Book Reviews

We have a guest review this morning, April Loebick. This book is my kind of book. See what you think.

Elkmont’s Uncle Lem Ownby: Sage of the Smokies is a fascinating look into the life of a backwoods legend written by F. Carroll McMahan. Lem Ownby was the last leaseholder living in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The book is a mix of his biography and a bit of history surrounding the creation of the national park.

Lem Ownby was legally blind, an avid bee keeper, and was once defecated on by a bear. He was a logger, a farmer, and a bit of a legend. His home was the gorgeous forest of what is now the national park. The stories about him presented in this biography are thoughtful and, at times, humorous. He is definitely an interesting character and reminds me very much of my own grandfather.

I find this type of history absolutely captivating anyway, but this particular history is near and dear to my heart, as the part of the Smokies that this book details is like a second home to me. Because of this, nostalgia may be coloring my opinions here a bit, but for anyone who wants to learn more about The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or just about history in general, I highly recommend this title.

5/5 Stars


Title: Elkmont’s Uncle Lem Ownby: Sage of the Smokies
F. Carroll McMahan
Publisher: The History Press
ISBN: 9781626191198

Bio: April Loebick is the Managing Editor for the University Press of North Georgia. She is an avid reader, aspiring writer, and blogger. You can follow her blog at, where she posts book reviews, writing prompts, and way too many hiking pictures.



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