🏆 2023 BIBA® Family Biography Winner!
In 1922, George A. Hormel–founder of today’s multibillion-dollar company Hormel Foods–forced the resignation of Gretchen Cherington’s grandfather, Alpha LaRue (A.L.) Eberhart, after a decade-long embezzlement scandal. But was A.L. complicit in the crime, as rumor suggested?
In scale both intimate and grand, Cherington digs deep to understand what really happened one hundred years ago, while weaving the histories of Hormel, Eberhart, and the embezzler within the sweeping landscape of our country’s early industries. Along with keen insights about business leaders from her thirty-five-year career advising top executives, the author contens with her own blind faith in family mythology and offers a multilayered exploration of our collective reverence for heroes while reconciling her complicated past.
I use stories to inspire women to claim their innate power as we collectively change the world. I grew up around a crowd of literary giants from Robert Frost to Allen Ginsberg to James Dickey, tugging at their pantlegs for a little attention. Listening to the cadence and rhythm of poets and novelists reading their latest verses I slowly found my voice. My stories start a central question: What does it mean to have a complicated family legacy? Why do we continue to mythologize powerful men? How do we take our seat at the table? What consequences arise when we speak our truth? These questions, grounded in personal experience, research and investigation translate into my essays and books. But that’s what I work on every morning. Every afternoon I’m outside–hiking, walking, biking, gardening, skiing in wild places as big as Patagonia and Penobscot Bay or as small as a neighborhood trail or park. Moving on my own or with friends seeds my writing. Writing on my own or with friends seeds my next quest.