. I even got some information out of my dad, who is makes an interview like pulling teeth. It turns out that, although the only thing he had to say about his wedding was "We went down to the courthouse and got married," he still remembers the exact outfit that my mom wore (which was not a white dress).  I'm looking forward to trying out more of the tips and interview questions from this book in the future.

This book is available from Amazon.com for $10.36 or from BN.com for $11.07.

1 comment:

Sarah Farr said...

Good review!

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