Mississippi Books and Writers


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

The Peddler's Grandson The Peddler’s Grandson: Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi

By Edward Cohen

Delta (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0385335911)

Publication date: January 2002

Description from Booklist:

Cohen grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1950s and 1960s. In a city of 100,000 people, mostly Baptists, he was one of about 300 Jews. His immigrant grandparents settled there, coming from Romania, Russia, and Poland. Cohen remembers that the only Jewish institution in town was Temple Beth Israel, located next door to the state women’s club, which didn’t allow Jews, and down the street from his high school, which did allow Jews but not blacks. Farther north was the Jackson Country Club, which allowed neither. Cohen’s grandfather and great uncle founded a clothing store in Jackson, where his father worked all his life and where the author worked every Saturday for much of his childhood. Cohen describes how he left Mississippi for college (the University of Miami), where he met northern Jews and felt again like an outsider because of what he termed his southerness. This thoughtful and beautifully written memoir is a revelation about the allure of assimilation and the evasiveness of identity. —George Cohen

Majesty of the Mississippi Delta

By Jim Fraiser, photographs by West Freeman

Pelican (Hardcover, $18.95, ISBN: 1565548698)

Publication date: January 2002


Architectural/Historical stories about famous antebellum and turn of the century Delta landmarks, with color photography of exteriors and interiors, in Pelican’s “Majesty of” series.

Pompeii ManPompeii Man

By Paul Ruffin

Louisiana Literature Press (Hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 0945083033)

Publication date: January 2002


Set on the Mississippi Coast and New Orleans, Pompeii Man is the story of the descent of an innocent couple into a hell of fear and violence, a world that neither of them could have imagined in the Big Easy. The reader watches in horror as Stafford loses his wife to a terrifying night of assault and rape in the dark heart of New Orleans, manages to get her back home, then loses her again, perhaps forever, except for the emergence of a detective who takes a personal interest in the case and driven by imagination and determination sets off to free her and bring down the drug lord who holds her captive.

The SummonsThe Summons

A novel by John Grisham

Doubleday (Hardcover, $27.95, ISBN: 0385503822)

Publication date: February 2002


Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He’s forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family’s black sheep.

And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.

With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.

Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.

And perhaps someone else.

Hunting SeasonHunting Season

A novel by Nevada Barr

Putnam (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0399148469)

Publication date: February 2002

Description from Booklist:

In the tenth adventure in Barr’s National Park series (each installment is set at a different park), District Ranger Anna Pigeon investigates a murder at an old inn on Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway. After the discovery of the corpse—naked and marked in such a way as to suggest an S & M ritual—interrupts Anna’s brunch with her new romantic interest, local sheriff Paul Davidson, the intrepid ranger finds herself forced to untangle a poaching plot with roots deep in Mississippi history. This latest entry in Barr’s popular series marks a definite return to form after the disappointing Blood Lure. The edgy, fast-paced tale generates plenty of tension, making the most of several nighttime crimes, and Barr does a good job of developing the character of Anna, adding romance to the mix and giving the ranger plenty of opportunity to display her slightly dark, off-center wit. Descriptions of grand National Park vistas, so prominent in the earlier books, are missing this time, but Barr still makes the most of her setting, evoking the special charms of autumn in the South. Series fans will be pleased to see the return of Randy Thigpen, Anna’s nemesis from earlier novels. Barr, the undisputed queen of the eco-mystery, has turned a novel premise into a thriving subgenre. —John Rowen. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Blood LureBlood Lure

A novel by Nevada Barr

Berkley (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0425183750)

Publication date: February 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The latest entry in this excellent series featuring National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon is one of Barr’s best. Anna has been assigned to work temporarily in Montana’s Glacier National Park, where she seems more at home than in her recent forays to East Coast parks, and learns how to do DNA studies on wildlife by working with a biologist, Joan, on a study of grizzly bears. Anna, Joan and a young, inexperienced volunteer, Rory, are sent out into the park’s wilderness areas to set lures for the grizzlies. They use a powerful and nasty-smelling concoction, mixed with cow’s blood, that the grizzlies find irresistible. Once the bears rub up against the trees or barbed wire that have been coated with the lure, samples of their DNA can be collected from the hair and skin left behind. In their remote campsite one night, Anna and Joan amazingly survive a grizzly bear attack on their tents unscathed, only to find that Rory has gone missing. As park rangers and rescue teams hike the mountainous park looking for the missing teenager, they find instead the dead body of a woman whose face has been horribly mutilated. Rory is an obvious suspect, as is the bear who attacked the camp. Barr focuses on the wilderness park and its endangered population of grizzlies rather than on Anna’s personal life and problems, and this makes for a tightly plotted, satisfying read. The author’s masterful descriptions of the natural world immeasurably enhance an exciting, suspenseful story that is sure to flirt with bestseller lists. Mystery Guild main selection and Literary Guild alternate selection. —Copyright © 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

A Multitude of SinsA Multitude of Sins

Stories by Richard Ford

Knopf (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 0375412123)

Publication date: February 2002

Description from Booklist:

Ford’s novel Independence Day (1995) won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Here, in 10 short stories, he meticulously explores love and intimacy, particularly the way people often fail to meet the challenges of truly connecting with their partners; 7 out of the 10 stories deal with infidelity.

Yet even in the passionate liaisons forged outside of marriage, regret is a common theme. In the powerful “Abyss,” Residential Agent of the Year Frances Bilandic, married to a man suffering from a terminal degenerative disease, enters a tumultuous affair with fellow realtor Howard Cameron. Her impulsive decision to ditch a seminar and take a side trip to see the Grand Canyon has unforeseen consequences: “What had been wrong with her? He wasn’t interesting or witty or nice or deep or pretty. And up here, where everything was natural and clean and pristine, you saw it.”

Even in the beautifully written “Dominion,” what passes for optimism in a Ford short story is the realization by a woman on the brink of divorce that “life shouldn’t be always trying, trying, trying. You should live most of it without trying so hard.” This is grim, unsettling fiction that radiates emotional pain from every precisely written line. —Joanne Wilkinson. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Splintered BonesSplintered Bones

A novel by Carolyn Haines

Delacorte (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0385335903)

Publication date: February 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Described on the somewhat staid cover as “a mystery from the Mississippi Delta,” Haines’s third Southern cozy (first in hardcover) is heavy on the cornpone, but is saved from the totally ridiculous by a hearty leavening of laughter.

Sarah Booth Delaney and her cohorts, Tinkie Richmond and Cece Dee Falcon (formerly Cecil but that’s for another story) band together to save friend and horse breeder Eulalee “Lee” McBride from a first-degree murder rap. Lee has confessed to the murder of her loutish husband, Kemper Fuquar, in order to save her mixed-up 14-year-old daughter, Kip Fuquar, from the charge. The sheriff is hard-put to find a woman any woman on the outlying magnolia-scented estates who didn’t have a motive to crush Kemper’s skull, then sic Avenger, a temperamental show horse, on the rotter. When she’s not busy being a PI, Sarah Booth stays busy playing with her red tick hound, Sweetie Pie; talking to a resident ghost, Jitty, in her antebellum mansion; reluctantly scouring the area for a date to the hunt ball; baby-sitting for a willful Kip; and reading Kinky Friedman books. Sarah Booth keeps up with her friends’ lipstick and nail polish colors, and even goes along with having Sweetie Pie’s hair dyed brown from its graying shade.

The author’s long on accent, if short on clues that help elucidate the mystery. But Haines (Them Bones) keeps her sense of humor throughout, holding the reader’s attention and internal laugh track right down to the last snicker. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760

Edited by Robbie Ethridge and Charles Hudson

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $50.00, ISBN: 1578063515)

Publication date: February 2002

Description from the publisher:

The most current thought on Native Americans of the colonial South.

With essays by Stephen Davis, Penelope Drooker, Patricia K. Galloway, Steven Hahn, Charles Hudson, Marvin Jeter, Paul Kelton, Timothy Pertulla, Christopher Rodning, Helen Rountree, Marvin T. Smith, and John Worth.

The first two-hundred years of Western civilization in the Americas was a time when fundamental and sometimes catastrophic changes occurred in Native American communities in the South.

In The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists provide perspectives on how this era shaped American Indian society for later generations and how it even affects these communities today.

This collection of essays presents the most current scholarship on the social history of the South, identifying and examining the historical forces, trends, and events that were attendant to the formation of the Indians of the colonial South.

The essayists discuss how Southeastern Indian culture and society evolved. They focus on such aspects as the introduction of European diseases to the New World, long-distance migration and relocation, the influences of the Spanish mission system, the effects of the English plantation system, the northern fur trade of the English, and the French, Dutch, and English trade of Indian slaves and deerskins in the South.

This book covers the full geographic and social scope of the Southeast, including the indigenous peoples of Florida, Virginia, Maryland, the Appalachian Mountains, the Carolina Piedmont, the Ohio Valley, and the Central and Lower Mississippi Valleys.

Robbie Ethridge is an assistant professor of anthropology and southern studies at the University of Mississippi. Charles Hudson is Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Georgia.

Laugh Track

By David Galef

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1578064228)

Publication date: March 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Fifteen far-ranging and idiosyncratic glimpses of life most often from a dark, quixotic psychosocial perspective make up this collection, selected from more than 60 published stories by Galef (Turning Japanese; Flesh). The topics are curious and far-ranging: the last day of an over-the-hill mob enforcer (“Butch”), the struggles of a blocked gag writer who plays canned laughter at his therapy sessions (“Laugh Track”), the interaction between a chimerical landlord and a novelist who has come to Mexico to work on a memoir (“The Landlord”) and the angst of an American lawyer who tries to forget his gay lover by running off to Greece (“All Cretans”).

The opening vignette (“You”) imagines the day of the author’s conception, and a third-grade teacher whose love-life is on the skids acts out her sexual frustration on a precocious male student in “Triptych.” The tersely noted impressions of a juror in “Jury Duty” and a college instructor’s wry account of his eccentric writing workshop in “Metafiction” up the humor quotient, while arguably the darkest and most affecting of the stories is “Dear, Dirty Paris,” which recounts the experience of a high school student on her maiden trip to the City of Light. Her parents entrust her to the care of two rather questionable men who had provided them with a similar introduction to the city in their youth.

Though well crafted, this set is likely a bit obscure for mainstream readers, but fans of literary fiction will be won over by Galef’s ironic and enigmatic sensibility. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

On William Hollingsworth, Jr.

By Eudora Welty

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $20.00, ISBN: 1578064872)

Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

Welty’s graceful, appreciative essay about one of the South’s notable painters.

William Hollingsworth, Jr., and Eudora Welty were Mississippi contemporaries who began their careers in the arts almost simultaneously. Just as the Great Depression struck the nation, both were finishing their educations in big cities—Welty at Columbia University in New York, Hollingsworth at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago.

This keepsake book uniting these two acclaimed Mississippi artists and their work gives the pleasure of encountering Welty as an art critic and of meeting an astonishingly talented painter she admired.

In 1958, after seeing a large posthumous exhibition of his paintings at the Jackson Municipal Art Gallery, Welty wrote this critical appreciation. It appeared in the Clarion-Ledger, the local newspaper, and has never been reprinted until now.

Accompanying Welty’s essay are full-color plates of eleven Hollingsworth paintings she mentions or to which she makes reference. An afterword puts the work of Hollingsworth and Welty in the context of time, place, and circumstance. A chronology shows how Hollingsworth was a rising star whose life was cut short.

As young Mississippians who had been schooled away from home, they returned to Jackson during hard times but were afforded a serendipitous gift—a sense of place that became a resource for their art. Although both longed to connect with the mainstream of the art world in the North, Hollingsworth and Welty discovered the significance of regional roots.

A great American writer, Welty had a career that lasted for nearly seventy years. Hollingsworth’s lasted for only one decade. He died in 1944 at the age of thirty-four. She died at the age of ninety-two in 2001. Two of his watercolors that she bought in the 1930s still hang in her home.

Mississippi Delta Women in PrismMississippi Delta Women in Prism

Poems by Claire T. Feild

NewSouth Books (Paperback, $15.95, ISBN: 1588380386)

Publication date: March 2002


In her debut collection, Claire T. Feild offers narrative poems about women living in the Mississippi Delta in the 1950s and the early 1960s. Many of the poems speak of proprieties revered by these women during a time of placidity that eventually sparked radical change. A darker meaning pervades these poems, for black-white relationships are explored by a writer whose formative years were spent collecting images from the kudzu-covered hills along Highway 49, the sultry cotton fields of the Yazoo Delta, and locales such as Henick’s Auto Supply and Goose Egg Park.


By Will D. Campbell

Baylor University Press (Paperback, $14.95, ISBN: 0918954843)

First published in 1992

Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

Hailed as Will Campbell’s most literary work, Providence chronicles the more than 170-year history of a square mile of plantation land in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Shifting between history and autobiography, Campbell illustrates the quest for justice among the Choctaws, African Americans, and whites on the parcel of land designated Section 13. From the forcible removal of native Choctaws, to slavery and sharecropping on the Providence Plantation, to an interracial cooperative farm in the 1930s-’50s, and finally to the present-day ownership by the Department of the Interior, Providence, according to Campbell, “has seen a lot. In a way its saga is the story of the nation.”

Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe

By David Herbert Donald

Harvard University Press (Paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 0674008693)

First published in 1989

Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

Thomas Wolfe, one of the giants of twentieth-century American fiction, is also one of the most misunderstood of our major novelists. A man massive in his size, his passions, and his gifts, Wolfe has long been considered something of an unconscious genius, whose undisciplined flow of prose was shaped into novels by his editor, the celebrated Maxwell Perkins.

In this definitive and compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Herbert Donald dismantles that myth and demonstrates that Wolfe was a boldly aware experimental artist who, like James Joyce, William Faulkner, and John Dos Passos, deliberately pushed at the boundaries of the modern novel. Donald takes a new measure of this complex, tormented man as he reveals Wolfe’s difficult childhood, when he was buffeted between an alcoholic father and a resentful mother; his “magical” years at the University of North Carolina, where his writing talent first flourished; his rise to literary fame after repeated rejection; and the full story of Wolfe’s passionate affair with Aline Bernstein, including their intimate letters.

“Supersedes all previous Wolfe biographies in illuminating detail, in empathy for its complex unhappy subject, in sympathy for what he wanted to do, and what he did, as a writer, and in its own literary distinction … A work of great subtlety and sophistication.” —Washington Post Book World

Faulkner at West Point

Edited by Robert Paul Ashley and Joseph L. Fant

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 1578064457)

First published in 1964

Publication date: March 2002

Description from the publisher:

A new edition of a classic and a commemoration of William Faulkner’s visit to West Point forty years ago.

The Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner (1897-1962) visited the United States Military Academy at West Point less than three months before his death in 1962. On the night of April 19 he read aloud episodes from his forthcoming novel The Reivers before an audience of cadets, faculty, and staff. After the reading he answered questions about his own work and about the art of writing. Later he met the press publicly and responded graciously to probing questions. The following morning he met with cadets in two advanced literature courses and discussed a wide range of subjects—his philosophy of life, his writings, his views on America.

All these sessions were tape recorded and photographed. Two members of the English department at West Point edited the transcriptions of the tapes for this volume. It is reprinted in this new edition in commemoration of Faulkner’s sojourn to the academy forty years ago and of the academy’s bicentennial.

Faulkner at West Point, first published in 1964, includes a new preface, an introduction, and reflections on the historic visit written by two graduates who were present as cadets during the Nobel writer’s appearance.

All these materials, along with the original text, testify to the import of Faulkner’s visit and, at times, to the curmudgeonly Faulkner’s obliging good will in answering questions about himself and the writing process. This memorable book documents not only the collegial spirit of fellowship that Faulkner enjoyed while at the academy but also the great writer’s thoughts and opinions expressed shortly before his death.

William Faulkner, a Mississippian, was one of the most admired and renowned writers of the twentieth century. Among his works are The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, Sanctuary, and As I Lay Dying. Joseph L. Fant and Robert Ashley, now retired, were professors of English at the U.S. Military Academy.

New Guinea Run New Guinea Run

By Karen Knight Winter

PublishAmerica (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 1591291356)

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Publication date: March 2002


Sixteen-year-old Rob finds himself in the rainforest of New Guinea on a Youth Corp project after being expelled from boarding school. Shortly after arriving in New Guinea, Rob and his friends, Mike and Teke (a native New Guinean), discover the Youth Corps project is actually a front for an international gold smuggling ring. The leaders of the Youth Corps project are shipping gold from the gold mines in the New Guinea highlands and shipping it to the United States and Japan. Rob and his friends realize that their very lives are dependent on the project leaders for food, medicine, and communications.

Tennessee Williams and the South

By Kenneth Holditch and Richard Freeman Leavitt

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 1578064104)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Words and pictures that show the South’s imprint on the life and works of the great playwright

No other writer has been more closely connected to the region of his birth than Tennessee Williams. Indeed, he remarked on several occasions that the farther south one went in America, the more congenial life was. He wrote, he said, not only of the present but also of the past and of a South that had no counterpart anywhere else.

Combining his words with pictures, this biographical album reveals the closeness of Williams to the American South. Although he roamed far, he never forgot the “more congenial climate” the South afforded him and his creativity.

Williams was born in Mississippi in 1911 and lived there with his family until he was seven. Thomas Lanier Williams, who became “Tennessee,” absorbed much of his creative material from this Mississippi home place. Many of his ancestors were distinguished Tennesseans, a fact in which he took considerable pride. Although he grew to maturity in St. Louis, it was to the South that he continually returned in his memory and in his imagination. It was in New Orleans and Key West that he chose to spend a large part of his later years.

His characters—Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, Alma Winemiller in Summer and Smoke, and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire—are victims of having outlived the southern past in which they had been at home. Unlike them, despite the region’s industrial transformation, Williams always found the South his own.

This book underscores that intimate connection by featuring photographs of people and places that influenced him. Enhanced with a long essay and captioned with quotations from Williams’s plays, memoirs, and letters, more than one hundred pictures document the keen sense of place that he felt throughout his life and career.

Kenneth Holditch, a professor emeritus at the University of New Orleans, the editor of the Tennessee Williams Journal, and the co-editor (with Mel Gussaw) of the Library of America edition of Williams’s works, lives in New Orleans.

Richard Freeman Leavitt is the editor/compiler of The World of Tennessee Williams and the compiler of the photographs and the genealogical chart for Lyle Leverich’s Tom: The Unknown Williams. He lives in the Great North Woods region of New Hampshire.

The Collected Poems of Tennessee WilliamsThe Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams

Edited by David E. Roessel and Nicholas Rand Moschovakis

New Directions (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0811215083)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Even after his plays made him a celebrity, Tennessee Williams “identified himself, privately, as a lone and tortured poet,” reveal editors Nicholas Moschovakis and David Roessel (co-editor, The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes) in their introduction to The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams. Williams (1911-1983) wrote verse throughout his life, which is fully collected for the first time in this anthology. In the Winter of Cities and Androgyne, Mon Amour, the two collections Williams published in his lifetime, are here, as are uncollected pieces, verse from his plays and fiction, early works from the 1930s indebted to his hero Hart Crane, and even juvenilia by “Thos. Williams, 9th gr.” Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Light in AugustLight in August: The Corrected Text

By William Faulkner

Modern Library (Hardcover, $18.95, ISBN: 067964248X)

Publication date: April 2002


One of Faulkner’s most admired and accessible novels, Light in August reveals the great American author at the height of his powers. Lena Grove’s resolute search for the father of her unborn child begets a rich, poignant, and ultimately hopeful story of perseverance in the face of mortality. It also acquaints us with several of Faulkner’s most unforgettable characters, including the Reverend Gail Hightower, who is plagued by visions of Confederate horsemen, and Joe Christmas, a ragged, itinerant soul obsessed with his mixed-race ancestry.

Powerfully entwining these characters’ stories, Light in August vividly brings to life Faulkner’s imaginary South, one of literature’s great invented landscapes, in all of its impoverished, violent, unerringly fascinating glory.

This edition reproduces the corrected text of Light in August as established in 1985 by Noel Polk.

Living Dead in DallasLiving Dead in Dallas

By Charlaine Harris

Book 2 of The Southern Vampires Series

Ace Books (Paperback, $6.50, ISBN: 0441009239)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.

Easier said than done.

Billy Ray's FarmBilly Ray’s Farm: Essays from a Place Called Tula

By Larry Brown

Touchstone Books (Paperback, $12.00, ISBN: 0743225244)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Celebrated for depicting the dark, seamy side of Southern life, Mississippi novelist Brown (Fay; Father and Son) turns to sunnier topics in this loose-jointed collection of essays paying tribute to the people and places that influenced his writing. The title piece, a rueful reflection on son Billy Ray’s persistent bad luck with cattle, sets the tone: despite dead calves, misbehaving bulls, rampaging coyotes and dilapidated fences, father and son remain optimistic. “Billy Ray’s farm does not yet exist on an earthly plane,” writes Brown. “On Billy Ray’s farm there will be total harmony, wooden fence rows straight as a plumb line, clean, with no weeds, no rusted barbed wire.” As Brown details his own efforts to impose harmony on his farm by building a house (“Shack”), protecting his stock from predators (“Goatsongs”), clearing brush and stocking fish (“By the Pond”), he balances pastoral odes with a clear-eyed accounting of the costs of country living. That realism gives Brown’s narratives a plainspoken truth that makes more believable the simple pleasures he takes in these simple tasks. The writer’s home life in Oxford, Miss., is more compelling than his chronicles of book tours and writers conferences (“The Whore in Me”), but the latter is kept to a minimum. More successful are the tributes to literary mentors Harry Crews and Madison Jones and to the men who taught him “the fine points of guns and dogs” after his father’s death, when Brown was 16. These humble personal essays, which provide a glimpse at the long apprenticeship of a writer who came up the hard way, leave the reader hoping Brown will soon tackle a full-blown autobiography.

The Unvanquished (Large Print Edition)

By William Faulkner

G. K. Hall (Hardcover, $28.95, ISBN: 0783897634)

Publication date: April 2002


The Unvanquished is often considered William Faulkner’s quintessential Civil War novel, and it remains one of the best introductions to Faulkner for first-time readers. The novel was constructed from short stories, most of which were first published in The Saturday Evening Post, and as a result each chapter can be read as a story unto itself. Together, the seven chapters of the novel tell the story of the Sartoris family during and after the war, the novel is especially noteworthy for its acute portrayal of the southern home front during the war, where many historians feel the war was truly lost for the Confederacy.

Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty Among Artists of the Thirties

By Eudora Welty and Rene Paul Barilleaux

Mississippi Museum of Art (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1887422064)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Published by the Mississippi Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition of the same title. Edited by Rene Paul Barilleaux, the 84-page volume includes essays by Suzanne Marrs, Patti Carr Black, and Francis V. O’Connor. The book features numerous full color and black-and-white illustrations throughout.

Month-by-Month Gardening in MississippiMonth-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi

By Felder Rushing

Cool Springs Press (Paperback, $19.99, ISBN: 1930604807)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Gardening is now the favorite leisure pastime in America. Homeowners are realizing the health benefits derived from gardening and the increase in their home’s property value. Book retailers are well aware that the trend in gardening books is to regional titles that provide credible information on the plants that perform well in specific regions.

Month-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi is written by the highly popular gardening expert Felder Rushing. Contains monthly advice on what to do and when to do it in the garden. The book contains 12 plant categories ranging from annuals to vines.

Taps Taps

Fiction by Willie Morris

Mariner Books (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0618219021)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Booklist:

Morris died in 1999, and it’s hard to accept that this is his last book. The gritty but poignant writings of the Mississippian who served as editor at Harper’s in the 1960s have included a book about his childhood dog and one about his cat, but most famously, North Toward Home (1967), in which he recalled the South of his childhood. Taps is a summary statement of Morris’ fondness for the Mississippi where he came of age, and as such, the novel reads like a memoir of childhood and youth. The main character is Swayze Barksdale, who, at age 16, is busy gathering impressions of the adult world at a time when the Korean War is waging. A trumpet player, Swayze has plenty of opportunity to observe those around him when he plays “Taps” at the funerals of deceased hometown GIs. Swayze has a best friend, who teaches him about companionship; he has a girlfriend, who teaches him about early love and sexuality; and he has an adult friend, whose life and death teach Swayze the ultimate lessons in love and loss. Plotlines are kept to a minimum; this is a novel of characters rather than story, and what delicious, real, and beautifully conceived characters they are. Times were simpler in the 1950s, but this is not a simple novel. It’s a deep and enriching last act for the delightful Willie Morris. —Brad Hooper. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Rescuing Jesus from the Christians Rescuing Jesus from the Christians

By Clayton Sullivan

Trinity Press International (Paperback, $16.00, ISBN: 1563383802)

Publication date: April 2002

Description from Booklist:

Sullivan says he writes “for reflective laypersons who are not satisfied with the belief system they encounter in orthodox Christianity” rather than for academics or clergy. It appears, however, that he writes for laypersons who have just begun their reflection, with no knowledge of biblical scholarship and no more knowledge of theological tradition than might be derived by an uncritical ear from Sunday morning sermons in an evangelical congregation. Since Sullivan comes out of a Southern Baptist tradition and writes at least in part as a response to that denomination’s fundamentalist turn, dissatisfied members of that tradition may be the audience he really has in mind. Readers will encounter here a rudimentary summary of historical Jesus research, an introduction to the longstanding distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and an invitation to participate in a Christianity measured more by its social engagement than by its theology or its attitude toward the Bible. —Steven Schroeder. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Frontier House Frontier House

By Simon Shaw, Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

Pocket Books (Hardcover, $29.00, ISBN: 0743442709)

Publication date: May 2002

Description from the publisher:

Go west with PBS in this behind-the-scenes look at the television series that sent modern-day Americans “back in time” to the harsh frontier of 1880s Montana.

America’s period of westward expansion has long captured the imagination of history buffs and adventurous spirits; the era seems to embody the very daring enterprise that made America what it is today. As a result, frontier life has often been romanticized in television and film.

But all of that changed with PBS’s Frontier House. Bringing the trials and triumphs of nineteenth-century homesteaders to life in a way we might never have imagined, Frontier House re-creates life in the wilderness for three households of spirited twenty-first-century Americans and documents their six-month experience for television.

Roughing it on their allotted plots of land while all of America watches, these brave souls relinquish grocery stores, microwaves, and plumbing in favor of raising chickens, churning butter, and outhouses. Gone are all the modern amenities they’re accustomed to. In their place: just the will to do whatever it takes to survive.

Covering the inception of the show, the historical basis for the lifestyle re-created, the selection of the participants, the logistical challenges of production, and the impact of this experiment on the participants—along with profiles of actual nineteenth-century homesteaders—Frontier House is a first-rate companion to one of the most innovative and fascinating reality shows of our time.

Yonder Stands Your Orphan Yonder Stands Your Orphan

By Barry Hannah

Grove Press (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0802138934)

Publication date: May 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Hallelujah! After a 10-year absence, Hannah (Airships; High Lonesome) is back with a vengeance with a Southern gothic novel full of every kind of excess: violence, sex, religiosity, creepiness and humor. Here we have Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Harry Crews, Peter Dexter and Clyde Edgerton all squished together, baked in hush-puppy batter, dipped in honey and sprinkled with Jim Beam.

Set in a lake community in the vicinity of Vicksburg, Miss., the story revolves around a fellow named Man Mortimer, a thief, pimp and murderer and those are his good qualities who physically resembles the late country singer Conway Twitty. On his trail are Byron Egan, a somewhat reformed biker-turned-preacher and prophet, and Max Raymond, a former doctor who plays saxophone in a bar band and has an attractive Cuban wife who sings, sometimes for the band, sometimes nude in her back yard. Meanwhile, the young town sheriff, distrusted since he hails from the North, manages to shock even the most degenerate denizens of the area with his affair with a luscious 72-year-old widow.

The plot is kaleidoscopic, with flashes and slashes of wonder, humor and the macabre expertly mixed. Hannah tosses off linguistic gems on almost every page: “… sometimes he felt he was a whole torn country, afire in all quadrants.” Describing a car, “It smelled like very lonely oil men.”

Reading today’s fiction is too often like eating stale bread. With Hannah (finalist for the American Book Award and the National Book Award), just imagine your most mouthwatering meal, take a double helping and you’ve come close to the pleasure of reading this book. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Best of the Oxford American Best of the Oxford American

Edited by Marc Smirnoff and Rick Bragg

Hill Street Press (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 1588180816)

Publication date: May 2002


A comprehensive anthology of The Oxford American’s most memorable pieces published during the first decade of the magazine’s existence, these articles prove provocative, opinionated, and irreverent. The Oxford American has served as an incubator and archive for the most promising and most established voices in contemporary Southern writing. It offers up an extraordinary range of perspectives on a multitude of subjects, while always avoiding the hackneyed notion of the South as the exclusive province of the gothic or the sentimental dominion of moonlight and magnolias. Collected here are the magazine’s stellar fiction and poetry offered alongside its best commentary, profiles, photography, comics, and reporting on politics, history, religions, art, books, film, and humor.

Preserving the Pascagoula Preserving the Pascagoula

By Donald G. Schueler

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 157806466X)

First published in 1980

Publication date: May 2002

Description from the publisher:

A classic book about the environmental triumph that saved a southeast Mississippi wetland.

Preserving the Pascagoula re-creates one of the more exciting sagas in the history of wilderness preservation—the ultimately successful fight to protect the vast, magnificent, little-known Pascagoula Swamp in southeastern Mississippi.

The Pascagoula, in terms of discharge volume, remains the largest undammed, unaltered river system in the continental United States. The story of how it was saved, with several heroes, no great villains, and a happy ending, will remind the environmental community that now and then the “good guys” do win.

More than the suspenseful retelling of this achievement, Preserving the Pascagoula details the unusual strategy whereby the fight was won. It serves as a blueprint of how a state government created from scratch one of the finest natural area programs in America today.

This is the story of the most effective nonprofit land acquisition group in the nation, The Nature Conservancy, and its innovative Natural Heritage Program that calls upon states to inventory and protect threatened ecosystems. It is also the story of Mississippi’s response to the Heritage idea, a response that has served as a model for other states.

Finally, this is the account of a handful of dedicated people, ranging in their commitments from counterculture activism to staid conservatism. The unlikely alliance of these disparate groups suggests how much even a few individuals can accomplish against great odds, if they have the will and the nerve.

Preserving the Pascagoula could have been just one more account of a dramatic eleventh-hour confrontation between environmentalists and developers. More than that, it suggests many ways in which people who want to save our wilderness heritage can initiate action, instead of merely reacting to threats to the environment.

This new edition of Preserving the Pascagoula is published by the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Support and assistance for this effort has come from The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi, Audubon Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Donald G. Schueler is the author of A Handmade Wilderness, Incident at Eagle Ranch: Predators as Prey in the American West, The Temple of the Jaguar: Travels in the Yucatan, and Adventuring along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Hermit's Story The Hermit’s Story: Stories

By Rick Bass

Houghton Mifflin (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 061813932X)

Publication date: June 2002


  Rick Bass’s best fiction yet , and the most varied collection he has ever published, The Hermit’s Story introduces both new stories and pieces previously published in some of the country’s finest periodicals.

In the title story, a man and a woman travel across an eerily frozen lake—under the ice. “The Distance” casts a skeptical eye on Thomas Jefferson through the lens of a Montana man’s visit to Monticello. “Eating” begins with an owl being sucked into a canoe and ends with a man eating a town out of house and home. Other stories include “The Cave,” “The Fireman,” “Swans,” “The Prisoners,” “Presidents’ Day,” “Real Town,” and “Two Deer.” Two of these stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, but every selection in this book is remarkable.

New Orleans Sketches

By William Faulkner, edited by Carvel Collins

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 1578064716)

Reprint edition, originally published in book form in 1958

Publication date: June 2002

Description from the publisher:

Faulkner’s early fictional forays that foreshadow a Nobel laureate in the making.

In 1925 William Faulkner began his professional writing career in earnest while living in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He had published a volume of poetry (The Marble Faun), had written a few book reviews, and had contributed sketches to the University of Mississippi student newspaper. He had served a stint in the Royal Canadian Air Corps and while working in a New Haven bookstore had become acquainted with the wife of the writer Sherwood Anderson.

In his first six months in New Orleans, where the Andersons were living, Faulkner made his initial foray into serious fiction writing. Here in one volume are the pieces he wrote while in the French Quarter. These were published locally in the Times-Picayune and in the Double Dealer, a “little magazine” based in New Orleans.

New Orleans Sketches broadcasts seeds that would take root in later works. In their themes and motifs these sketches and stories foreshadow the intense personal vision and style that would characterize Faulkner’s mature fiction. As his sketches take on parallels with Christian liturgy and as they portray such characters as an idiot boy similar to Benjy Compson, they reveal evidence of his early literary sophistication.

In praise of New Orleans Sketches Alfred Kazin wrote in the New York Times Book Review that “the interesting thing for us now, who can see in this book the outline of the writer Faulkner was to become, is that before he had published his first novel he had already determined certain main themes in his work.”

In his trail-blazing introduction Carvel Collins, often called “Faulkner’s best-informed critic,” illuminates the period when the sketches were written as the time that Faulkner was making the transition from poet to novelist.

“For the reader of Faulkner,” Paul Engle wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “the book is indispensable. Its brilliant introduction … is full both of helpful information … and of fine insights.” “We gain something more than a glimpse of the mind of a young genius asserting his power against a partially indifferent environment,” states the Book Exchange (London). “The long introduction … must rank as a major literary contribution to our knowledge of an outstanding writer: perhaps the greatest of our times.”

Carvel Collins (1912-1990), one of the foremost authorities on Faulkner’s life and works, served on the faculties of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Swarthmore College, and the University of Notre Dame, where he was the first to teach a course devoted to Faulkner’s writing.

Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers

By Adam Nossiter

Da Capo Press (Paperback, $17.50, ISBN: 0306811626)

First published: 1994

Publication date: June 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

  In this resonant and absorbing narrative, Nossiter uses the 1963 murder of NAACP staffer Medgar Evers and the recent re-prosecution of assassin Byron de la Beckwith as a prism through which to examine the significant evolution in hearts, minds and government in Mississippi. Nossiter, who formerly covered Mississippi for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , tells his story mainly in deft profiles: Evers, the resolute field secretary shunned by many of the black bourgeoisie in Jackson; Beckwith, the racist supported by the white establishment, whose first two trials led to hung juries; prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter, who slowly developed a consciousness of the past. By the late 1980s, with new political leaders in place and a collective introspection in process, the state exhumed the case: information about jury tampering became known, formerly reluctant witnesses testified and Beckwith was convicted. The need for this thoughtful analysis—a more comprehensive look at the Evers case than Reed Massengill’s recent Beckwith biography, Portrait of a Racist—is shown by a jury pool, black and white, almost universally ignorant of Evers. —Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Tales from Margaritaville: Fictional Facts and Factional Fictions

By Jimmy Buffett

Harvest Books (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 0156026988)

Publication date: June 2002

Description from the publisher:

Having grown up on Jimmy Buffett’s songs in the ’70s, especially “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” I read with interest his first book Tales from Margaritaville. Not surprisingly, it had the same wonderful style and spirit of his songs—funny, original, free-spirited. It seemed to me that Jimmy Buffett was truly living—and chronicling—the American Dream. But what I found most interesting was a story I heard during one of his first bookstore signings (in Virginia or Georgia, I think). The day of the book-signing, hundreds and hundreds of people showed up and the line snaked around several blocks. But what was truly interesting was the mix of people—teenagers, aging hippies, moms and dads, blue-haired old ladies—all proud to call themselves “Parrotheads.” Buffett’s new book A Pirate Looks at Fifty is currently a bestseller proving that Jimmy Buffett’s appeal is as timeless as he is.

Maureen O'Neal

Faulkner and Postmodernism

Edited by John N. Duvall and Ann J. Abadie

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $45.00, ISBN: 1578064597; Paperback, ISBN: 1578064600)

Publication date: July 2002

Description from the publisher:

With essays by John Barth, Philip Cohen, John N. Duvall, Doreen Fowler, Ihab Hassan, Molly Hite, Martin Kreiswirth, Cheryl Lester, Terrell L. Tebbetts, Joseph R. Urgo, and Philip Weinstein.

Since the 1960s, William Faulkner, Mississippi’s most famous author, has been recognized as a central figure of international modernism. But might Faulkner’s fiction be understood in relation to Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as well as James Joyces Ulysses?

In eleven essays from the 1999 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, held at the University of Mississippi, Faulkner and Postmodernism examines William Faulkner and his fiction in light of postmodern literature, culture, and theory. The volume explores the variety of ways Faulkner’s art can be used to measure similarities and differences between modernism and postmodernism.

Essays in the collection fall into three categories: those that use Faulkner’s novels as a way to mark a period distinction between modernism and postmodernism, those that see postmodern tendencies in Faulkner’s fiction, and those that read Faulkner through the lens of postmodern theory’s contemporary legacy, the field of cultural studies.

In order to make their particular arguments, essays in the collection compare Faulkner to more contemporary novelists such as Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Walker Percy, Richard Ford, Toni Morrison, and Kathy Acker. But not all of the comparisons are to high culture artists, since even Elvis Presley becomes Faulkner’s foil in one of the essays.

A variety of theoretical perspectives frame the work in this volume, from Fredric Jameson’s pessimistic sense of postmodernism’s possibilities to Linda Hutcheon’s conviction that cultural critique can continue in postmodernism through innovative new forms such as metafiction. Despite the different theoretical premises and distinct conclusions of the individual authors of these essays, Faulkner and Postmodernism proves once again that in the key debates surrounding twentieth-century fiction, Faulkner is a crucial figure.

John N. Duvall, an associate professor of English at Purdue University, is the editor of Modern Fiction Studies.

Ann J. Abadie is associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

Tyrus: An American LegendTyrus: An American Legend

By Patrick Creevy

Forge (Hardcover, $25.95.00, ISBN: 0765300141)

Publication date: July 2002


Tyrus Raymond Cobb. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in a nearly unanimous vote. Highest lifetime batting average in baseball. Highest lifetime number of runs scored. Second highest lifetime number of hits. The run of statistics goes on, making it clear that Ty Cobb was baseball’s greatest overall player.

But before Ty Cobb was a legend, he was a young man trying to escape from his famous father’s lengthy shadow. William H. Cobb, former state senator, renowned educator, champion of the Southern cause in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a gentleman and a scholar. Tyrus Raymond Cobb, his oldest son, was to carry on the proud Cobb family traditions, as explained by Ty Cobb: “The honorable and honest Cobb blood … never will be subjected. It bows to no wrong nor to any man …. The Cobbs have their ideals, and God help anyone who strives to bend a Cobb away from such.”

Unfortunately for W.H., Ty’s greatest desire was to play baseball—a trivial game that would bring him into contact with low people. Yet the father could not deny that the son’s passion for his chosen profession burned hot, reflecting the very strength of will that was the hallmark of Cobb men. After much struggle, W.H. blessed his son and encouraged him to continue playing ball.

The reconciliation nearly came too late, for soon after, W. H. Cobb was shot twice at close range—murdered—by his wife of more than twenty years. Ty was nineteen years old. The grief-stricken boy burned with rage as rumors circulated through the small Georgia town—rumors that his mother had been having an affair and that his father had caught her in the act.

With his father newly buried and his mother awaiting trial, Ty Cobb was summoned to Detroit to play for the Tigers. Tyrus is a fictional account of this time in young Cobb’s life—that pivotal half-season when Ty had to prove his value on the field or forever lose any chance of playing professional ball. Subjected to a rookie hazing that would have destroyed a lesser man, Cobb carried his battle with his teammates from the clubhouse onto the field and emerged bloodied but unbowed. The sights and sounds of cut throat baseball are brilliantly evoked—a type of baseball that Cobb said was “about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch.”

This thoroughly researched novel is a deft psychological portrait of a young man at a time of turmoil and transition. Patrick Creevy, whose earlier novel was praised as “intense [and full of] poetic yearning and literary allusion” (Kirkus Reviews), takes a unique literary look at the man dubbed “the Meanest Man in Baseball” as he left boyhood behind and began the baseball journey that made him a legend.

Sleep No MoreSleep No More

By Greg Iles

Putnam (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0399148817)

Publication date: July 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Iles has written some solid, beautifully constructed thrillers (24 Hours; Dead Sleep), so when his latest seems for page after page to have no logical explanation for its central mystery, we hold on, bide our time and wait for the moment of revelation that will make everything fall into place.

Unfortunately, that moment never comes. The puzzle of how a woman who has been dead for 10 years can suddenly appear in the body of another woman turns out not to be a mystery at all. It’s a whole other genre, horror or fantasy or science fiction. Iles fans will certainly enjoy the way he once again brings to piquant life his home turf Natchez and the Mississippi Delta and creates a character with an actual job. John Waters is a petroleum geologist, and the details of his work are carefully rendered. He’s a happily married man of 41 with a bright eight-year-old daughter, although his sex life has all but disappeared in the wake of several disastrous pregnancies. So he’s ready to be pushed over the edge by the sudden appearance of Eve Sumner, a 32-year-old real estate agent who seems to know every intimate detail of Waters’ youthful affair with the late Mallory Candler a mentally fragile beauty queen who was subsequently raped and murdered in New Orleans.

The game gets really serious when Eve is also murdered. Possibilities abound: John’s weak and financially reckless partner might be behind the whole thing, and even Waters’ embittered wife could be a suspect. Readers will probably stick around to see how Iles gets himself off the hook, but it’s hard to imagine many of them coming away completely satisfied. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Description from Booklist:

It takes an exceptional writer to make a story about soul transfer believable. Iles, who has wowed critics with his six previous thrillers, not only makes the incredible seem logical but also engages the reader completely in the hopes and doubts of his protagonist, who finds his life coming apart because of a summons from the dead. Petroleum geologist John Waters of Natchez, Mississippi, has painstakingly reconstructed his life after an affair with a beautiful but possessive woman who tried to kill him and nearly destroyed his spirit. This woman was killed in New Orleans 10 years ago. At a Mardi Gras party, a woman appears who sounds just like Waters’ long-ago love. And she knows everything about their past. Iles is masterful at sustaining psychological suspense, as Waters is drawn into an affair with the woman who claims to be his lost love, again jeopardizing his life. An irresistible page-turner. —Connie Fletcher. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Dead Sleep Dead Sleep

A Novel by Greg Iles

Signet (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0451206525)

Publication date: July 2002


With five novels, Greg Iles has proven himself one of the most talented and versatile thriller writers at work today. Critics hailed 24 Hours as “diabolical” (People), “ingenious” (London Times), “masterfully written” (New Orleans Times-Picayune), and “brilliantly plotted bone-chilling suspense” (Publishers Weekly). In Dead Sleep, Iles gives us his most intricate and emotionally resonant story ever.

Jordan Glass, a photojournalist on a well-earned vacation, wanders into a Hong Kong art museum and is puzzled to find fellow patrons eyeing her with curiosity. Minutes later, she stumbles upon a gallery containing a one-artist exhibition called “The Sleeping Women,” a mysterious series of paintings that has caused a sensation in the world of modern art. Collectors have come to believe that the canvases depict female nudes not in sleep but in death, and they command millions at auction. When Jordan approaches the last work in the series, she freezes. The face in the painting seems to be her own.

This unsettling event hurls her back into a nightmare she has fought desperately to put behind her—for, in fact, the face in the painting belongs not to Jordan but to her twin sister, murdered one year ago. At the urging of the FBI, Jordan becomes both hunter and hunted in a duel with the anonymous artist, a gifted murderer who knows the secret history of Jordan’s family, and truths that even she has never had the courage to face.

The Roadless YaakThe Roadless Yaak: Reflections and Observations About One of Our Last Great Wilderness Areas

Edited by Rick Bass

Lyons Press (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 1585745456)

Publication date: August 2002


This collection of essays—twenty-seven in all—about the Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana brings to life the wilderness and isolation, exhilaration and trepidation that visitors (and residents) encounter here. The half-million-acre Yaak Valley is home to only 150 people but untold numbers of elk, deer, grizzly bears, cougars, and other critters, big and small. An astonishing 175,000 acres remain roadless in this remote area near the Canadian border. Read about a mother who spends Thanksgiving weekend in the Yaak with her children. “…the Yaak is where my children and I together, have fallen headlong into the glory of the unfamiliar, into the last of the planet’s wilderness, the unpredictability of the natural landscape, the authentic hush possible only away from the clamor” (“Traveling Close to Home,” Debra Gwartney).

You will learn about a teacher who is torn between the world beyond the Yaak and the life he has come to know: mountains, thick forests, snow, and bears. And you will learn why we as a people must protect wilderness like this for future generations.

Contributors include Todd Tanner, Bill McKibben, Gregory McNamee, Jeff Ferderer, Amy Edmonds, Scott Daily, John Lane-Zucker, Sue Halpern, Time Lenhan, Debra Gwartney, Bob Shacochis, Doug Peacock, Annick Smith, William Kittredge, Jim Fergus.

Last Scene AliveLast Scene Alive

By Charlaine Harris

Minotaur (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 0312262469)

Publication date: August 2002


In the first installment of the Aurora Teagarden series, Real Murders, the small town of Lawrenceton, Georgia, was beset by a series of horrific murders. Librarian Aurora “Roe” Teagarden teamed up with true crime writer Robin Crusoe to catch the killer, and the results of their investigation have gone down in Lawrenceton history.

Now Robin is back in town, set to begin filming the movie version of the terrible events of so many years ago. Of course he’s not alone—he brings with him a cast and crew the size of which nearly overwhelms the tiny excitement-starved town. Roe is disturbed to discover that the film’s crew includes her stepson, who despises her, as well as an actress set to play her in the film. Everyone in Lawrenceton suddenly goes movie crazy, mentally composing awards-acceptance speeches while prancing around the fringes of the set awaiting discovery.

Roe’s not so crazy about the whole thing … and neither is a secret, vicious murderer. When bodies start dropping, it’s up to Roe to reprise her role as amateur sleuth and stop the carnage before it gets out of hand. It’s no problem for the beloved small-town librarian in this wonderfully cozy installment in the adored Aurora Teagarden mystery series.

Faulkner and the Politics of ReadingFaulkner and the Politics of Reading

By Karl F. Zender

Louisiana State University Press (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0807127612)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from the publisher:

With this study Karl F. Zender offers fresh readings of individual novels, themes, and motifs while also assessing the impact of recent politicized interpretations on our understanding of William Faulkner’s achievement. Sympathetically acknowledging the need to decenter the canon, Zender’s searching interrogation of current theory clears a breathing space for Faulkner and his readers between the fustier remnants of New Criticism and the excesses of post-structuralism.

Each chapter opens with a balanced presentation of the genuine gifts contemporary theory has bestowed on our understandings of a particular novel or problem in Faulkner criticism and then proceeds with a groundbreaking reading. “The Politics of Incest” challenges older psychoanalytic interpretations of Faulkner’s use of the incest motif, and “Faulkner’s Privacy” defends the novelist’s difficulty or “reticence” as an aesthetic resistence against the rude candor of depersonalized culture. Subsequent chapters take up the volatile issues of Faulkner’s representations of women and of African Americans, and the current tendency to blur the concepts of patriarchy and paternity. In the elegiac final chapter, Zender shows that Faulkner’s stylistic withdrawal in his later novels attempts to “transform into beauty” his alienation from the postwar world and his fear of aging.

That Faulkner and the Politics of Reading itself recovers and gives new luster to Faulkner’s beauty will surely please, in the author’s words, “those readers … for whom literature is less a mechanism of social change than a source of pleasure.”

Karl F. Zender is professor of English at the University of California at Davis and the author of The Crossing of the Ways: William Faulkner, the South, and the Modern World.

The Heaven of MercuryThe Heaven of Mercury: A Novel

By Brad Watson

W.W. Norton (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0393047571)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Watson traces a dark but resonant journey through the world of the Southern gothic in his bleak, touching debut novel (after his hailed collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men), set in tiny Mercury, Miss., in the first quarter of the 20th century. He takes some risks in employing genre cliches, starting with the romantic triangle in which young, sensitive Finus Bates watches the girl of his dreams, Birdie Wells, marry a more determined suitor, the shallow but ardent earl Urquhart. That leaves Bates to marry Birdie’s best friend, Avis Crossweatherly, and both marriages fail miserably as Watson tracks his two would-be lovers through the years. At 16, Birdie is a victim of her slick husband’s infidelity, which starts when he finds her sexually inadequate and turns his attention to other women, until he finally falls in love with a woman living in a nearby town.

Bates, meanwhile, realizes that Avis has engineered Birdie’s marriage, leaving Bates vulnerable to her own rapacious pursuit. To escape his shrewish wife, he immerses himself in his work on his smalltown newspaper, where he pens eloquent obituaries (“Disappointments flock to us like crows,” he writes in one). Watson’s subordinate characters—including the compassionate town mortician, whose first experience of death involves necrophilia; former slave, medicine woman and midwife Aunt Vish, who knows all the dark secrets of the community; Creasie, a taciturn maid—are observed with cool irony and invested with humanity.

Several deaths punctuate the narrative, and casual, virulent racism is rampant, sometimes balanced by a grudging interracial respect. Watson’s prose is lush and sometimes a bit too orotund and faux-Faulknerian, but it fits the narrative theme of metamorphoses from one life to another, from earth to a land beyond. —Copyright © 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Back to MississippiBack to Mississippi: A Personal Journey Through the Events that Changed America in 1964

By Mary Winstead

Hyperion (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 0786867965)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Although Winstead was born into “a family of storytellers” and possesses a promising tale, the pedestrian style and rickety structure of this memoir defuse what could have been a riveting and revealing historical account. The story concerns her discovery of her father’s cousin’s involvement in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in rural Mississippi. Amid the ragged juxtaposition of bits of research with unabsorbing details of daily life, Winstead’s periodic sketches of the victims (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner) are often more intrusive than significant. This is also the case with her depiction of cousin Edgar Ray “Preacher” Killen, who coordinated the killings and was released in 1967 by a deadlocked state jury. (According to Winstead, his case will be tried again soon, and Mississippi’s attorney general has named him as the state’s main suspect. He did not talk to Winstead for this book.) Winstead’s colorless retelling of growing up in Minneapolis during the 1950s and ’60s, with occasional trips to visit her father’s Mississippi family, suggests comparison with Diane McWhorter’s Carry Me Home (2001). Alas, writing one’s life does not always mean examining it. Winstead’s acceptance of the notion that “most people in Philadelphia [Miss.] believed that the whole thing was a hoax” calls for greater scrutiny of her source, the Meridian [Miss.] Star. Andrew Goodman’s mother tells Winstead the event was a very important time in the nation’s history, and that for a long time not much was said about it at all. Winstead adds little to that record. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Forty Acres and a GoatForty Acres and a Goat: A Memoir

By Will D. Campbell

Jefferson Press (Paperback, $15.95, ISBN: 0971897409)

First published in 1986

Publication date: August 2002


Describing himself as a “steeple dropout” and a “bootleg preacher” who also works as a “freelance civil rights activist,” Will D. Campbell has earned a notable place among America’s favorite storytellers. Detailing his harrowing exploits during the racially charged 1960s as a liberal white man of God, this memoir brilliantly describes Campbell’s attempt to live a spiritual life in a time of mistrust, racial intolerance, and violence. Despite such a dire backdrop, Campbell serves as a guide through the events with his patented humor and poignancy. In one instance he notes that black Muslims protected the grand dragon of the KKK in an upstate New York prison, demonstrating the contradictions and strange circumstances that bring people together.

Visible SpiritsVisible Spirits: A Novel

By Steve Yarbrough

Vintage Books (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0375725776)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The South depicted in Steve Yarbrough’s haunting new novel irresistibly calls to mind Yeats’s famous lines, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst / are full of passionate intensity.” The best and worst, in this case, are brothers who, despite their common upbringing, are diametrically opposed on issues of race. Tandy Payne, who returns to Loring, Miss., in the early 20th century after squandering his inheritance on gambling, whores and liquor, has absorbed all the hypocrisy and racism of the old South. Loring’s mayor, Tandy’s brother, Leighton, stands 6'5", harbors liberal opinions and is handicapped by a perpetual awkwardness. He runs Loring’s newspaper and uses it as a platform for moderation.

Yarbrough divides his story between the Payne siblings and Seaborn and Loda Jackson, who are black. Loda is the town’s postmistress, the only African-American in the state with a government appointment. Tandy covets her job, and he decides to steal it by starting a race-baiting campaign, claiming Loda encouraged a black laborer to behave insolently. To prevent conflict, Loda resigns, but Theodore Roosevelt’s administration decides to make a civil rights stand by not accepting her resignation. In the escalating dispute, Leighton becomes a pariah for siding with Loda.

Connecting Loda, Tandy and Leighton is their common father, Sam, a plantation owner who massacred a group of black men and women who tried to escape the Delta in the 1880s. Based on a real 1902 incident, Yarborough’s sad, elegantly wrought story proceeds like a mesmerizing lesson in the skewed logic of violence, and it builds to a powerful ending, a tragic testament to the dark heritage haunting the South. Yarbrough, who earned critical kudos with The Oxygen Man, has again written a novel that resonates with understanding and compassion.

While his subject matter is somber, Yarbrough’s restrained narrative pulls the reader into its time and place with beautifully calibrated suspense. Critical recognition that he’s a writer to watch should bring attention to this novel. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Holt CollierHolt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and the Origin of the Teddy Bear

By Minor Ferris Buchanan

Centennial Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $30.00, ISBN: 1893062376)

Publication date: August 2002


November 14, 2002, marks the 100th anniversary of the world famous Teddy Bear. The origin of the Teddy Bear stems from an occasion when President Theodore Roosevelt visited the wilderness of Mississippi in hopes of killing a black bear. He was guided on this hunt by Holt Collier, a former slave, Confederate veteran (yes—amazing though it sounds), Texas cowboy, Mississippi lawman, and noted pioneer. He is known to have killed over 3,000 bear in his lifetime, more than Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett combined. Roosevelt, who also hunted with Collier in Louisiana in 1907, called him “the greatest hunter and guide I have ever known.”

Collier killed many white men, several in Mississippi. One exciting incident in his biography is a detailed description of the gunfight at Washburn’s Ferry where Collier out-drew the notorious Louisiana outlaw Travis Elmore Sage. He was prosecuted only once—for the murder of a Union captain after the Civil War—but he was acquitted. Collier was famous nationally during his lifetime, but the racial atmosphere in Mississippi for the last eighty years kept his remarkable story from being told. There is no detailed and authoritative work on Holt Collier or the origin of the Teddy Bear other than this book.

Minor Ferris Buchanan is a native Mississippian. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1973 with a degree in History and English, graduated from Mississippi College School of Law in 1978, and has been a litigation attorney for twenty-three years. He has researched the life of Holt Collier for a decade over archival collections through much of the country.

On the RecordOn the Record

By Joe Lee

Dogwood Press (Hardcover, $19.95, ISBN: 0972161104)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from the publisher:

Maureen Lewis is a powerful force in Mississippi State government. Already the Consumer Protection Director for the Attorney General’s Office at age 34, her Consumer Protection Act is signed into law and gives her department real firepower in fighting con artists and fraudulent business practices around the state. What Maureen doesn’t know is that Attorney General Frank Cash and several other influential people are embezzling from the office and prepared to frame her if the scheme goes awry. One runs a car dealership which is scamming thousands of dollars from customers in its service department. The car dealer—who is in on the scheme—is Maureen’s first target after the bill becomes law.

Angry when she is pulled off the case and suspicious when she is forced to transfer to a position she doesn’t want, Maureen and a fellow employee stage a risky break-in and retrieve crucial e-mail correspondence from the computer of the woman chosen to replace her. She not only uncovers evidence of the scam, but clues that point toward a web of corruption originating from the office. She resigns and makes her concerns public through the media, which results in a series of anonymous e-mails sent to her home. Now convinced that her safety as well as her reputation is in danger, Maureen enlists the aid of two friends and conducts her own investigation—with terrifying results.


By Greg Iles

First published in 2000 under the title 24 Hours

Signet (Paperback, $25.95, ISBN: 0451207505)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from Kirkus Reviews:

A tepid thriller from bestselling Iles (The Quiet Game, 1999, etc.) in which an upscale family falls victim to a not-so-typical kidnapping masterminded by a psychopath with more than money on his mind. Dr. Will Jennings is on his way from Mississippi to a medical meeting in New Orleans, leaving behind his loving, if somewhat resentful, wife Karen, who quit medical school when she became pregnant, and their precious, precocious five-year-old daughter, Abby. Life is a mixed bag for the doctor. He’s flying his own plane to the convention where he’s presenting a breakthrough anesthesia drug that could make him a very wealthy man. But he suffers from debilitating arthritis, and Abby is a juvenile diabetic who requires insulin injections. The whole house of cards comes tumbling down when the child is snatched by kidnapper extraordinaire Joe Hickey, assisted by his abused spouse, a former drug-addicted lap dancer, and his devoted, mentally challenged, 300-pound cousin Huey. The devious trio’s carefully orchestrated plan, which they’ve refined over five previous capers, divides the story into three scenarios, each redneck villain paired with a member of the genteel Jennings family. Hickey’s motto, “The kid always makes it,” is endangered by Abby’s insulin needs, the Type-A personalities of the Jennings clan, and the search for revenge. Should Will call in the authorities? Should he and Karen submit to the kidnappers’ bizarre personal demands? How far will they go to save their daughter and still keep their self-respect? And by the way, have they missed the truly important things in life? The clever plot generates some heat, but veteran Iles’s clunky prose (“Hickey’s words cut to the bone, but something more terrible struck Will like a hammer”), hackneyed psychological “insights,” and tedious medical details send this thriller into a tailspin. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate selection. —Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Stories from the Blue Moon CafeStories from the Blue Moon Cafe

Edited by Sonny Brewer

MacAdam/Cage Publishing (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1931561095)

Publication date: August 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Of the 30 short stories featured in this quixotic and eclectic collection, the most notable are perhaps the refreshing, well-chosen selections by lesser-known voices of the New South. Still, an impressive lineup of brand-name authors including Rick Bragg, Pat Conroy, William Gay, W.E.B. Griffin, Winston Groom, Melinda Haynes, Silas House, Brad Watson and Steve Yarbrough round out the mix. The common bond and creative wellspring of the collection is the annual gathering of authors called Southern Writers Reading, held the weekend before Thanksgiving in the artsy town of Fairhope, Ala. Local bookstore (Over the Transom) owner Sonny Brewer is the originator and driving force behind the loosely organized writers conference, and editor of the anthology. The addition of local luminaries W.E.B. Griffin and Winston Groom, and the inclusion of other locals C. Terry Cline Jr. and Judith Richards, was a natural extension of the idea. As the project took shape, like a snowball rolling downhill, it picked up other deserving writers in its path.

If the stories (mostly previously unpublished) have anything in common, it is their brevity. But in the space of a few pages each, they range widely in setting and subject matter: from Griffin’s “Going Back to the Bridge in Berlin,” about an ex-serviceman’s return to his post-WWII posting, to Richard Shackelford’s “From Tucson to Tucumari, from Hatchabee to Tonopah,” about an old trucker’s death. The true accomplishment of this freespirited venture is the discovery of such gifted voices as Jennifer Paddock and local bookstore clerk Jim Gilbert. This collection may well become a yearly objet d’art. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Grits 'n Greens and Mississippi ThingsGrits ’n Greens and Mississippi Things

By Sylvia Higginbotham

Parlance (Paperback, $19.95, ISBN: 0972103201)

Publication date: August 2002


Not a cookbook, nor a history book, nor a travel book, Grits ’n Greens is a combination of all these. The book takes readers on a regional tour of Mississippi and features the people, places, legends, lore and favorite foods that are uniquely Mississippi.

Absalom, Absalom!

A Novel by William Faulkner

First published 1936

Random House (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 0375508724)

Publication date: September 2002

Brief Review:

One of Faulkner’s greatest novels, Absalom, Absalom! recounts the story of Thomas Sutpen, born into a poor farm family in western Virginia in the early 1800s who runs away with plans to create a vast “design” of wealth and power. When he appears in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi (Faulkner’s apocryphal setting for most of his novels), he carves out of the wilderness a vast plantation, marries a local shopkeeper’s daughter, and settles into the life of a planter when his wife bears him two children, Henry and Judith. But when Henry brings home Charles Bon, a classmate from the University of Mississippi, who becomes romantically engaged with Judith, Sutpen’s design begins to unravel. On the eve of the Civil War, Henry spurns his birthright, and together he and Bon leave. It is only after the war, after Henry and Bon have served together in the same regiment throughout the war, that one of the central mysteries of the novel emerges: why did Henry shoot Charles Bon at the gate of Sutpen’s mansion?

The present-day of the novel is 1909-10 and is told primarily by contemporaries, including Rosa Coldfield, the fiercely proud sister of Sutpen’s wife, a spinster who after her sister’s death spurns Sutpen’s rude sexual advances; Jason Compson, a confirmed cynic and nihilist who did not witness the key events befalling the Sutpen family but heard most of them from his father; Quentin Compson, Jason’s son, a romantic young man who is drawn into the Sutpen saga against his will by Rosa Coldfield, but once he is involved he must follow it to its logical end; and Quentin’s roommate at Harvard, the Canadian Shreve McCannon, who along with Quentin feels compelled to complete the saga by any means necessary. These memorable characters not only recount historically factual information about Sutpen’s story; they also freely add to it and change it in order for it to make sense. The novel, then, which is a compelling exploration of Southern history, race, and gender, is likewise a powerful statement about how we interpret the past and impart meaning to it. John B. Padgett

In the Deep Heart’s Core

By Michael Johnston

Grove Press (Hardcover, $22.00, ISBN: 080211721X)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Fresh from a postcollege, intensive five-week crash course, Johnston began his two-year stint with Teach for America, a program that addresses the needs of some of America’s most desperate classrooms. In Johnston’s case, it’s a high school classroom in Greenville, Miss., with “chalkboards so scratched, rusted, and embedded with chalk dust that I couldn’t read the boards even if I wrote on them with fresh white paint.” There he teaches students who have been through “more funerals than honor roll assemblies” due to drugs and gang violence. The school system’s countless institutional failures (among them, a counselor who sells high school credits) challenge Johnston’s assurance that education was the “one valuable skill I could bring to Mississippi that she could use.” The students’ truancy, sexual promiscuity and aggression sorely test Johnston’s conviction that “underneath, they were vulnerable … still children.” Successes are minuscule and failure is rampant.

What makes Johnston’s account noteworthy is his ability to move beyond making generalizations about impoverished schools and students. Rather, he takes readers into the constricted and often doomed lives of individuals: Corelle catches up on months of work with a six-hour marathon, but drops out of school; “confident, gracious, and charismatic” Egina becomes the accidental victim of cross fire. Although Johnston occasionally catches sight of a “few students who were trying to work effectively,” they occupy the periphery. “In making the Delta my home,” he observes, “I found inside her a despair beyond any I could have imagined.” That compassion, leavened with good sense, makes this honest and often painful account a moving, memorable call for action. —Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The Spirit of Retirement: Creating a Life of Meaning and Personal Growth

By James A. Autry

Prima Publisher (Hardcover, $22.95, ISBN: 0761563539)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

For some people, the word “retirement” evokes images of farewell parties, vacations, golf games and, at long last, real progress on oft-postponed household projects. But according to Autry (Love and Profit), who once served as the president of a large corporation and is now a public speaker and consultant, the initial euphoria soon wears off, leaving the retiree with a hard realization: “For the first time in my life I don’t have a job.” In this compact, inspiring book, Autry insists that retirement is actually an opportunity for people to “stop doing and concentrate on being.” To that end, he shares stories about retirees who made successful transitions to retirement and juxtaposes these anecdotes with questions and exercises for readers. Retirement is a time for changing one’s approach to life, reinvigorating friendships, serving the community, finding nature and expressing one’s inner creativity, explains the author, and his book—alternately pragmatic and spiritual—should serve disillusioned retirees well. —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

On Writing

By Eudora Welty

Modern Library (Hardcover, $14.95, ISBN: 0679642706)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Welty (The Optimist’s Daughter; The Golden Apples; One Writer’s Beginnings), who died last year, was a master of the short story, of small town eccentricities, of dialogue and place and the messiness of human relationships—she was a writer’s writer. Now, seven of her essays about the craft of fiction, taken from 1978’s The Eye of the Story, are repackaged together in a little book that marks a welcome break from the myriad how-to-write-a-novel-in-six-weeks guides and good-natured but often ineffectual volumes of creative encouragement. In elegant and insightful investigations, Welty considers Hemingway’s moralizing, Virginia Woolf’s intellectual use of the senses, the “lowlier angel” of setting, the problem of polemical, crusading fiction and the novel as “an illusion come full circle” that “seems to include a good deal of the whole world.” There is some advice to be had—narrative pleasure can arise from authorial obstruction, for example—but by and large this is a book of fond analysis, addressed to the serious reader and dedicated writer. —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Touring Literary Mississippi

By Patti Carr Black and Marion Barnwell

University Press of Mississippi (Paperback, $20.00, ISBN: 157806368X)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from the publisher:

A guide to the adventures waiting in one of the richest literary states in America.

By taking the literary traveler on seven preplanned tours—through the Delta, along Highway 61, to the heart of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha country, to sites near Interstate 55 and the Natchez Trace, to the piney woods of East and South Mississippi, and along the sun-struck Gulf Coast—this book captures the phenomenal abundance and diversity of Mississippi literature.

More than a guidebook, this book includes capsule biographies and well over a hundred photographs of writers, their residences, and their literary environments. It also provides maps and gives explicit directions to writers’ homes and other literary sites.

The sheer number of writers discovered, recovered, and claimed by Mississippi will astonish travelers both from within and from without the state. Included are not only such major figures in the pantheon of American literature as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright but also the less well-known.

Every nook and cranny of the state claims a piece of Mississippi’s literary heritage. Literature pervades Yazoo City, Jackson, Greenville, Oxford, Natchez, the Gulf Coast, and the Delta Blues country. Willie Morris, Richard Ford, and Beverly Lowry have declared that a famous writer’s presence in their hometowns convinced them that they too could be writers.

As the locations bring to life the connection of ordinary rituals with the stuff of fiction, poetry, and memoir, these hands-on tours make evident the special cross-pollination of writer and community in Mississippi.

Patti Carr Black is the author of Art in Mississippi, 1720­1980 and The Southern Writers Quiz Book (both published by the University Press of Mississippi). Marion Barnwell, a fiction writer and an assistant professor of English at Delta State University, compiled and edited A Place Called Mississippi (published by the University Press of Mississippi).

I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy: And Other Stories

By Ellen Gilchrist

Little, Brown & Company (Hardcover, $25.95, ISBN: 0316173584)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from Booklist:

Gilchrist’s most captivating recurring character, the classy and indomitable Rhoda Manning, starred in many of the best offerings in Gilchrist’s altogether splendid Collected Stories (2000). Now more fascinating than ever at age 65, Rhoda rules this potent new collection, too, as she reflects on her contentious past, especially her complicated relationships with her tough and commanding father and her three headstrong sons. Her macho and assiduous father amassed a fortune selling tractors, abruptly left the “decadent” South for the clean and godly mountains of Wyoming, then schemed to lure his clan to his new world. Rhoda finally recognizes how much she resembles her impossible but righteous father, how much she misses him, and how much they both suffered over their failure to keep her wily sons away from drugs and other risky escapades. With Rhoda as her foil, Gilchrist writes with startling clarity about the narcotized 1970s, the wildness of teenagers, and the helplessness of parents.

Another of her intriguing regulars, Nora Jane, headlines in a superbly suspenseful tale that is set in earthquake-rocked San Francisco and features a band of Islamic terrorists. A virtuoso in the art of understatement with a profound sense of place and a flair for sly dialogue, Gilchrist choreographs unnerving scenarios with a devilish offhandedness.

Acutely observant, wry, and wise, Gilchrist loves to write about characters who have it all—beauty, wealth, and strong family ties—and therefore stand to lose so very much. “Nothing human is easy,” says a woman in one spring-loaded tale, and that says it all.

—Donna Seaman. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Little Cliff and the Cold Place

By Clifton L. Taulbert, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

Dial Books for Young Readers (Hardcover, $16.99, ISBN: 0803725582)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from School Library Journal:

(Kindergarten-Grade 2) Little Cliff loves to look at maps and hear about places far away from his small, rural Mississippi town. His imagination is especially captured by his teacher’s description of the Arctic. He begs his great-grandfather to take him there so that he can see the snow houses, the children riding on sleds pulled by dogs, and people fishing in the ice. Poppa Joe explains that the few inches on a map can represent a great distance, shows him a book about the Arctic, and takes him to visit Mr. Jacob, who shows him photographs of his long-ago trip to Alaska. The next day, Poppa takes him to the one cold place in town-an icehouse. He puts several live fish in a bucket and gives Little Cliff a string and hook. “Now you can fish, jest like them boys in Alaska,” he says. “And you’ll be able to tell yore teacher that yore Poppa took you to the cold place after all.” The warm intergenerational relationships and the encouragement of intellectual curiosity and imagination are engaging. The ending is humorously satisfying with Poppa’s clever solution to the boy’s desire to go ice fishing. Lewis’s fresh watercolor illustrations are especially effective in evoking the loving relationship between the dignified African-American Poppa Joe and his great grandson. This sequel to the earlier “Little Cliff” titles stands well on its own. —Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The Selected Letters of Tennesee Williams, Volume 1: 1920-1945

By Tennessee Williams, edited by Albert J. Devlin and Nancy M. Tischler

New Directions (Paperback, $21.95, ISBN: 081121527X)

Publication date: September 2002

Description from Booklist:

It is fascinating to watch a major artist emerge—the first flashes of talent, the false steps, the distractions of friends, lovers, and family. It is doubly fascinating when the artist is someone as seductive and determined to capture attention as Tennessee Williams. This volume of his letters begins with a note, riddled with spelling errors, from the eight-year-old Williams at his grandfather’s house to his mother and ends with a flurry of excited letters dating from the weeks following his first Broadway success, The Glass Menagerie. In between, we see Williams in several phases: distracted student; defensive college dropout; money-begging pathetic case; outraged, rejected writer; high-potential low achiever drifting through New Orleans, New Mexico, and New York. At times, especially during the period when he attended, in succession, the University of Missouri, Washington University, and the University of Iowa without ever quite finding his calling, it seems miraculous that he ever did pull it together. Each letter in this addictively readable collection is accompanied by some biographical text that places it in context in Williams’ life and explains the obscurer and more personal allusions he makes. —Jack Helbig. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

The Return of GabrielThe Return of Gabriel

By John Armistead

Milkweed Editions (Paperback, $6.95, ISBN: 1571316388)

Publication date: October 2002


In the summer of 1964, freedom workers come to a small Mississippi town to register blacks to vote. The quiet pace of the summer changes dramatically for Cooper and his friends Jubal, who is black, and Squirrel, who is Jewish. The only white member of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Cooper must decide how to react when his father makes him attend Ku Klux Klan meetings. His uncle Chicago helps guide him through the turbulent times. As the summer progresses, the pastor at the church learns of the Klan’s plans in advance. He says the news comes from the Angel Gabriel. When Cooper discovers Gabriel’s identity, he must decide what role he will play, and on which side.

No Second Eden: PoemsNo Second Eden: Poems

By Turner Cassity

Swallow Press (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0804010501)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Booklist:

Poetry isn’t much thought of as a participatory art form, but it is, as critical discussion of voice and tone, which the reader must conjure up, implicates. Form may also ask for participation. Tight metrical and rhyme schemes can require poets to pare language to the bone, and readers to determine the precise meanings of words and syntactical tactics. In poem after poem, Cassity disciplines himself to form, and those who would read him with real comprehension may find immediate rereading necessary—and ever so rewarding. For Cassity regards everything with a cool, dissecting eye, and he exercises verbal and rational cleverness. He brooks no pretension and no romanticizing, even in himself. He well knows what would have happened to Rimbaud had he settled down (see “Boxcar Arthur, the Sequel”). He cuts the crap out of a shopworn parable (see “In the Receiving Line”), out of revolutionary cant (see “Karl and Julius and Gregory; or, Are You a Fructidor?”), and, breathtakingly, out of pseudopatriotic piety (see “WTC”). He is a national treasure. —Ray Olson. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Red Dragon: The Shooting Scripts

By Ted Tally, Thomas Harris

Newmarket Press (Paperback, $18.95, ISBN: 1557045585)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Booklist:

Based on Thomas Harris’ 1981 best-selling novel, a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1988) and Hannibal (1999), in which serial killer Hannibal Lector is first introduced.

Oscar®-nominee Edward Norton stars as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in the process of capturing the elusive Dr. Lector, played again by Academy Award®-winner Anthony Hopkins. Years later, after a series of particularly grisly murders, Graham reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement and assist in the case. But he soon realizes that the best way to catch this killer, known as the Tooth Fairy, is to find a way to get inside the killer’s mind. And the closest thing to that would be to probe the mind of another killer who is equally brilliant and equally twisted. For Graham, that means confronting his past and facing his former nemesis, the now-incarcerated Lector. Oscar®-nominee Ralph Fiennes plays Francis Dolarhyde.

The Newmarket Shooting Script includes the complete screenplay by Ted Tally, an introduction by Tally, 20 b/w film stills, and the film’s complete credits.

La Salle: A Perilous Odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of MexicoLa Salle: A Perilous Odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico

By Donald Johnson

Cooper Square Press (Hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 0815412401)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle (1643-1687) was the first man to navigate—with extreme difficulty—the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes region to the Gulf of Mexico, thereby establishing France’s claim on a swath of the North American continent equal to half the size of Europe, which La Salle named Louisiana. Johnson’s new biography of the dauntless explorer provides a detailed panorama of the European nations’ efforts to control North America, and the results these endeavors had on the future of the continent. Johnson also makes use of new information regarding La Salle’s final expedition, in which he was killed by his own men after a failed attempt to reach the mouth of the Mississippi from the Caribbean. How this veteran explorer ended up hundreds of miles off course, for centuries a mystery among historians, is explained here in convincing detail.

Donald Johnson, author of Charting the Sea of Darkness: The Four Voyages of Henry Hudson and Phantom Islands of the Atlantic, lives in Perry, Maine, near Bangor.

William Faulkner: Six Decades of Criticism

Edited by Linda Wagner-Martin

Michigan State University Press (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0870136127)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Few twentieth-century writers are as revered as William Faulkner. This collection brings together the best literary criticism on Faulkner from the last six decades, detailing the imaginative and passionate responses to his still-controversial novels. By focusing on the criticism rather than the works, Linda Wagner-Martin shows the primary directions in Faulkner’s influence on critics, writers, and students of American literature today. This invaluable volume reveals the patterns of change in literary criticism over time, while exploring the various critical streams—language theory, feminism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis—that have elevated Faulkner’s work to the highest rank of the American literary pantheon.

Linda Wagner-Martin is Hanes Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Recent books include A Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway, “Favored Strangers”: Gertrude Stein and Her Family, Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life, and a cultural edition of Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives.

In the Land of Dreamy DreamsIn the Land of Dreamy Dreams

By Ellen Gilchrist

Voices of the South Series

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $26.95, ISBN: 0807128295)

First published in 1981

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams is Ellen Gilchrist’s fabled first collection of stories, the book that won her acclaim in 1981 and to which each of her subsequent works has been compared. Peopled largely with young southern females who chafe against the restrictions of their upper-class lives, these stories convey the humor and tragedy to be found wherever retreat into imagination is preferred over reality. Introduced here are Nora Jane Whittington, Rhoda Manning, and other recurring Gilchrist characters beloved for their failures, tenacity, and all-too-human hope in the face of frustrated love.

Raising Positive Kids in a Negative WorldRaising Positive Kids in a Negative World

By Zig Ziglar

Thomas Nelson (Paperback, $14.99, ISBN: 0785264787)

First published in 1985

Publication date: October 2002


A child is not a computer that can be programmed to perform according to our desires. Each child is a unique human being with the free will to choose their path in life. With this in mind, Zig Ziglar shows parents how they can help their kids build a foundation of character from which to make the right choices in life. By modeling attitudes and actions that bring about positive results, parents can help their kids understand that life can be positive and that they have incredible worth in God’s eyes. Drawing from his “I CAN” course which has been taught to over three million participants in over 5000 schools, Ziglar provides sensible guidelines to help parents handle a variety of issues including drugs, discipline, encouragement, television, and dating and sex.

The Little FriendThe Little Friend

By Donna Tartt

Knopf (Hardcover, $26.00, ISBN: 0679439382)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Widely anticipated over the decade since her debut in The Secret History, Tartt’s second novel confirms her talent as a superb storyteller, sophisticated observer of human nature and keen appraiser of ethics and morality. If the theme of The Secret History was intellectual arrogance, here it is dangerous innocence. The death of nine-year-old Robin Cleve Dufresnes, found hanging from a tree in his own backyard in Alexandria, Miss., has never been solved. The crime destroyed his family: it turned his mother into a lethargic recluse; his father left town; and the surviving siblings, Allison and Harriet, are now, 12 years later—it is the early ’70s—largely being raised by their black maid and a matriarchy of female relatives headed by their domineering grandmother and her three sisters.

Although every character is sharply etched, 12-year-old Harriet-smart, stubborn, willful-is as vivid as a torchlight. Like many preadolescents, she’s fascinated by secrets. She vows to solve the mystery of her brother’s death and unmask the killer, whom she decides, without a shred of evidence, is Danny Ratliff, a member of a degenerate, redneck family of hardened criminals. (The Ratliff brothers are good to their grandmother, however; their solicitude at times lends the novel the antic atmosphere of a Booth cartoon.) Harriet’s pursuit of Danny, at first comic, gathers fateful impetus as she and her best friend, Hely, stalk the Ratliffs, and eventually, as the plot attains the suspense level of a thriller, leads her into mortal danger. Harriet learns about betrayal, guilt and loss, and crosses the threshold into an irrevocable knowledge of true evil.

If Tartt wandered into melodrama in The Secret History, this time she’s achieved perfect control over her material, melding suspense, character study and social background. Her knowledge of Southern ethos—the importance of family, of heritage, of race and class—is central to the plot, as is her take on Southerners’ ability to construct a repertoire, veering toward mythology, of tales of the past. The double standard of justice in a racially segregated community is subtly reinforced, and while Tartt’s portrait of the maid, Ida Rhew, evokes a stereotype, Tartt adds the dimension of bitter pride to Ida’s character.

In her first novel, Tartt unveiled a formidable intelligence. The Little Friend flowers with emotional insight, a gift for comedy and a sure sense of pacing. Wisely, this novel eschews a feel-good resolution. What it does provide is an immensely satisfying reading experience. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Description from Booklist:

Tartt’s second novel (following The Secret History, 1992) is well worth the long wait. It is an exceptionally suspenseful, flawlessly written story fairly teeming with outsize characters and roiling emotion, and at its center, in the eye of the storm, is a ruthlessly clever, poker-faced 12-year-old named Harriet. When she was just a baby, her nine-year-old brother, Robin, was murdered. In the years since, her mother has been entirely defeated by her grief, often lying in bed with a headache, while her father has been absent, working in another town. Harriet’s stern grandmother and dithering aunts have idealized and exalted Robin, leaving Harriet and her sister feeling wholly inadequate.

After suffering an immense loss—the firing of her “beloved, grumbling, irreplaceable” black maid and surrogate mother—Harriet decides to get revenge on Danny Ratliff, the man she believes murdered her brother. She thinks she can resurrect the happy family she knows only from photographs. With muscular, visceral descriptive prose and a relentless narrative drive—the climax is almost unbearably tense—Tartt details how a young girl exacts street justice with cold cunning. And the abusive Ratliffs are a stunning creation; hopped up on methamphetamine and twisted dynamics, they are a modern-day version of Faulkner’s Snopes family. Tartt’s first novel was a surprise runaway best-seller; this time around, no one should be taken by surprise. —Joanne Wilkinson. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Tell Me: 30 StoriesTell Me: 30 Stories

By Mary Robison

Counterpoint Press (Paperback, $14.00, ISBN: 1582432589)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly :

Thirty brief, sharply delineated short stories written over three decades by Robison (Days) chronicle emotional dislocation with witty dispassion. Robison’s characters, usually members of middle-class families, are often pictured grappling with the redefinition of roles, such as the teenaged star-gazing narrator of “An Amateur’s Guide to the Night” and her pill-popping single mother who pass for sisters and go on double-dates together. Or the newly idle Helen of “Independence Day,” recently returned to her father’s grand lakeside house in Ohio, who halfheartedly resists the pressure of her estranged husband, Terry, to get on with her life. Epiphanies are of less interest to Robison than rendering the shimmering immediacy of situation: “I could be getting married soon. The fellow is no Adonis,” establishes straightaway the art teacher of “In Jewel,” whose engagement means a way out of the dead-end eponymous miner town she’s always lived in. Robison locates her fairly comfortable characters anywhere from Beverly Hills (“Smoke”) to Ophelia, Ohio (“While Home”), to Washington, D.C. (“Smart”); they are waiting for rides in the rain or for babies to be born or for life, simply, to go on. And in every story her characters make valiant, hit-or-miss attempts to connect with one another. The brevity of these tales sometimes leaves the reader hanging, especially since their author delights in oblique details and non sequiturs. Yet nothing is superfluous, and in the spare sadness of Robison’s prose entire lives are presented. As the fiancée of “In Jewel” concludes, “All that I’ve ever owned or had is right out here for you to examine.” Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Shifting InterludesShifting Interludes: Selected Essays

By Willie Morris , edited by Jack Bales

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $28.00, ISBN: 1578064783)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Covering the span of his forty-year career, a collection of eloquent essays by one of the South’s favorite writers.

In the course of his career Willie Morris (1934­1999) attained national prominence as a journalist, editor, nonfiction writer, novelist, memoirist, and news commentator. As this eloquent book reveals, he was also a master essayist whose gift was in crafting short compositions.

Shifting Interludes, an anthology that spans his career of forty years, includes pieces he wrote for the Daily Texan, Texas Observer, the Washington Star, Vanity Fair, Southern Living, and other publications. These diverse works reflect the scope of Morris’s wide-ranging interests. The collection comprises biographical profiles, newspaper editorials and columns, political analyses, travel narratives, sports commentaries, book reviews, and his thoughts—both critical and affectionate—about his beloved home state of Mississippi.

Two essays are previously unpublished—“A Long-ago Rendezvous with Alger Hiss” and “The Day I Followed the Mayor around Town.” One essay, “Mississippi Rebel on a Texas Campus,” is the first article he wrote for a national publication.

Morris’s subjects reflect his autobiography, his poignant feelings, and his courtly manners. He expresses his outrage as he decries Southern racism in “Despair in Mississippi,” his melancholy as he recounts a visit to his hometown Yazoo City in “The Rain Fell Noiselessly,” his grace as he salutes a college football team and its fallen comrade in “In the Spirit of the Game,” his humor as he admits to a bout of middle-age infatuation in “Mitch and the Infield Fly Rule,” and his pensiveness as he remembers his much-loved grandmother Mamie in “Weep No More, My Lady.”

Willie Morris is one of Mississippi’s most acclaimed writers and a former editor of Harper’s. University Press of Mississippi reissued two of his works, North Toward Home and The Courting of Marcus Dupree, and most recently published My Mississippi, on which he collaborated with his son, the photographer David Rae Morris. Jack Bales, the reference and humanities librarian at Mary Washington College and a friend of Morris’s, compiled and edited Conversations with Willie Morris (also published by the University Press of Mississippi).

One Writer's ImaginationOne Writer’s Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty

By Suzanne Marrs

Louisiana State University Press (Hardcover, $59.95, ISBN: 0807128015; Paperback, $24.95, ISBN: 0807128414)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In One Writer’s Imagination, Suzanne Marrs draws upon nearly twenty years of conversations, interviews, and friendship with Eudora Welty to discuss the intersections between biography and art in the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work. Through an engaging chronological and comprehensive reading of the Welty canon, Marrs describes the ways Welty’s creative process transformed and transfigured fact to serve the purposes of fiction. She points to the sparks that lit Welty’s imagination—an imagination that thrived on polarities in her personal life and in society at large.

Marrs offers new evidence of the role Welty’s mother, circle of friends, and community played in her development as a writer and analyzes the manner in which her most heartfelt relationships—including her romance with John Robinson—inform her work. She charts the profound and often subtle ways Welty’s fiction responded to the crucial historical episodes of her time—notably the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement—and the writer’s personal reactions to war, racism, poverty, and the political issues of her day. In doing so, Marrs proves Welty to be a much more political artist than has been conventionally thought.

Scrutinizing drafts of Welty’s work, Marrs reveals an evolving pattern of revision increasingly significant to the author’s thematic concerns and precision of style. Welty’s achievement, Marrs explains, confirms theories of creativity even as it transcends them, remaining in its origins somewhat mysterious.

Marrs’s relationship to Eudora Welty as a friend, scholar, and archivist—with access to private papers and restricted correspondence—makes her a unique authority on Welty’s forty-year career. The eclectic approach of her study speaks to the exhilarating power of imagination Welty so thoroughly enjoyed in the act of writing.

Suzanne Marrs is a professor of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and has served as Welty Scholar at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. A recipient of the Phoenix Award for Distinguished Welty Scholarship, she is the author of The Welty Collection: A Guide to the Eudora Welty Manuscripts and Documents at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and coeditor of Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade?

Homesick: A MemoirHomesick: A Memoir

By Sela Ward

Regan Books (Hardcover, $24.95 ISBN: 0060394366)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

This earnest memoir by Ward, the 46-year-old star of the 1990s sitcom hits Sisters and Once & Again and spokesperson for Sprint long distance, juxtaposes a jet-setting Hollywood image with a smalltown Mississippi past. More sugared up than a glass of Southern iced tea, the book will surely build Ward’s reputation with her TV fan base, as it doesn’t delve deep into Ward’s psyche or tell all about the biz. It’s targeted at the women Ward grew up with in Meridian, Miss., the same women she wants to reunite with now that she’s returned there to begin settling down, loaded with cash, a Los Angeles venture capitalist husband and their two children. The fascinating trajectory of Ward’s ideal American woman’s life she went from cheerleader and homecoming queen at the University of Alabama to fashion model and fixture of New York nightlife should intrigue readers who can relate to culture shock. There’s also a smattering of intelligently researched treatises on civil rights and on the contemporary crumbling of social bonds. A portion of the book’s proceeds will go to a foundation for abused and neglected children that Ward founded last year in Meridian. Her overly saccharine tendencies notwithstanding, Ward gives readers a cute story of a smalltown girl’s rise to celebrity. Photos. —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Shadows of God The Shadows of God

By J. Gregory Keyes

The Age of Unreason, Book 4

Del Rey (Paperback, $6.99, ISBN: 0345455835)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

In the fourth and final volume in his Age of Unreason series (Newton’s Cannon, etc.), Keyes brings his multi-threaded yarn to a thrilling conclusion. Based on the premise that Sir Isaac Newton devised a theory of alchemy that led to the industrial use of demons, the book builds to a climactic confrontation to see who will reshape the universe. Chief among Newton’s apprentices are wizard/scientist Benjamin Franklin, South Carolina’s ambassador to the court of New Paris (Mobile), and Adrienne de Montchevreuil, sorceress and heir to a secret tradition.

Against them is Adrienne’s son, Nicolas (aka the Sun Boy), with his army of Russians, Mongols and Coweta natives that sweeps over the Great Plains. Such imaginative devices as demon-levitated airships and aetherschreibers (wireless sets) lend interest to the author’s alternate 18th-century world, as do revelations behind certain historical events, like the identity of who helped Louis XIV drop a comet on London.

Keyes entertains both with details of everyday life and with the conversations of people who may not have met but should have. He produces a fine pastiche of the formal writing of Voltaire (who appears as Franklin’s friend and rival), marred only by a more modern “crash cut” narrative, which occasionally jumps mid-scene or reverses chronology, diffusing the suspense. Still, with the unfolding of secrets and past deeds, Keyes brings a welcome level of character uncertainty to the deterministic Newtonian novel. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Three Plays by Beth Henley

By Beth Henley

Dramatists Play Service (Paperback, $5.95, ISBN: 0822218755)

Publication date: October 2002


Three one-act plays by Beth Henley: Control Freaks, L-Play, and Sisters of the Winter Madrigal.

The Journey Home The Journey Home: A Father’s Gift to His Son

By Clifton L. Taulbert

Council Oak Books (Hardcover, $15.95, ISBN: 157178117X)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Clifton Taulbert wanted to give his twenty-year-old son Marshall a present that would carry lasting meaning. But how could he surpass the possessions and experiences Marshall already enjoyed—nice cars, spring break in Cancun? All light years from his own humble childhood in the rural south, recalled in his bestselling memoir, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored.

The gift Taulbert decided to give his son wasn’t the one most twenty-year-olds would immediately appreciate: he would take his son on a journey home to meet the people of rural Glen Allan, Mississippi—neighbors and friends whose insights and kindnesses had nurtured Taulbert through his childhood.

This is the tale of a caring father determined to help his affluent son understand some of the meaning of family, community and love.

Sixth Inning in Southaven

By Phil Hardwick

Quail Ridge Press (Paperback, $9.95, ISBN: 1893062406)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Jack Boulder’s personal world comes apart after his high school sweetheart rejects his marriage proposal, a police officer issues him a speeding ticket and he gets arrested for murder—all in the same day. He can do little about the first two problems, but Mississippi’s premier private investigator faces prosecution for a crime he did not commit unless he finds out who really killed a local baseball coach. His clues are found in cryptic messages based on the score in the top of the sixth inning of certain games at Snowden Grove Park, a youth baseball Mecca in Southaven, Mississippi.

Phil Hardwick loves a good mystery. Early in his career he solved real ones as a police officer and state investigator. Sixth Inning in Southaven is the ninth volume in his Mississippi Mysteries Series, a collection of exciting novellas which unfold in various locations throughout Mississippi. Phil is an award-winning columnist whose column appears in the Mississippi Business Journal. He and his family reside in Jackson.

To AmericaTo America: Personal Reflections of an Historian

By Stephen E. Ambrose

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover, $24.00, ISBN: 0743202759)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from the publisher:

In To America, Stephen E. Ambrose, one of the country’s most influential historians, reflects on his long career as an American historian and explains what an historian’s job is all about. He celebrates America’s spirit, which has carried us so far. He confronts its failures and struggles. As always in his much acclaimed work, Ambrose brings alive the men and women, famous and not, who have peopled our history and made the United States a model for the world.

Taking a few swings at today’s political correctness, as well as his own early biases, Ambrose grapples with the country’s historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors (such as the war in Vietnam, which he ardently opposed on campus, where he was a professor). He reflects on some of the country’s early founders who were progressive thinkers while living a contradiction as slaveholders, great men such as Washington and Jefferson. He contemplates the genius of Andrew Jackson’s defeat of a vastly superior British force with a ragtag army in the War of 1812. He describes the grueling journey that Lewis and Clark made to open up the country, and the building of the railroad that joined it and produced great riches for a few barons.

Ambrose explains the misunderstood presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, records the country’s assumption of world power under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, and extols its heroic victory of World War II. He writes about women’s rights and civil rights and immigration, founding museums, and nation- building. He contrasts the presidencies of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout, Ambrose celebrates the unflappable American spirit.

Most important, Ambrose writes about writing history. “The last five letters of the word ‘history’ tell us that it is an account of the past that is about people and what they did, which is what makes it the most fascinating of subjects.”

To America is an instant classic for all those interested in history, patriotism, and the love of writing.

Mississippi HarmonyMississippi Harmony: Memoirs of a Freedom Fighter

By Winson Hudson and Constance Curry

Palgrave Macmillan (Hardcover, $26.95, ISBN: 0312295537)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from the publisher:

In 1963, Winson Hudson finally registered to vote in Leake County, Mississippi, when she interpreted part of the state constitution by saying, “It meant what it said and it said what it meant.” Her first attempt had been in 1937. A lifelong native of the rural, all-black community of Harmony, Winson has lived through some of the most racially oppressive periods in her state’s history—and has devoted her life to combating discrimination. With her sister Dovie, Winson filed the first lawsuit to desegregate the public schools in a rural county. Helping to establish the county NAACP chapter in 1961, Winson served as its president for 38 years. Her work has included voting rights, school desegregation, health care, government loans, telephone service, good roads, housing, and childcare—issues that were intertwined with the black freedom struggle.

Winson’s narrative, presented in her own words with historical background from noted author and activist Constance Curry, is both triumphant and tragic, inspiring and disturbing. It illustrates the virtually untold story of the role that African American women played in the civil rights movement at the local level in black communities throughout the South.

Winson Hudson was born in Carthage, Mississippi in 1916. Her many honors include the NAACP’s Freedom Award for Outstanding Community Service and inclusion in Brian Lanker’s book of photographs of black women who changed America, I Dream a World. Constance Curry is an activist, attorney, and professor of women’s studies at Emory University. She has written several books on the the civil rights movement, including Deep in Our Hearts and the award-winning Silver Rights.

Jackpot BayJackpot Bay

By Martin Hegwood

St. Martin’s/Minotaur (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0312280963)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The “Redneck Riviera,” aka the Mississippi coast, provides the sultry setting for Jackpot Bay, the fourth Jack Delmas novel (Massacre Island, etc.) from Martin Hegwood, senior attorney for the secretary of state’s office of Mississippi. With a deadly gun battle at the Jackpot Bay casino, a sexy security auditor and a rock concert besieged by fundamentalists, Jack has plenty to straighten out in this fast-paced, hard-edged thriller. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Mississippi: An Illustrated History Mississippi: An Illustrated History

By Edward N. Akin and Charles C. Bolton

American Historical Press (Hardcover, $32.95, ISBN: 1892724332)

Updated edition; first published in 1987

Publication date: November 2002


This updated history of Mississippi chronicles the saga of the Magnolia State through all of its trials and triumphs, bringing to life the colorful events and personalities that have shaped the life and character of Mississippi. From its exciting past to its vibrant present, this book traces the state’s development from its earliest times, through the expedition of Hernando De Soto, the bloody Civil War, the devastating flood of 1927, through today’s challenges, to form an unequalled portrait. The book features more than 350 photos, drawings, etchings, and paintings collected and captioned by Bolton and Patti Carr Black.

Separate, But Equal: The Mississippi Photographs of Henry Clay Separate but EqualAnderson

By Henry Clay Anderson, with essays by Shawn Wilson, Clifton L. Taulbert, and Mary Panzer

PublicAffairs (Hardcover, $35.00, ISBN: 1586480928)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

“I received my first camera when I was about nine years old,” Anderson writes in one of the five essays accompanying this collection of his work. “I tried to catch pictures of people, cats, trees, houses, whatever was interesting to me as a little boy.” After studying photography on the GI Bill, Anderson opened a studio in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1948. This slim volume presents 130 or so straightforward but affecting photos of a conservative, respectable, and separate African-American world during the Jim Crow years. Anderson documents children in their Sunday best, a postman, a majorette, a white-frocked girl posing next to a birthday cake with six candles, teenaged bathing beauties parading in front of a crowd, a group shot of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels (“The Greatest Colored Show on Earth”) and weddings and funerals. The pictures show a way of life that, for obvious reasons, will not inspire nostalgia, but which certainly had its share of dignity and beauty. And to young would-be photographers, Anderson advised: “Try to show not the picture only, but show the person who had the ambition. And if he’s showing it, he shows himself.” —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The 16th Mississippi InfantryThe 16th Mississippi Infantry: Civil War Letters and Reminiscences

Edited by Robert G. Evans

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $40.00, ISBN: 1578064864)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from the publisher:

Words and memories of Mississippi men who fought the major campaigns of the Civil War.

They fought in the Shenandoah campaign that blazed Stonewall Jackson’s reputation. They fought in the Seven Days’ Battles and at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, in the Wilderness campaign, and at Spotsylvania. At the surrender they were beside General Robert E. Lee in Appomattox. From the beginning of the war to its very end the men of the Sixteenth Mississippi endured.

In this collection of their letters and their memories, both historians and Civil War buffs will find the fascinating words of these common soldiers in one of the most notable units in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Gathered and available here for the first time, the writings in this anthology include diary entries, letters, and reminiscences from average Mississippi men who fought in the war’s most extraordinary battles. Chronologically arranged, the documents depict the pace and progress of the war. Emerging from their words are flesh-and-blood soldiers who share their courage and spirit, their love of home and family, and their loneliness, fears, and campaign trials.

From the same camp come letters that say, “Our troops are crazy to meet” the enemy and, “It is not much fun hearing the balls and shells a-coming.” Soldiers write endearingly to wives, earnestly to fathers, longingly to mothers, and wistfully to loved ones. With wit and dispatch they report on crops and land, Virginia hospitality, camp rumors and chicanery, and encounters, both humorous and hostile, with the Yankee enemy.

Many letters convey a yearning for home and loved ones, closing with such phrases as “Write just as soon as you get this.” Though the trials of war seemed beyond the limits of human endurance, letter writing created a lifeline to home and helped men persevere. So eager was Jesse Ruebel Kirkland to keep in touch with his beloved Lucinda that he penned, “I am on my horse writing on the top of my hat just having met the mail carrier.”

Robert G. Evans is a judge of the Thirteenth Circuit Court of the State of Mississippi. He lives in Raleigh, Mississippi.

Lost Landmarks of MississippiLost Landmarks of Mississippi

By Mary Carol Miller

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $35.00, ISBN: 1578064759)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from the publisher:

A guide to historic buildings lost to neglect, flames, “progress,” and bulldozers.

Mississippi’s architectural heritage is one of columns and capitals, most readily envisioned in the great mansions of Natchez and Columbus. But for every Stanton Hall or Waverly, there was an equally memorable structure built for law, worship, or education.

Antebellum Mississippians expressed their pride in their state and communities by erecting elegant Greek Revival schools and churches that rivaled those in Charleston and Boston. Even the darker side of life brought out the creativity of the state’s architects and carpenters, shown in the grim visage of the old State Penitentiary and the graceful lines of the Insane Asylum.

As with the mansions of the Cotton Kingdom, many of Mississippi’s landmark buildings have been lost over the years, victims of war, fire, neglect, or decay. Sprawling Gulf Coast hotels rose, prospered, and disappeared. Spas overflowed for decades with revelers, then vanished as their “healing waters” lost their cachet. Huge college buildings were pressed into service as Civil War hospitals, and several were destroyed in the process. Courthouses, the visible symbol of legitimacy for so many young towns, often suffered the same fate. Those landmark structures that survived the war were gradually replaced with more modern edifices, and economic shifts doomed factories, hotels, and even colleges.

Lost Landmarks of Mississippi reviews dozens of these forgotten buildings, capturing their beauty in rare black-and-white photographs and telling the stories of their place in Mississippi history.

Mary Carol Miller is the author of Lost Mansions of Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi) and Written in the Bricks. She lives in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The Undiscovered Country: The Later Plays of Tennessee Williams

Edited by Philip C. Kolin

Peter Lang (Hardcover, $32.95, ISBN: 0820451304)

Publication date: November 2002


Tennessee Williams’s foray into “dragon country with some new dramatic armor” during the fading decades of his career may have displeased some fans, but many scholars believe the playwright's later works contributed mightily to the American theatre.

The Undiscovered Country: The Later Plays of Tennessee Williams is a collection of 15 original essays by Dr. Philip C. Kolin, professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, and 14 other Williams scholars. The book—published by the international house of Peter Lang in New York, Berlin and Bern, Switzerland—is the first book exclusively devoted to Williams’s plays written and produced after Night of the Iguana, from 1961 to his death in 1983. It argues that Williams was a rarely gifted experimental artist at work and that his later plays are vital to the American theatre, although they radically depart from his earlier works of psychological realism.

“Williams was not simply static, not just recreating earlier successes or repeating them,” said Kolin, a Chicago native who has been a member of the Southern Miss faculty for 29 years. “He wanted to enter what he called ‘dragon country’with new dramatic armor. His later plays are very, very different in the way they represent or misrepresent reality. They are not as familiar (as his earlier works) but that doesn’t mean they are inferior.… But some people attacked him for being a different playwright, for attempting new dramatic forms. They wanted him to remain with the same type of realism that characterized his Broadway successes in the 1940s and ’50s.”

Rather than focusing on his earlier, more popular works such as The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire and Night of the Iguana, essays in Kolin’s book address Williams’s later plays, which include Seven Descents of Myrtle, Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Small Craft Warnings, Red Devil Battery Sign, Clothes for a Summer Hotel, and the first essay written on Williams’s still unpublished play, A House Not Meant to Stand.

“With the exception of Small Craft Warnings, most of the later plays had very limited or no Broadway runs,” said Kolin. “This book is the first one to look at Williams’s accomplishments apart from simple autobiographical readings and judges the plays on their own merits.… Some represented the theatre of the absurd, some were post-modern memory plays, some were theological inquiries, and some focused on Williams and contemporary art.”

The professor said Williams, a native of Columbus, Miss., was a prolific writer who penned more than 80 full-length plays during his lifetime, most of them written from 1961-1983. He acted in one of his plays only once, playing the role of the drunken “Doc” in Small Craft Warnings. A photo of Williams in that role graces the front cover of Undiscovered Country.

“I think he wanted to become one with his script,” Kolin said of Williams’s lone venture onto the stage.

Other contributors to the book include Annette J. Saddik, Michael Paller, Allean Hale, Una Chaudhuri, Gene D. Phillips, Terri Smith Ruckel, Felicia Hardison Londré, Robert F. Gross, Robert Bray, Verna Foster, George W. Crandell, Norma Jenckes, James Fisher and Thomas Keith.

A widely respected authority on Williams’s plays, Kolin has published four other books on the playwright. He also has published more than 20 books and 180 articles on Shakespeare, Edward Albee, David Rabe, contemporary American theatre history, and business and technical writing. He is the general editor for the Routledge Shakespeare Criticism series and is founding co-editor of Studies in American Drama, 1945-Present.

The SummonsThe Summons

A novel by John Grisham

Dell (Paperback, $7.99, ISBN: 0440241073)

Publication date: December 2002


Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He’s forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family’s black sheep.

And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.

With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.

Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.

And perhaps someone else.

Juke JointJuke Joint

Photographs by Birney Imes, introduction by Richard Ford

Reprint edition; first published in 1990

University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $55.00, ISBN: 0878054375; Paperback, $35.00, ISBN: 087805846X)

Publication date: December 2002

Description from the publisher:

A collection of photographs capturing the mysterious interiors of juke joints in the Mississippi Delta.

“I saw that photograph of the men standing around the pool table, and read that phrase, ‘2-kool 2-be 4-gotten,’ and the inspiration was obvious. Every time I sing that song I credit Birney Imes. Birney’s work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me—gritty, edgy in all its parallels.” —Lucinda Williams

“Sweet lingering drifts through these pictures like heat.” —Richard Ford

“Imes immortalizes the juke joints of the Delta.” —Newsweek

“Birney Imes photographs what most people overlook.… Linger awhile.” —Douglas Balz, Chicago Tribune

These photographs by Birney Imes have the jagged edge of genuine blues music. They were taken in the Mississippi Delta during the 1980s, featured in exhibitions, and collected in Juke Joint, first published in 1990. After being unavailable for five years, this riveting book is in print again. As Lucinda Williams sang, it's “too cool to be forgotten.”

Imes focused his camera on nearly empty rooms, yet these bluesy, almost peopleless photographs capture black cafes, roadhouses, and taverns as a fascinating folk art that resounds with energy and pulses with the joys and griefs of the clientele.

The names of these juke joints are almost as evocative as Imes’s photographs—the Pink Pony in Darling, Mississippi, the People’s Choice Café in Leland, Monkey’s Place in Merigold, the Evening Star Lounge in Shaw, the Playboy Club in Louise, Juicy’s Place in Marcella, the Social Inn in Gunnison, and A. D.’s Place in Glendora.

To the volume Richard Ford, the acclaimed author of The Sportswriter, Rock Springs, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day, has contributed a long, perceptive essay that probes Imes’s photographs for their aesthetic values and for what they reveal beyond their surface.

Birney Imes is the photographer and author of Whispering Pines (University Press of Mississippi). His photographs have been exhibited in solo shows in the United States and in Europe. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Richard Ford, the author of many books of fiction, has been the recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

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