Mississippi Books and Writers

October 1997

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

God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights

By Charles Marsh

Princeton University Press (Hardcover; $24.95; ISBN: 0691021341)

Publication date: October 1997


In the summer of 1964, the turmoil of the civil rights movement reached its peak in Mississippi, with activists across the political spectrum claiming that God was on their side in the struggle over racial justice. This book focuses on the events and religious convictions that led each person in the political upheaval of 1964 to believe as he or she did. 24 illustrations.

Men Without Ties

By Gianni Versace, Edited by Barry Hannah

Abbeville Press (Reprint Edition, Hardcover; $11.95; ISBN: 0789203820)

Publication date: October 1997


Sensuous, stylish, decadent, Gianni Versace’s kaleidoscopic vision of male beauty and men's fashion is available for the first time in this miniature edition—a burst of color, clothing, and artful design. Featuring contributions by Richard Martin, Barry Hannah, and others, Men Without Ties also includes 686 full-color photographs by Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon, and Bruce Weber.

Red Dragon

A Novel by Thomas Harris

Bantam Doubleday Dell (Reprint Edition, Paperback; $11.95; ISBN: 0385319673)

Publication date: October 1997


From the bestselling author of Silence of the Lambs comes this reissue of a gripping thriller combining mystery, horror and suspense. A gruesome tale unfolds when a brilliant detective takes on the most terrifying case of his career—a psychopathic murderer who takes pleasure in killing happy families. Reissue.

Bob the Gambler

By Frederick Barthelme

Houghton Mifflin (Hardcover; $23.00; ISBN: 0395809770)

Publication date: October 1997

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 September 1997):

Barthelme’s latest exercise in existential pulse-taking focuses on the democratic vice of gambling, though it's less a study in addiction than a celebration of risk-taking and downward mobility. Raymond Kaiser, his wife Jewel, and her daughter from a previous marriage, RV, all quietly enjoy life in Biloxi, Miss., a “simple, easy, cheap” town on the Gulf Coast. With work as an architect drying up, Ray finds himself increasingly interested in the glitzy world of offshore gambling, especially at the Paradise, where Jewel wins over $1,000 on their first trip. In their daily life, “everything’s dull,” so it’s no wonder that Jewel and Ray enjoy the visceral excitement of gambling. They soon graduate from slots to the blackjack table, and slowly find themselves down by over $4,000.

Meanwhile, back home, RV seems headed into a downward spiral of teen rebellion—boy trouble, substance experimenting, and body piercings. It doesn’t help that her parents are largely absent, spending their nights at Paradise. When Ray’s father dies, it sends him further into a midlife crisis. He comes to see himself no longer as “an ordinary guy,” but as a full-time gambler. The problem is—he’s not very good at it. Spending 18 hours at a time in the casino does nothing but increase his debts. Maxing out a handful of credit cards, he finds himself over $35,000 in the hole, but still juiced by “the losses, the excitement, the hopes, the desperation, the high.” Quitting architecture altogether, Ray and Jewel decide to downsize, selling their belongings and moving in with Ray’s mother. In their new simplicity, this besieged family finally finds that happiness is not in middle-class stability, nor in the quick fix of gambling's artificial Paradise, but in their everyday Edenic lives. Barthelme strains for topical textures—cool repartee is interrupted only by channel surfing. But the real payoff is straight-up and timeless: a novel of surprising heart and soul. — Copyright © Kirkus Associates, LP.

Redneck Night Before Christmas Redneck Night Before Christmas

Humor by David Davis, Illustrated by James Rice

Pelican (Hardcover; $14.95; ISBN: 1565542932)

Publication date: October 1997


Redneck mania is sweeping the country and the best gift for rednecks and redneck-wannabes this Christmas is the hilarious A Redneck Night Before Christmas. In this delightful tale, the “Christmas Redneck” travels to the trailer park in his beat-up pickup with eight hound dogs to deliver his presents! Color illustrations.

Outside the Southern Myth Outside the Southern Myth

Nonfiction by Noel Polk

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback: $17.00, ISBN: 0878059806)

Publication date: October 1997

Body Parts Body Parts

Stories by Jere Hoar

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $26.00, ISBN: 1578060192; Paperback ISBN: 1578060192)

Publication date: October 1997

Description from Kirkus Reviews (1 September 1997):

Eleven very Southern short stories in a first collection from a veteran of the small-press scene. Many of Hoar's tales are set in the same region of Mississippi that Faulkner wrote about—but his closest literary ancestor is really Erskine Caldwell. That’s especially true in “The Snopes Who Saved Huckaby,” featuring a plot that bears some resemblance to Sanctuary and even a character supposedly related to Faulkner. The language, humor, and characterizations, however, are more reminiscent of Caldwell’s Journeyman. As in that novel, an itinerant preacher is irresistible to women, and his conquests get him into trouble. He takes refuge in a girls’ finishing school, resolving to leave women alone, but he can’t, and the Lord strikes him with lightning, beginning a great storm that saves the town of Huckaby from drought. It’s a delightful story, funny as Caldwell, but gentler, with a hilarious sequel, “How Wevel Went.” By contrast, “Tell Me It Hasn’t Come to This” is mindful more of Flannery O’Connor: A lonely widow waves to passersby until, finally, one knocks at her door. He’s a newly released prisoner who has come to God, though menace seems to lurk beneath his friendliness. The widow nervously spurns him, only to realize when he’s gone that the man was sincerely offering just what she needed—friendship—and that she’s more alone now than ever. “The Incredible Little Louisiana Chicken Killer”concerns a sort of dybbuk that attacks a farm couple’s chickenhouse; they make the mistake of taking it into their house, with unpleasant results. Finally, Hoar offers several growing-up stories set in the time of WW II. The title piece and “A Brave Damn-Near Perfect Thing,” for instance, are both meandering reminiscences of puppy love and small town life in the 1940s, and rather wistful. A winner. —Copyright © 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Americans at War Americans at War

Nonfiction by Stephen E. Ambrose

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $28.00, ISBN: 1578060265)

Publication date: October 1997


Collected here for the first time are 15 essays that span over 100 years of American history—and the remarkable 30-year career of America’s foremost historian. From Grant’s stunning Fourth of July victory at Vicksburg to Nixon’s surprise Christmas bombing of Hanoi, Ambrose takes readers into the trenches of the homefront, ground zero of the Atomic Bomb, and into the arsenals of the 21st century.

Ambrose’s theme, the American way of war, is significant, for war indeed has delineated each era in America’s turbulent history and has focused the nation’s democratic perspective. Throughout, these essays encompass two large subjects. First, Ambrose is drawn to the experiences of those who have gone to war, both the leaders and the led. Second, he is intrigued by men who make big decisions—or fail to make them. He concludes that generals alone don’t win wars. Infantrymen, he believes, as well as the generals and the intelligence officers, were responsible for the Allied victory in World War II. And although the stalwart common soldier is credited with winning America’s wars, Ambrose also gives fair and empathetic examination to soldiers who break under strain.

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