Mississippi Books and Writers


Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Mississippi ChallengeMississippi Challenge

Juvenile Nonfiction by Mildred Pitts Walter

Aladdin ($6.95, ISBN: 0689803079)

Publication date: January 1996 (Reprint Edition)


Writing with passion and control, Mildred Pitts Walter presents the history of African Americans in Mississippi in a major work of nonfiction. Part One deals with slavery through the Civil War and the Reconstruction period. Part Two brings readers to the 1960s. Fully documented, this is history we must understand, brought to life by a rare talent. Photos. Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy

Nonfiction by Winthrop Jordan

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0807120391)

Publication date: January 1996 (Revised Edition)

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 December 1992):

A compelling reconstruction of a slave-revolt conspiracy in Adams County, Mississippi, during the spring and summer of 186—and of the grisly events that ensued after the plot was exposed. The documentary trail of the “Plan,” as the abortive insurrection was called, is reed-thin: No official government report, newspaper article, pamphlet, or speech referred to it, and other contemporary records mentioned it only with tantalizing brevity. The longest extant record, an “examination” (no doubt coerced) of the plotters by local planters, is more helpful but still fragmentary. Nonetheless, from this slim evidence, Jordan presents a coherent narrative about a southern community perched on the lip of a volcano, astonished at proof of the slave unrest it had long dismissed but always feared. Jordan has fleshed out the testimony of the conspirators with the help of census records, diaries and letters, plantation papers, a WPA oral history given by an ex-slave, and even gravestones. Moreover, in ferreting out how the conspiracy formed and then unraveled, he never strains credulity, and he uses the incident to throw light on such matters as the role of religion among slaves, fear of abolitionist agitation, class divisions in white society, the grapevine by which slaves communicated, and male slaveholders’ fears that their women would be raped. Jordan’s tale evokes the furtive nocturnal whisperings of the conspirators, rumors running wild among slaveholders, and silence masking awful carnage (at least 40 slaves were hanged in the Natchez, Mississippi, region during the year of the plot). A historical jigsaw puzzle assembled with consummate skill by a thoughtful chronicler of the “peculiar institution.” Copyright © 1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

For Us, the Living

Nonfiction by Myrlie Evers, William Peters, and Willie Morris (Introduction and Contributor)

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 0878058400; Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0878058419)

Publication date: February 1996

A Handmade WildernessA Handmade Wilderness

Nonfiction by Donald G. Schueler

Houghton Mifflin ($21.95, ISBN: 039568997X)

Publication date: February 1996


A different sort of back-to-the-land story—as inspiring as Living the Good Life and as entertaining as All Creatures Great and Small—this book, the adventures of two unlikely heroes who spent 25 years restoring the least worst land in Mississippi, will enthrall anyone who has ever dreamed of owning a place in the country.


Juvenile Nonfiction by Kathleen Thompson

Portrait of America Series

Raintree/Steck Vaughn ($22.83, ISBN: 0811473449)

Publication date: February 1996 (Revised Edition)

Mississippi: An American JourneyMississippi: An American Journey

Nonfiction by Anthony Walton

Knopf ($24.00, ISBN: 0679446001)

Publication date: February 1996


Summoning the full expanse of its rich and tragic history—from the subjugation of the Natchez empire to the Civil War, from the Ku Klux Klan to Civil Rights—and a huge roster of martyrs, bigots, writers, bluesmen, planters, and sharecroppers, black and white alike, Walton reveals both the Mississippi that was and the complex racial realities of the present day.

The Wonder Book of the AirThe Wonder Book of the Air

A Novel by Cynthia Shearer

Pantheon ($24.00, ISBN: 067943982X)

Publication date: February 1996


The fractured lives of three generations of a Southern family unfold in this lyrical and piercing debut novel. As a young man, Harrison Durrance comes into his own during World War II, but when the war ends, he loses his bearings. His notions of the world begins to fail him and he, in turn, begins to fail himself and the people he claims to love.

Firestorm Firestorm

A Novel by Nevada Barr

Putnam ($22.95, ISBN: 039914126X)

Publication date: March 1996


A raging fire in a national park seems an unlikely setting for a murder, but that’s exactly the circumstances that crime-fighting park ranger and medic Anna Pigeon confronts in this mystery thriller. A suspicious fire breaks loose in Northern California’s Lassen Volcanic Park and Pigeon assists in battling the blaze and treating the wounds of other fire fighters. As if that’s not enough, Pigeon finds herself without food and water trapped with a group of fire fighters, one of whom is a murderer. She tries to figure out who the culprit is before he, or the weather, strikes again.

Mississippi Treasure Hunt

Fiction by Taffy Cannon

Juniper ($4.50, ISBN: 0449704505)

Publication date: March 1996


Vangie Bradley expects a lame vacation when she and her brother fly from California to Minnesota to spend the summer with their dad. But then they find a secret letter hidden in an old desk that contains clues that may lead to a fortune! But who wants to live in a world without miracles? The only catch is the key—a 100-year-old test of knowledge. Original.

White Socks Only

Juvenile Fiction by Evelyn Coleman, Illustrated by Tyron Geter

Albert Whitman & Co. ($15.95, ISBN: 0807589551)

Publication date: March 1996


There was a “Whites Only” sign on a nearby fountain, but that didn’t bother this child—after all, she was wearing her clean white socks. Evelyn Coleman combines memories of her Southern childhood with magical realism to create a story that resonates with power. Tyrone Geter’s full-color illustrations convey great feeling and emotion.

Tracks Tracks

Juvenile Fiction by David Galef, Illustrated by Tedd Arnold

William Morrow & Co. ($16.00, ISBN: 0688133436)

Publication date: March 1996

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 February 1996)

When Albert, who is supervising the laying of new railroad track, drops his glasses, things get a little blurry. He has no time to go home for his spare pair. His hard-working crew puts down track through Sally’s Pond, around cows that look like boulders, through a barn, and over some pine tree “mountains.” Fortunately for Albert, the Mayor loves the wacky ride on the train’s inaugural run, and all’s well that ends well. This starts with a funny premise, but because readers see, every step of the way, the truth behind Albert’s mistakes, the second trip over the track (with the mayor) is a letdown. Arnold uses a looser style than usual, but the broad humor of the illustrations can't carry the piece. (Picture book. 4+) —Copyright © 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP.

Undaunted Courage Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 0684811073)

Publication date: March 1996

Description from Booklist (1 January 1996):

For decades, biographer Ambrose had nursed an ambition to chronicle the “Corps of Discovery,” as Lewis and Clark styled their ventures. Hitherto detained by opuses on Ike, Nixon, and D-Day, Ambrose here loosens the reins to his admiration of the duo’s fearlessness and skill in braving the unknown, an exploration of which had sunk into obscurity in the 1800s but has since ascended to iconic status in American history. Framed as a biography of Lewis, this work relies heavily on both Lewis’ and Clark’s famed journals, backed up by the author’s personal travels along the Missouri River route from St. Louis to the Pacific. A stimulating tour guide, Ambrose paces the mundane so well with the unusual that readers will be entranced. Not content as a mere recorder of deeds, Ambrose often pauses to assess the military leadership of the explorers, how they negotiated with the Mandan, Sioux, or Nez Perce, and what they reported to Jefferson. Ambrose’s epic, a combination of rhapsody and reality, feels like a final glimpse at a pristine Eden before the crowd of trappers and settlers altered it forever. The book clubs are also agog over this, so prepare for many requests. —Gilbert Taylor. Copyright © 1996, American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Ghosts of Mississippi: The Murder of Medgar Evers, the Trials of Byron De LA Beckwith, and the Haunting of the New South

Nonfiction by Maryanne Vollers

Little, Brown & Co. ($13.95, ISBN: 0316914711)

Publication date: April 1996


In February 1994, a Mississippi jury finally convicted white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Now, in Ghosts of Mississippi, Maryanne Vollers brings to light a host of new facts and insights about the case, weaving a compelling narrative that traces the journey from old South to new.

Last Days of the Dog-Men Last Days of the Dog-Men

Stories by Brad Watson

W. W. Norton & Co. ($19.00, ISBN: 0393039269)

Publication date: April 1996


Frequently portrayed as beer-guzzling, duck-shooting, wife-beating bigots, Southern white men don’t catch much of a break these days. Yet in Last Days of the Dog-Men, Brad Watson manages to portray this much-maligned beast with empathy and insight. Equally important, he also manages to make clear the importance of their dogs—an importance that can cut both ways. In the title story, for example, a man has an affair that's consummated in the foam-rubber pole-vault pad at the local playing field. When his wife finds out, she gets even the surest way she knows how, by having his dog put to sleep.

Watson, in precise and beautiful prose, writes about people and dogs—dogs as companions, as accomplices, and as unwitting victims of human passions—and people responding to dogs as missing parts or reflections of themselves. In each of these stories he captures the animal crannies of the human personality—yearning for freedom and mourning the loss of something wild.

Talking About William Faulkner: Interviews with Jimmy Faulkner and Others

Nonfiction by Jim Faulkner, Floyd Watkins, and Sally Wolff

Southern Literary Studies

Louisiana State University Press ($24.95, ISBN: 0807120308)

Publication date: April 1996


In the 1970s and 1980s, two Emory University professors took students of Southern literature to Lafayette County, Mississippi, to explore the region where William Faulkner lived, with William Faulkner’s nephew serving as guide and story-teller. This volume recreates the details of Faulkner’s life and the era in which he lived through interviews with family and townspeople who knew him. Includes 43 beautiful b&w photographs. Annotation Copyright © Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice “Worse Than Slavery”: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

Nonfiction by David M. Oshinsky

Free Press ($25.00, ISBN: 0684822989)

Publication date: April 1996

Brief Review:

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, Columbia University: A book of both scholarly distinction and impassioned social commentary, Worse Than Slavery takes us on a fascinating journey into the world of criminal justice in the era of racial segregation. The system of convict leasing and prison farms, Oshinsky remind us, was a home-grown gulag sanctioned by public authorities, social scientists, and self-proclaimed advocates of racial purity. At a time when imprisonment has become the favored solution to all sorts of social problems, Americans can ignore Oshinsky’s history of Parchman Farm only at their peril.

Edward L. Ayers: Oshinsky’s book goes to the heart of America's struggles with race, crime, and punishment. By showing how Parchman Penitentiary changed and did not change from the Old South until today, Oshinsky provides an unprecedented depth and perspective on these problems. He tells his story sparely and eloquently, without sentimentality, in the words of the people swept up in the sadness and terror of Parchman.

More Conversations with Eudora Welty

Interviews with Eudora Welty, Edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0878058656)

Publication date: April 1996

The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales

By Elizabeth Spencer

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $42.50, ISBN: 0878058362

Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0878058370)

Publication date: April 1996


Spencer, a native-born Mississippian, offers six fascinating tales in which Southerners surrender to the mesmerizing spell of Italy. Here in one volume are tales with plots so alluring and enigmatic that Boccaccio would have been charmed by their delightful ironies and their sinister contrasts of dark and light.

Death at Midnight: The Confession of an Executioner

By Donald A. Cabana

Northeastern University Press ($24.95, ISBN: 1555532640)

Publication date: May 1996


Cabana, a former warden in Massachusetts, Florida, and Mississippi, gives a powerful narrative account of the realities of capital punishment from the beginning of his 25 year career in corrections and culminating with his involvement in the executions of Edward Earl Johnson and Connie Ray Evans. He describes in vivid detail the last two weeks of the latter’s life, the secretive world of executions, and his own personal conversion to an anti-death penalty ethic. Cabana currently teaches criminal justice at the University of Southern Mississippi. No bibliography.
Annotation Copyright © Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

John Perkins

Juvenile Nonfiction by Terry Whalin

Today’s Heroes Series

Zondervan Publishing House ($4.99, ISBN: 0310202086)

Publication date: May 1996


John Perkins was raised a victim of oppression and racial prejudice in rural Mississippi. But he chose to exercise forgiveness and reconciliation toward those who oppressed him. Today, he is the head of Voice of Calvary ministries. John Perkins is a model of courage and persistence in the face of adversity, and preteen readers will be inspired by his story.

One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression: A Snapshot Album

Nonfiction by Eudora Welty and William Maxwell

University Press of Mississippi ($27.50, ISBN: 0878058664)

Publication date: May 1996 (Reprint Edition)


Throughout her writing career Eudora Welty’s camera was a close companion. She is among the very few authors who are acclaimed for their work in both literature and photography. The 100 duotone pictures in this volume are selections from the many she took during the Great Depression as she traveled in her home state of Mississippi while she was working for the WPA.

Sugar Among the Freaks: Selected Stories

Stories by Lewis Nordan

Algonquin Books ($10.95, ISBN: 1565121317)

Publication date: May 1996


This collection of short fiction by the award-winning author of Wolf Whistle is taken from his two previous anthologies Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair and The All-Girl Football Team. All 15 tales demonstrate how Nordan, from the very start of his career, has reached into his prodigiously rich stores of imagination and memory to create the people and events of his mythical town of Arrow Catcher, Mississippi.

Walt Whitman in Hell: Poems

By T.R. Hummer

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0807120618)

Publication date: May 1996

The Bitterweed Path

A Novel by Thomas Hal Phillips

University of North Carolina Press ($16.95, ISBN: 0807845957)

Publication date: June 1996 (Reprint Edition)

Men Working Men Working

A Novel by John Faulkner

University of Georgia Press ($19.95, ISBN: 0820318272)

Publication date: June 1996 (Reprint Edition)

The Runaway Jury The Runaway Jury

A Novel by John Grisham

Doubleday ($26.95, ISBN: 0385472943)

Publication date: June 1996


Ever wonder what happens in the jury room, where lawyers aren't heard and the judge is not welcome? Who controls a jury when the door is locked and the deliberations begin? In John Grisham's newest novel, readers will find out the answers to these questions. For, every jury has a leader—and the verdict belongs to that person.

Yellow Dogs, Hushpuppies, and Bluetick Hounds Yellow Dogs, Hushpuppies, and Bluetick Hounds: The Official Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Quiz Book

By Lisa Howorth with Jennifer Bryant

University of North Carolina Press ($9.95, ISBN: 0807845922)

Publication date: June 1996

Brief Review:

Entertaining, fun, and educational, this quiz book covers every aspect of southern culture from alligators to melungeons to zydeco. More than 800 questions—most drawn from the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture—cover literature, music, entertainment, history, politics, the law, sports, science, medicine, business, industry, and religion.

Fertile Ground Fertile Ground

A Novel by Charles Wilson

St. Martin's (Mass Market Paperback, $5.99, ISBN: 0312958595)

Publication date: June 1996


A team of scientists explore an uncharted region of the Amazon, seeking exotic plants that may yield cures for the diseases afflicting humanity. But their mission goes horribly wrong when the party is attacked by the area’s mysterious natives, and when they learn too late that they've landed in the cauldron of a deadly, unknown virus.

Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

Ancho (Paperback, $15.95, ISBN: 0385479662)

Publication date: June 1996


On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages; both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of their people. And to both of them, the unspoiled grandeur of the Great Plains of North America was an irresistible challenge. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie.

“Movingly told and well written ... a fine contribution, one that will be read with pleasure and admiration by general reader, student and scholar alike. Ambrose has breathed new life into the familiar facts.”

—Library Journal

“An epic and accurate retelling of one of our country’s most tragic periods.”

—Baltimore Sun

The Best Money Murder Can Buy: A Stokes Moran Mystery

A Novel by Neil McGaughey

Scribner ($21.00, ISBN: 0684197618)

Publication date: July 1996


A shocking discovery of a personal nature propels mystery critic/sleuth Stokes Moran in this third book in the series. When a man who is his mirror image appears at his home, Kyle Malachi (a.k.a. Stokes Moran) is suspicious and resentful. Later his “twin” turns up murdered, and Kyle decides to masquerade as the dead man in hopes of trapping the killer.

Touched Touched

A novel by Carolyn Haines

E. P. Dutton (Hardcover, ISBN: 0525941606)

Publication date: July 1996

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

Haines (Summer of the Redeemers, 1994) ladles on the pluck and grit as she limns the life of Mattie, a strong woman who comes to live in a preternaturally mean Mississippi town, where she faces down the local bigots, survives a severe spousal beating, and exacts a deadly revenge. Jexville in 1926, as 16-year-old mail-order bride Mattie soon learns, is a town where intolerance is as unavoidable as the humidity. The people are devout, suspicious, narrow-minded.

They’re also hypocrites: The men drink bootleg liquor; the women are malicious; and both sexes support a husband's right to beat his wife. To be in any way different is to invite trouble, which is exactly what Mattie’s new friend JoHanna McVay, married to handsome Will, a purveyor of moonshine to political bigwigs, often does.

Mattie, newly married to Elikah, the town’s barber, meets JoHanna and her nine-year-old daughter, Duncan, at a children’s party. Duncan, struck by lightning, soon acquires the ability to foretell the future. Then Mattie is violently beaten and sexually humiliated by Elikah. Pregnant, she decides not to have his child. JoHanna, accordingly, arranges for an illegal abortion and tries to convince Mattie to leave Elikah, but JoHanna soon has troubles of her own: Duncan’s accurate predictions of death and destruction convince the locals that she’s a child of Satan.

The McVays decide to go into hiding; Floyd, a friend of Mattie and Duncan’s, is brutally murdered; and Mattie kills a local bootlegger as she tries to escape murderous Elikah. In the long calm post-mayhem, Mattie remains married, but Elikah, no longer a wife-beater, plans a deadly revenge. As WW II begins, another frightening prediction from the now-adult Duncan finally impels Mattie to wreak her own vengeance. Action overload as Mattie and friends more than prove their credentials as cool, modern, and independent women able to cope with everything. —Copyright 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Shakespeare's Landlord Shakespeare’s Landlord

By Charlaine Harris

St. Martins (Hardcover, ISBN: 0312144156)

Publication date: July 1996

Description from Booklist:

Harris, author of the Aurora Teagarden series, now introduces Lily Bard, resident of Shakespeare, Arkansas, a woman fiercely protective of her privacy, determined to succeed as a one-woman cleaning agency, and just as fiercely determined to excel in karate.

When the unpopular and very nosy owner of the apartment building next door is murdered and the body dumped in the local park, Lily reports the body to the police—anonymously. The local police chief, however, is nobody’s fool and quickly discovers Lily’s involvement and her own past, which makes her a possible suspect. Given the situation and, since she cleans for many of the other possible suspects, some opportunities, Lily decides that the only way to clear her name is to find the real killer.

Harris has created an intriguing new character in this solidly plotted story. Expect more from crime fiction’s first cleaning-lady series. —Stuart Miller

Cruel as the GraveCruel as the Grave

A Novel by John Armistead

Carrol & Graf ($23.00, ISBN: 0786703032)

Publication date: August 1996


Grover Bramlett, beloved Mississippi sheriff, is back in his third dazzling mystery. On a rain-swept night in Sheffield, Sheriff Bramlett steps into the middle of a decades-old clandestine love affair when a middle-aged furniture salesman is gunned down in the parking lot of his apartment building. The sheriff soon finds that another unsolved murder could be related to this crime.

The Last FamilyThe Last Family

A Novel by John Ramsey Miller

Bantam Doubleday ($21.95, ISBN: 0553102133)

Publication date: August 1996


Devastated by guilt after two young agents die while saving his life during a drug raid, DEA agent Paul Masterson fled to the mountains of Montana and secluded himself in a prison of silence. Now his family, whom Paul has not seen in six years, is the final target of a coldly brilliant killer seeking revenge. And to stop this madman, Paul must rediscover his fierce survival instincts.

The WaterbornThe Waterborn

By J. Gregory Keyes

Ballantine (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 0345403932)

Publication date: August 1996


It’s that story again: unsophisticated adolescent boy, spunky, curious princess, large landscape for them to tour, troublesome deities, a magic sword. J. Gregory Keyes’s knowledge of epics, myths, and human cultures is a solid foundation for his series, making it far better than the average product: a story that might have happened sometime between the Ice Ages when numinous deities still dwelled in every tree, rock, and pool. The detailed social structures and customs feel more authentic, though they’re also familiar—the urban monotheists, the shamanistic horseback nomads, and so on. The writing is workmanlike, but the anthropological soundness and echoes of ancient stories give life and dimension to the old archetypes.

The Secret HistoryThe Secret History

A Novel by Donna Tartt

Ballantine ($12.95, ISBN: 0449911519)

Publication date: August 1996

Description from Kirkus Reviews (July 1, 1992):

The Brat Pack meets The Bacchae in this precious, way-too-long, and utterly unsuspenseful town-and-gown murder tale. A bunch of ever-so-mandarin college kids in a small Vermont school are the eager epigones of an aloof classics professor, and in their exclusivity and snobbishness and eagerness to please their teacher, they are moved to try to enact Dionysian frenzies in the woods. During the only one that actually comes off, a local farmer happens upon them—and they kill him. But the death isn’t ruled a murder—and might never have been if one of the gang—a cadging sybarite named Bunny Corcoran—hadn’t shown signs of cracking under the secret’s weight. And so he too is dispatched. The narrator, a blank-slate Californian named Richard Pepen chronicles the coverup. But if you’re thinking remorse-drama, conscience-masque, or even semi-trashy who’ll-break-first? page-turner, forget it: This is a straight gee-whiz, first-to-have-ever-noticed college novel—“Hampden College, as a body, was always strangely prone to hysteria. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally thought to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion.” First-novelist Tartt goes muzzy when she has to describe human confrontations (the murder, or sex, or even the ping-ponging of fear), and is much more comfortable in transcribing aimless dorm-room paranoia or the TV shows that the malefactors anesthetize themselves with as fate ticks down. By telegraphing the murders, Tartt wants us to be continually horrified at these kids—while inviting us to semi-enjoy their manneristic fetishes and refined tastes. This ersatz-Fitzgerald mix of moralizing and mirror-looking (Jay McInerney shook and poured the shaker first) is very ’80s—and in Tartt’s strenuous version already seems dated, formulaic. Les Nerds du Mal—and about as deep (if not nearly as involving) as a TV movie. —Copyright © 1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Song of the TreesSong of the Trees

By Mildred D. Taylor

Skylark (Paperback, $3.99, ISBN: 0440413966)

Publication date: August 1996 (reprint edition)

Description from the publisher:

Cassie’s mother told her, “Times are hard, honey.” With jobs scarce, Cassie’s daddy had gone to Louisiana to lay track for the railroads to get money to feed his children back in Mississippi. That was when the trouble started. Mr. Andersen dared cheat Big Ma by forcing her to sell the giant old trees in the forest surrounding the house. The trees were Cassie’s friends, singing her a special song that others insisted was only the wind. What would happen now with daddy away?

Father and SonFather and Son

A Novel by Larry Brown

Algonquin Books ($22.95, ISBN: 1565120140)

Publication date: September 1996

Brief Review:

Larry Brown is the master of the raw and the sparse and of bringing Mississippi to the world in a language that is as stripped down and bare as Faulkner’s is dense. Brown is at his best when he writes of the tensions between one screwed-up man and another, in this case a father and son. One has just been let out of prison, and he shouldn’t have been. The other is drunk and disabled, and intends on staying that way. To make things worse there is a conflict with the sheriff, who is good and righteous, but who tried to put the moves on the parolee’s woman while he was in prison. To tell more would be to violate Brown’s mastery of dialogue and of that which goes unspoken in this sly story of father, son and misery.

Hillcountry Warriors: The Civil War South Seldom Seen

Fiction by Johnny Neal Smith

Sunstone Press ($24.95, ISBN: 0865342474)

Publication date: September 1996

Confessions of an Accidental Businessman: It Takes a Lifetime to Find Wisdom

Nonfiction by James A. Autry

Berrett-Koehler ($24.95, ISBN: 1576750035)

Publication date: September 1996


This business autobiography of a corporate executive relates the management and leadership lessons which Autry, a Fortune 500 executive, has learned on his way to the top. According to Autry, knowing what to do is only part of becoming a leader; the only part is knowing how to be.

Lost Mansions of Mississippi

Nonfiction by Mary Carol Miller

University Press of Mississippi ($35.00, ISBN: 0878058885)

Publication date: September 1996

New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1996New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 1996

Short Stories edited by Shannon Ravenel; stories by William Faulkner, Ellen Douglas, et al.

Algonquin ($10.95, ISBN: 1565121554)

Publication date: September 1996


Now in its 11th year, this book has become the annual anthology to watch. The stories featured here continue the tradition of excellence, presenting the work of exciting newcomers alongside that of the established masters. This year’s volume includes “Rose of Lebanon,” a new story by the colossus of Southern literature—William Faulkner.

Midwest Book Review:

The jewel in the crown of this superlative “1996 Year’s Best” short story anthology is a new story never before published in book form by William Faulkner. The work of the other contributors measures up to the best that Faulkner had to offer in his prime. Moira Crone, Jill McCorkle, Marcia Guthridge, Robert Olen Butler, Susan Perabo, Annette Sanford, Lee Smith, Kathy Flann, Robert Morgan, Tim Gautreaux, David Gilbert, Tom Paine, J. D. Dolan, and Ellen Douglas all have one thing in common with the legendary Faulkner—they tell a story so well that the reader is caught up in the lives and events and characters from the first word to the last. New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 1996 is a “must” for all Faulkner fans, and will introduce readers to a galaxy of new names whose work is to be read just as enthusiastically!

Roads from the Bottom: A Survival Journal for America’s Black Community

Nonfiction by C.K. Chiplin and Gwen McKee

Quail Ridge Press ($15.95, ISBN: 0937552739)

Publication date: September 1996

Terror in the Night: The Klan’s Campaign Against the Jews

Nonfiction by Jack Nelson

University Press of Mississippi ($16.00, ISBN: 0878059075)

Publication date: September 1996 (Reprint Edition)

Uproar at Dancing Rabbit CreekUproar at Dancing Rabbit Creek: The Battle over Race, Class and the Environment in the New South

Nonfiction by Colin Crawford

Addison-Wesley Publishing Company ($24.00, ISBN: 020162723X)

Publication date: September 1996

Brief Review:

The creek of the title is in poor, mostly black Noxubee County, Mississippi, and the uproar was over the possible siting there of a chemical waste dump. Environmental lawyer Colin Crawford tells this cautionary, near-tragic tale from the perspective of the leaders of each faction: Martha Blackwell, the wealthy white woman who leads the opposition to the dump; Ike Brown, the political boss of the black community, who favors it; and Ed Netherland, the company man searching for a site for the dump and trying to sell it to the citizens of Noxubee. The clash of race, environmentalist fear, greed, and class makes for a fascinating story—and one without a happy ending.

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier

Nonfiction by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

Smithmark Publishing (Hardcover, ISBN: 0831772204)

Publication date: September 1996

Description from Booklist:

The rarely seen and startlingly vital black-and-white photographs in this volume capture the fortitude and pride of the clear-eyed women of the frontier, women who had to practice all the tender arts of nurturing a family under the most rugged of circumstances. Peavy and Smith cut through all the myths of frontier life in their frank and engaging commentary, getting down to the cold, gritty facts under such headings as “Keeping Spirits Up,” “Night Fears,” “Warding Off Insects and Animals,” and “Little Ones Lost.” This litany alludes to the loneliness and isolation of pioneer existence, where every act, from securing clean drinking water to making clothes, required long, hard labor, and where pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood often involved as much tragedy as joy. Little-discussed issues, such as marriages between Anglo men and Indian and Hispanic women, are examined, as are the lives of women who found employment outside the homestead as teachers, physicians, businesswomen, journalists, and even prostitutes. A book as fresh and inspiring as a bright, breezy day on the plains. —Donna Seaman

The Acolyte

A Novel by David Compton

Simon & Schuster ($23.00, ISBN: 0684804301)

Publication date: October 1996


“There are stars in the making and David Compton is one,” promises The Wall Street Journal. With foreign rights widely sold and a major movie deal signed, the fanfare continues to build for this thriller about an innocent man trapped by his own zeal and ambition in a deadly CIA conspiracy.

Charles SumnerCharles Sumner

A Biography by David Herbert Donald

Da Capo Press ($24.95, ISBN: 0306807203)

Publication date: October 1996

The Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History, 1954-68

Text by Steven Kasher, Foreward by Myrlie Evers-Williams

Abbeville Press ($35.00, ISBN: 0789201232)

Publication date: October 1996


This evocative book is among the first to tell the story of the civil rights movement through the inspiring photographs that recorded, promoted, and protected it. With a striking selection of images and a lively, cogent text, Steven Kasher captures the danger, drama, and bravery of the civil rights movement. 150 duotone illustrations.

The Courts of LoveThe Courts of Love

A Novella and Stories by Ellen Gilchrist

Little, Brown & Co. ($23.95, ISBN: 0316314781)

Publication date: October 1996

Brief Review:

The short stories in the first half of this collection feature Nora Jane Whittington, one of Ellen Gilchrist's familiar characters, and through her and her family and friends Gilchrist explores the complex balancing of relationships. The stories in the second half have many varying points of view—including a non-human one, that of a bear cub. These thoughtful tales, alive with vivid description, revolve around the tensions between the mind and the body, and between what is desired and what is achievable.

Distant Friends and Intimate Strangers

Stories by Charles East

University of Illinois Press ($14.95, ISBN: 0252065794)

Publication date: October 1996

Brief Review:

Charles East is unafraid to tackle locales that already have long and rich literary traditions; many of his stories are set in places like Memphis and New Orleans, which figure heavily in classic Southern fiction. Now it’s the 1990s, however, and the distinctiveness of many Southern places has rubbed off. East writes of people regretting their past and groping their way toward a suitable, if not actually happy, future. Usually, marriage and romance are the paths on which these characters grope, such as the cop musing over his ex-wife’s infidelities while he flies over New Orleans in a helicopter.

Everywhere in Mississippi

A Children's Book by Laurie Parker

Quail Ridge Press ($15.95, ISBN: 0937552712)

Publication date: October 1996

High LonesomeHigh Lonesome

Stories by Barry Hannah

Atlantic Monthly Press ($22.00, ISBN: 0871136686)

Publication date: October 1996

Brief Review:

Barry Hannah writes like a barroom raconteur talks: unevenly, wildly, with a superabundance of vivid images, sometimes improbable plotlines, and a wicked, comic appreciation for human failings. In this collection he takes on middle-aged heroes who’ve lived through bad marriages and are now suffering the ravages of alcohol and sexual craving—in other words, men not unlike Hannah himself. Hannah's turns of phrase can shoot off the page to stab the reader in the heart; even the weakest stories in this book contain a great line or two.

Home Fires Burning

Fiction by Penelope J. Stokes

Faith on the Home Front Series, Vol. 1

Tynedale House Publishers ($8.99, ISBN: 0842308512)

Publication date: October 1996


Juvenile Nonfiction by Kathleen Thompson

Portrait of America Series

Raintree/Steck Vaughn ($5.95, ISBN: 0811474496)

Publication date: October 1996

Silver RightsSilver Rights

Nonfiction by Constance Curry; Introduction by Marian Wright Edelman

Harcourt Brace ($13.00, ISBN: 0156004798)

Publication date: October 1996


Silver Rights is the true story of clear-eyed determination, down-home grit, and sweet triumph. It is the tale of the Carter family’s brave decision to send their children to an all-white school in Mississippi in 1965. Constance Curry was a field representative for the American Friends Service Committee in Mississippi, helping to aid desegregation efforts.

A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta

Nonfiction by Norman Mauskopf

Twin Palms ($50.00, ISBN: 0944092438)

Publication date: October 1996

Long Distance: PoemsLong Distance: Poems

By Aleda Shirley

Miami University Press (Hardcover, $19.95, ISBN: 1881163164; Paperback, $11.95, ISBN: 1881163172)

Publication date: October 1996

The Julius HouseThe Julius House

By Charlaine Harris

Harlequin (Paperback, ISBN: 0373262175)

Publication date: October 1996


Learning that the new home she is to share with her future husband was owned by a family that disappeared six years earlier, Roe Teagarden becomes suspicious about a pair of tenants living in the garage apartment.

A Problem of EvidenceA Problem of Evidence: How the Prosecution Freed O. J. Simpson

By Joseph Bosco

William Morrow (Hardcover, ISBN: 0688144136)

Publication date: October 1996


A freelance journalist who covered the infamous trial shows how the evidence from the scene of the crime was used and misused in court and tells why neither side mentioned the dramatic ride in the white Bronco.

Have No Fear: The Charles Evers StoryHave No Fear: The Charles Evers Story

Nonfiction by Charles Evers and Andrew Szanton

John Wiley & Sons ($24.95, ISBN: 0471122513)

Publication date: November 1996


The brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers offers a landmark addition to the history of the civil rights era and its searing aftermath. Featuring candid profiles of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Lyndon Johsnon, George Wallace, and others whom Evers knew, this chronicle recreates the raw emotions of those times and conveys all of the hatred, humiliation, rage, and hope of a people rising against injustice to demand equality of photos.

Lincoln: A BiographyLincoln

A Biography by David Herbert Donald

Touchstone Books ($16, ISBN: 068482535X)

Publication date: November 1996 (Paperback reprint of hardcover edition published by Simon & Schuster in 1995)


In the year’s most important and compelling biography, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author presents a moving, original portrait of a man who grew into greatness as president. Drawing on Lincoln’s personal papers and on the vast, unexplored records of his legal practice, Donald recreates Lincoln’s world with immediacy and rich detail.

The Book of YaakThe Book of Yaak

Nonfiction by Rick Bass

Houghton Mifflin (Hardcover, $21.95, ISBN: 0395770149)

Publication date: November 1996


Rick Bass, a prolific writer of considerable merit, has crafted an elegant plea to save the ecosystem of the Yaak Valley in northwestern Montana. Bass argues that the Yaak deserves to be saved, both for its beauty and for its role in a biological system that stretches through much of North America. To enamor readers with the Yaak he describes it with reverence, and in doing so makes us care. “We are all complicit,” he says.

The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker PercyThe Correspondence of Shelby Foote & Walker Percy

Letters by Shelby Foote and Walker Percy; edited by Jay Tolson

W.W. Norton (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0393040313)

Publication date: November 1996

Description from Kirkus Reviews (October 1, 1996):

Tolson marshals a more comprehensive selection of the 1948-90 correspondence excerpted in his Percy biography, Pilgrim in the Ruins (1992). Percy's reputation rests on his novels, especially the National Book Award-winning The Moviegoer and Love in the Ruins, Foote's on his titanic nonfiction narrative The Civil War. Because literary orthodoxy beholds Percy as the brighter star, it's surprising how much more brilliantly Foote shines here. Though younger by six months, Foote, who published four novels by age 35, is initially a kind of artistic big brother to Percy, who in 1948 began the first of two novels that preceded The Moviegoer. Since Foote didn't save Percy’s letters until 1970, the first 22 years are one-sided: Foote’s expansive, 19th-century epistolary style (he recaps Percy’s philosophical and artistic arguments as he refutes them) is nearly detailed enough to carry the monologue, and his passion—for writing, reading, music, food—is more than up to the task. However, better annotation from Tolson (as well as a fuller introduction that would put their works in a sequential context) would have shed some welcome light. Even as Percy’s star rises, his letters—shorter, less composed, and less frequent—reveal a more tentative, self-doubting muse compared with the brimming confidence that propels Foote fearlessly into his 1.5-million-word magnum opus. Beneath the deeply abiding fraternal affection of boyhood friends (they met at 14 in Greenville, Miss.) lie diametrical approaches to art. Foote, driven to tell stories because “how a thing happens is more interesting than what happens” or why, advises the “christian existentialist” (as Percy ruefully considered himself pigeonholed) to “leave psychology to the psychologists, theology to the theologians.” Percy saves his didacticism for fiction, while Foote continuously assails his friend with literary advice and books to read—most prominently Proust, whom Percy resists to the end. Despite shortcomings in the editorial packaging, the letters provide a fascinating window into a lifelong friendship and the writing life. (8 pages photos) —Copyright © 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Reading Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

Nonfiction by Stephen M. Ross and Noel Polk

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $17.50, ISBN: 0878059369)

Publication date: November 1996

In the Country Of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine

Essays by John Stone

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0807121045)

Publication date: November 1996.


In the tradition of Oliver Sacks and Lewis Thomas comes this fascinating book of essays about the two hearts that beat in all of us—the literal one and its fraternal twin, the metaphorical heart.

Dead Over HeelsDead Over Heels

By Charlaine Harris

Scribner (Hardcover, ISBN: 0684804298)

Publication date: November 1996


Soon after happily married Aurora Teagarden discovers her husband’s shady past, the dead body of Detective Sergeant Jack Burns is unceremoniously dumped in her backyard by a small plane and she cannot help but wonder if it is related to Martin’s secrets.

The FightsThe Fights

Nonfiction by Charles Hoff; Introduction by Richard Ford

Chronicle Books ($29.95, ISBN: 0811811220)

Publication date: December 1996


Introduced by Pulitzer prize-winning novelist and former Golden Gloves boxer Richard Ford, The Fights is as rich in beauty as it is provocative in subject—a meditation on the soul of the boxer, and on the body as an instrument of violence and an inspiration for art. 50 photos.

Henry Hughes and Proslavery Thought in the Old South

Biography by Douglas Ambrose

Louisiana State University Press ($45.00, ISBN: 0807120804)

Publication date: December 1996

Hooray for MississippiHooray for Mississippi: A Child’s Journey into the History and Culture of Mississippi

Juvenile literature by Annette Hamill

Quail Ridge Press (Paperback, $4.95, ISBN: 0937552720)

Publication date: December 1996


A Novel by William Faulkner

Liveright ($13.00, ISBN: 0871401673)

Reissue edition; originally published in 1927

Publication date: December 1996

A Long Ways from Where I've Been: An African-American’s Journey from the Jim Crow South to Chicago’s Gold Coast

Nonfiction by Roosevelt Richards

Noble Press ($10.95, ISBN: 1879360357)

Publication date: December 1996


Richards chronicles his life as a young, black boy, growing up in a large farm in rural Mississippi, where he and his family are subjected to the brutal injustice of Jim Crow. Despite the impoverished circumstances and harsh prejudices that dominated the life of Roosevelt and his family, his story is lovingly recounted.

Mississippi: Off the Beaten PathMississippi: Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places

Nonfiction by Marlo Carter Sibley

Globe Pequot Press ($10.95, ISBN: 1564409732)

Publication date: December 1996

Soldiers' PaySoldiers’ Pay

A Novel by William Faulkner

Liveright ($13.00, ISBN: 0871401665)

Reissue edition; first published 1926

Publication date: December 1996

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