Review of Tomlinson Hill by Chris Tomlinson/ posted in: Reading
Nonfiction – audio
AP journalist Chris Tomlinson knew that his family had been early settlers in Texas and that they owned a plantation named Tomlinson Hill. He was taught to be proud of his ancestors and was told repeatedly by his grandfather that the family’s slaves loved them so much that when they were freed they took the Tomlinson name.
LaDanian Tomlinson grew up visiting his grandmother who lived on Tomlinson Hill. He thought that the area had been named for his family until he read a historical marker that discussed the plantation.
Chris had always wondered about the Tomlinsons who were descended from his family’s slaves. He first heard of LaDanian when he was making a name for himself playing college football and then followed that with a career in the NFL. He wondered if there was a connection.
Chris spent years reporting on racial conflicts in Africa. He decided to write about racial tensions closer to home by exploring the dynamics of the two Tomlinson families.
This book goes deep into Texas history. It focus more on the white family than the black family most likely because of the availability of historical records. Because I was listening to it on audio it could get confusing at times when I would start confusing people with similar first names and not have a way to refer back to previous chapters.
It veers away from a strict family history often and goes into the larger picture so it definitely reads more like a history textbook than a family saga. I did learn more about the role of Texas in the Civil War than I knew before though.