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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Begetters of Children: The Story of Our Stories by Michael Pedretti is book three of a twelve-part series. This book chronicles a family as they embark on new lives in a valley called San Bernardo which offers them protection from war, plagues, and other threats. As the story weaves through the generations of this family, an inside look is presented of their history and their struggles as they built their lives. The book also includes a poignant perspective on the role of a hero in epics which is highlighted more vocally in the addendum. The book also includes lovely black and white photos of the area and documents that were found in San Bernardo, the genealogical story of Stefano Pedretti, and The Heroic Epic: An Essay.
Michael Pedretti provides a thorough and well-rounded insight into the history, culture, and generational history that is based in San Bernardo. The book is divided into two parts with two primary foci, the town and the family. The stories and history are framed in the tone and style of a heroic epic which brings to life the central perspective of kindness and women. The book begins with a lovely introduction that flips the idea of the epic hero being a male warrior that often uses violence to achieve victories and instead chooses to explore the epic hero as a planter. The hero at the center of this epic is someone that has no desire to do harm unto others or take anything from anyone.
The story opens with a poignant scene of Nico as he tells seventeen followers of a place safe from war, pestilence, and thievery, a place with descriptions that set up an image that is peaceful and idealistic. The stunning history of San Bernardo weaves through generations of a family that give peeks at various instances in their lives. You also learn the importance of water, livestock, religion, fuel, and housekeeping in the area which, along with primary documents, allows you to feel fully immersed. Begetters of Children is a stunning epic brought to life with history, photos, and stories of a family framed through the lens and commentary of the epic hero.