George Keats Bio Wins Louisville History Award

George Keats Bio Wins Louisville History Award

The University Press of Kentucky author, Lawrence M. Crutcher, was named winner of Samuel W. Thomas Louisville History Book award for George Keats of Kentucky: A Life.

John Keats's biographers have rarely been fair to George Keats (1797-1841)-pushing him to the background as the younger brother, painting him as a prodigal son, or labeling him as the "business brother." Some have even condemned him as a heartless villain who took more than his fair share of an inheritance and abandoned the ailing poet to pursue his own interests. In this authoritative biography, author Lawrence M. Crutcher demonstrates that George Keats deserves better. Crutcher traces his subject from Regency London to the American frontier, correcting the misconceptions surrounding the Keats brothers' relationship and revealing the details of George's remarkable life in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brilliantly illustrated with more than ninety color photographs, this engaging book reveals how George Keats embraced new business opportunities to become an important member of the developing urban community. In addition, George Keats of Kentucky offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into nineteenth-century life, commerce, and entrepreneurship in Louisville and the Bluegrass.

Lawrence Crutcher is the great-great-great-grandson of George Keats and the author of The Keats Family.

"Delivers a rich, fully drawn picture of the brother of John Keats. Until now, no biographer has delved into George Keats's life so completely."-Carol Kyros Walker, author of Walking North with Keats

"An interesting account of an Englishman coming to America in the early 19th century and making a life for himself and his family in Kentucky - his acclimation, acculturation, successes, and failures."-James Holmberg, curator of special collections at The Filson Historical Society

"As George Keats completed the arc from being born an Englishman to American citizen, his status upgraded from orphan and working class poor in London, to cultured, leading citizen in Louisville, Kentucky. An investor in properties, board member of fourteen organizations, Keats was respected. Lawrence Crutcher, a descendant of Keats, has written a history so detailed, that investments and debts are described by their significance to the society - whether English or American.
As the reader walks with Keats down Main Street in 1819, a busy, interesting Louisville emerges; by mid-1820's it is a city of culture, the basis of the lively city today."
- Nana Lampton, Louisville businesswoman, poet, artist

"'George Keats deserves better'" begins this remarkable biography by his great-great-great grandson Lawrence Crutcher. Long treated as just the brother (and a somewhat self-serving one) of the adored poet, George Keats emerges in the pages of George Keats of Kentucky not only with a brisk defense from this descendant, who refutes the received story of financial gullibility and malfeasance, but also as a compelling historical figure in his own right: an illuminating focus for the challenges of establishing a life-ultimately a prosperous life-in frontier America. Crutcher writes with engaging clarity, insight, and surefooted reference to an extraordinary archive of information, including materials and striking images published here for the first time. This is exciting, important work, no less than for putting the life of John Keats in a fresh perspective than for making a wonderfully detailed contribution to the field of nineteenth-century American studies-among the cast of characters Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, James Freeman Clarke, and John James Audubon. The copious illustrations alone are worth the price of admission but those who dive into the text will find themselves swept up by Crutcher's fascinating adventure in historical and biographical narrative."