By Rory Kennedy
Photographs by Steve Lehman
Preface by Robert Coles
A poignant family epic and an extraordinary portrait of a near-extinct way of life, American Hollow profiles the Bowling family and its seven generations in Appalachia. Created as a companion volume to the Emmy Award-nominated 90-minute HBO documentary directed and produced by Rory Kennedy, American Hollow, a fascinating oral and visual history, features striking black-and-white photography by Steve Lehman.
American Hollow is that rare experience: a sympathetic and strength-giving portrait of love and kinship in the face of hard times. Iree Bowling, the clan’s seventy-year-old matriarch, is the narrator of the family’s story, as they supplement their government checks by collecting blood root and ginseng and hang steadfastly to their land. Photos from Bowling family albums, historical Life and National Geographic images from the ’60s and pictures of the Bowlings of today, lend depth and texture to the story of an American family. The introduction is by Rory Kennedy (daughter of Robert F. Kennedy) who, in the process of making the companion film, lived in the hollow with the Bowlings over the course of a year. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Coles contributes a moving history of the region, while interviews by writer and editor Mark Bailey capture the voices of the Bowling clan.