The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 28, 2013

W.Va. author showcases his books at Tamarack

Esteemed regional author C. Robert Barnett signed copies of his two West Virginia-inspired novels as part of the “Meet the Author” program Sunday at Tamarack.

Barnett, a lifelong resident of West Virginia, taught sports history for 35 years at Marshall University before retiring and beginning work on “Growing Up in the Last Small Town: A West Virginia Memoir,” his first novel.

The story tells the tale of Barnett as a child, as he groped with the pressures of adolescence in his tiny hometown of Newell as well as shedding light on some of the instrumental developments of the ’50s that began the homogenization of the U.S.  

 “In small-town West Virginia in the early 1950s, all small towns were very different from one another,” Barnett explained.

Barnett said the town a mere one mile away played games by different rules, and residents of another town close by used completely different phrases and expressions.

Barnett’s story describes the changes that took place in the 1950s that reduced the disparity among small towns, including the increased popularity of the television, the development of highways and the chain-business takeover of corner stores.

In his second book, released in May, Barnett exercised his knowledge as a sport historian to write “Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia,” where he shares untold sports stories particularly of the 20th century.

Barnett said the book includes details ranging from the first high school girls’ basketball championship held in West Virginia in 1919 to the highlights and woes of West Virginia University athletics.

He is currently working on his third book, which will elaborate on segregated and integrated sports in the Mountain State.

Barnett’s books are available for purchase at Tamarack and on Amazon.

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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