With the same quirky brilliance that drew fans to his previous work, Ian Frazier narrates the history of his family from early colonial days to the present. He reconstructs two hundred years of middle-class life, visiting small towns his ancestors lived in, reading the books they read, discovering the larger forces of history that affected them. He observes family members during the Revolutionary War; he follows others west as they pioneer in the wilderness of Ohio and Indiana, where schoolteachers were paid in whiskey and door hinges were made of bacon ride. He visits the battlefields where they fought the Civil War. He interviews old-timers, uncles, aunts, cousins, maids, a beer-store owner who knew his dad. Family is a poetic epic of facts, a chronicle of a culture's rise and fall, a memorial, a view of American history as romantic as it is unflinching.