In Gathering the Family the author re-creates scenes and episodes from his early life with his family. Although he begins his work as a biographer, Holtz comes to turn his researcher's eye on himself, frankly examining his thoughts of the family he grew up with. These interlocking essays examine the lives of his mother's struggling Finnish immigrant parents, who spoke no English; of his father's large, festive German American family; and of his doomed, laughing father, his gentle, overburdened mother, and his self-destructive younger brother. The intertwining effects of heredity, circumstance, and choice in individual lives are played out poignantly as he discovers that the family he was so troubled by in his youth has made him what he has become today.
William Holtz is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the author or editor of several books, including the widely acclaimed The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane and Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship, Letters, 1921-1960.