His rags-to-riches story was one Edwards told many times during his run as the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee in 2004.
"I come from a working family. My father worked in the mills all his life," he told Sunday Morning correspondent Rita Braver. "I was the first in my family to go to college."
In fact, it was visiting his grandparents' old house in a mill village in South Carolina that gave him the idea for this book, called "Home." In the book, Edwards has different people talk about their homes and what they mean to them.
"What I remembered about it, what it means to me today and how it's affected me," Edwards said. "Basically, to have a group of people, some well-known, which readers would find naturally interesting, and some less well-known and to see what they had to say."
Among the famous people in the book are director Steven Spielberg, former Senator Bob Dole and writer Isabelle Allende. Edwards found most of the not-so-famous contributors by putting out the word through friends and acquaintances, and ended up with stories from a health care worker, a retired teacher, a full-time mom and more.
"It was just really startling how similar it all was," Edwards said. "I mean, people remembered the same things — being in the kitchen and the cooking, and the smell of food and all that.
Many people would have expected Edwards to write a political book, but after his wife Elizabeth wrote a book about her experience on the campaign trail, he said he figured "that was about as much as anyone could stomach of that."
Elizabeth Edwards's recent book, "Saving Graces," tells the story of the couple's almost-30-year marriage. In the book she wrote that the couple celebrates their wedding anniversary at Wendy's every year.
"We had a one-night honeymoon," she said. "We celebrate our anniversary at Wendy's. Yeah, nothing but good times here."