Mullane Literary Associates

All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

All That She Carried Tiya Miles

All starred pre-publication reviews

With careful historical examination as well as empathetic imagination, Miles effectively demonstrates the dignity and mystery of lives that history often neglects….A strikingly vivid account of the impact of connection on this family and others.”

Kirkus, starred review

An exquisitely crafted history…Miles brilliantly shows how material items possessed the ‘ability to house and communicate... emotions like love, values like family, states of being like freedom.’ This elegant narrative is a treasure trove of insight and emotion.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Accessible, personal…a moving account of three women whose stories might have otherwise been lost to history….Readers interested in often-overlooked lives and experiences, and anyone who cherishes a handcrafted heirloom, will enjoy this fascinating book.”

Library Journal, starred review

“Filled with rare, archival photographs of objects from the era, this volume is a natural choice for book clubs and a must-buy for public and academic libraries alike.

Booklist, starred review

Praise for Tiya Miles’s All That She Carried

“Miles, a Harvard historian, tells the true story of an American family through one heirloom: a sack that Rose, an enslaved woman, gave her young daughter Ashley in 1852, before Ashley was sold and sent away. The sack, which contained pecans, a dress and a braid of Rose’s hair, traveled through generations of the family, and Miles shows how its history is a “quiet assertion of the right to life, liberty and beauty even for those at the bottom.

New York Times

A history told with brilliance and tenderness and fearlessness.

Jill Lepore

“Tiya Miles is a gentle genius. The histories she writes are as deeply feeling as they are brilliantly researched and her writing is both elegant and tender. All That She Carried is a gorgeous book and a model for how to read as well as feel the precious artifacts of Black women’s lives.

Imani Perry

All That She Carried is a moving literary and visual experience about love between a mother and daughter and about many women descendants down through the years. Above all it is Miles’s lyrical story, written in her signature penetrating prose, about the power of objects and memory, as well as human endurance, in the history of slavery. The book is nothing short of a revelation.

David W. Blight

“We live in a world that undervalues, ignores, and erases the work and the humanity of Black women. Ashley’s Sack, as it is known, with its short and simple message of intergenerational love, becomes a portal through which Tiya Miles views and reimagines the inner lives of Black women. She excavates the history of Black women who face insurmountable odds and invent a language that can travel across time.”

Michael Eric Dyson

“Tiya Miles uses the tools of her trade to tend to Black people, to Black mothers and daughters, to our wounds, to collective Black love and loss. This book demonstrates Miles’s signature genius in its rare balance of both rigor and care.

Brittney Cooper

Blending urgency, imagination, and poetic prose…a masterpiece work of African American women’s history that reveals what it takes to survive and even thrive. Read this book and then pass it on to someone you love—it is a fitting tribute to Ashley, her mother Rose, and all those foremothers who endured.”

Martha S. Jones

A beautiful book about the tragic materiality of black women’s lives across three generations, through slavery and freedom. She also allows readers to witness the historian's craft, carefully reconstructing marginalized and forgotten lives from and beyond unyielding and indifferent archives. This book is for anyone interested in learning about black people's centrality to American history.”

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, author of They Were Her Property

» See also

The Dawn of Detroit The Cherokee Rose