Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-10-13
Winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Mississippi's #1 Bestseller of 2015 and 2016 (The Clarion-Ledger) A New York Times Bestseller In Dispatches from Pluto, adventure writer Richard Grant takes on “the most American place on Earth”—the enigmatic, beautiful, often derided Mississippi Delta. Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place. Imagine A Year In Provence with alligators and assassins, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with hunting scenes and swamp-to-table dining. On a remote, isolated strip of land, three miles beyond the tiny community of Pluto, Richard and his girlfriend, Mariah, embark on a new life. They learn to hunt, grow their own food, and fend off alligators, snakes, and varmints galore. They befriend an array of unforgettable local characters—blues legend T-Model Ford, cookbook maven Martha Foose, catfish farmers, eccentric millionaires, and the actor Morgan Freeman. Grant brings an adept, empathetic eye to the fascinating people he meets, capturing the rich, extraordinary culture of the Delta, while tracking its utterly bizarre and criminal extremes. Reporting from all angles as only an outsider can, Grant also delves deeply into the Delta’s lingering racial tensions. He finds that de facto segregation continues. Yet even as he observes major structural problems, he encounters many close, loving, and interdependent relationships between black and white families—and good reasons for hope. Dispatches from Pluto is a book as unique as the Delta itself. It’s lively, entertaining, and funny, containing a travel writer’s flair for in-depth reporting alongside insightful reflections on poverty, community, and race. It’s also a love story, as the nomadic Grant learns to settle down. He falls not just for his girlfriend but for the beguiling place they now call home. Mississippi, Grant concludes, is the best-kept secret in America.
Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2011-10-25
NO ONE TRAVELS QUITE LIKE RICHARD GRANT and, really, no one should. In his last book, the adventure classic God’s Middle Finger, he narrowly escaped death in Mexico’s lawless Sierra Madre. Now, Grant has plunged with his trademark recklessness, wit, and curiosity into East Africa. Setting out to make the first descent of an unexplored river in Tanzania, he gets waylaid in Zanzibar by thieves, whores, and a charismatic former golf pro before crossing the Indian Ocean in a rickety cargo boat. And then the real adventure begins. Known to local tribes as “the river of bad spirits,” the Malagarasi River is a daunting adversary even with a heavily armed Tanzanian crew as travel companions. Dodging bullets, hippos, and crocodiles, Grant finally emerges in war-torn Burundi, where he befriends some ethnic street gangsters and trails a notorious man-eating crocodile known as Gustave. He concludes his journey by interviewing the dictatorial president of Rwanda and visiting the true source of the Nile. Gripping, illuminating, sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, Crazy River is a brilliantly rendered account of a modern-day exploration of Africa, and the unraveling of Grant’s peeled, battered mind as he tries to take it all in.
This dirt-under-the-fingernails portrait of a small-time farmer follows Zack Killebrew over a single year as he struggles to defend his cotton against such timeless adversaries as weeds, insects, and drought, as well as such twenty-first-century threats as globalization. Over the course of the season, Helferich describes how this singular crop has stamped American history and culture like no other. Then, as Killebrew prepares to harvest his cotton, two hurricanes named Katrina and Rita devastate the Gulf Coast and barrel inland. Killebrew's tale is at once a glimpse into our nation's past, a rich commentary on our present, and a plain-sighted vision of the future of farming in the Mississippi Delta. On first publication, High Cotton won the Authors Award from the Mississippi Library Association. This updated edition includes a new afterword, which resumes the story of Zack Killebrew and his family, discusses how cotton farming has continued to change, and shows how the Delta has retained its elemental character.
Although many bluesmen began leaving the Magnolia State in the early twentieth century to pursue fortune and fame up north, many others stayed home. These musicians remained rooted to the traditions of their land, which came to define a distinctive playing style unique to Mississippi. They didn't simply play the blues, they lived it. Travel through the hallowed juke joints and cotton fields with author Roger Stolle as he recounts the history of Mississippi blues and the musicians who have kept it alive. Some of these bluesmen remain to carry on this proud legacy, while others have passed on, but Hidden History of Mississippi Blues ensures none will be forgotten.
Author: John M. Barry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2007-09-17
Genre: Social Science
An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.
Author: Mikko Saikku
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2011-03-15
This environmental history of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta places the Delta's economic and cultural history in an environmental context. It reveals the human aspects of the region's natural history, including land reclamation, slave and sharecropper economies, ethnic and racial perceptions of land ownership and stewardship, and even blues music.
Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Grove Press
Release Date: 2005-01
In a richly textured travelogue, a British journalist recounts his fifteen-year odyssey throughout the United States, examining the myths and realities of the wandering life as he recalls his encounters with America's nomads and traces the history of wanderers--cowboys, explorers, frontiersmen, trappers, and Native American warriors--in the New World. Reprint.
Author: Jane Rule Burdine
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
Release Date: 2008
The Mississippi Delta evokes mystery, beauty, and hardship in equal measures. Its haunted fields, turbulent history, and resilient people have fueled countless songs, tales, and literary works. Its presence resonates strongly in the construction of the American South. In Delta Deep Down, photographer Jane Rule Burdine captures the region with clarity and warmth. Since the early 1970s, Burdine has used the Delta as her muse, traversing and documenting the ever-changing landscape in color photographs. These powerful images reflect how the Delta and its citizens have responded to each other, and how each has in turn been changed. Weatherbeaten shacks, cotton and soybean fields, industrial equipment, people at work and play, and cloud-draped, endless horizons are all seen through Burdine's lens. The Delta's past and present mingle in every photograph of the inhabitants - black and white, young and old, rich and poor - in moments of contemplation, labor, and revelry. Novelist and Indianola native Steve Yarbrough offers a touching, personal introduction that explores how Burdine's photographs reveal the place he once called home, and how, through her photographs, the hold this fertile ground claims on his heart is reinforced. Delta Deep Down offers an unforgettable portrait of a quintessential Mississippi place and the people who abide in it.
Betty Bobo Pearson (b. 1922), a seventh-generation, plantation-born Mississippian, defied her cultural heritage—and caused great personal pain for her parents and herself—when she became an activist in the civil rights movement. Never fearing to break the mold in her search for the “best,” in her nineties she remains a strong, effective leader with a fun-loving, generous spirit. When Betty was eighteen months old, a train smashed into the car her mother was driving, killing Betty’s beloved grandfather and severely injuring her grandmother. Thrown onto the engine’s cow catcher, Betty lived and did not remember the accident. She did, however, grow up to fulfill her grandmother’s prediction: “Betty, God reached down and plucked you from in front of that train because he has something very special he wants you to do with your life.” In 1943, twenty-one-year-old Betty, soon to graduate from the University of Mississippi, received a full tuition scholarship to Columbia Graduate School in New York City. Ecstatic, she rushed home to tell her parents. “ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no way I’ll allow my daughter to live in Yankee Land,” her father replied. After fierce argument and much door slamming, Betty could not defy her father. But she had to show him she was her own person. Her nation was at war—so Betty joined the Marines. After the war, Betty married Bill Pearson and became mistress of Rainbow Plantation in the Delta. In 1955, she attended the Emmett Till trial (accompanied by her close friend and budding civil rights activist Florence Mars) and was shocked by the virulent degree of racism she witnessed there. Seeing her world in a new way, she became a courageous and dedicated supporter of the civil rights movement. Her activities severely fractured her close relationship with her parents. Yet, as a warm friend and bold, persuasive leader, Betty made an indelible mark in her church, in the Delta communities, in the lives of the people she employed, and in her beautiful garden at Rainbow.
Author: Anthony Walton
Publisher: Vintage Books
Release Date: 1997-01
The author describes his quest to discover his parents' roots in rural Mississippi, exploring the proud--and shameful--culture that makes up his family's--and the state's--heritage. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
"A delicious memoir that takes us from Buenos Aires to New York to Berlin as the author, driven by wanderlust and an unrelenting appetite, finds purpose, passion, and unexpected flavor. After putting her dream of opening her own restaurant on hold, Layne Mosler moves to Buenos Aires to write about food. But she is also in search of that elusive "something" that could give shape to her life. One afternoon, fleeing a tango club following a terrible turn on the dance floor, she impulsively asks her taxista to take her to his favorite restaurant. Soon she is savoring one of the best steaks of her life and, in the weeks that follow, repeating the experiment with equally delectable results. So begins the gustatory adventure that becomes the basis for Mosler s cult blog, "Taxi Gourmet." It eventually takes her to New York City, where she continues her food quests, hailing cabs and striking up conversations from the back seat, until she meets a pair of extraordinary lady cab drivers who convince her to become a taxi driver herself. Between humbling (and hilarious) episodes behind the wheel, Mosler reads about the taxi drivers in Berlin, who allegedly know as much about Nietzsche as they do about sausage. Intrigued, she travels to the German capital, where she develops a passion for the city, its restlessness, its changing flavors, and a certain fellow cab driver who shares her love of the road. With her vivid descriptions of places and people and food, Mosler has given us a beguiling book that speaks to the beauty of chance encounters and the pleasures of not always knowing your destination.""--Goodreads.com.
Author: Harrison Scott Key
Release Date: 2015-05-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Winner of the 2016 Thurber Prize The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr. Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father—a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, “a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers.” Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn’t have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized—for better and for worse—how much of his old man he’d absorbed. Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World’s Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir—the story of a boy’s struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man’s reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.
Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2008-03-04
Twenty miles south of the Arizona-Mexico border, the rugged, beautiful Sierra Madre mountains begin their dramatic ascent. Almost 900 miles long, the range climbs to nearly 11,000 feet and boasts several canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. The rules of law and society have never taken hold in the Sierra Madre, which is home to bandits, drug smugglers, Mormons, cave-dwelling Tarahumara Indians, opium farmers, cowboys, and other assorted outcasts. Outsiders are not welcome; drugs are the primary source of income; murder is all but a regional pastime. The Mexican army occasionally goes in to burn marijuana and opium crops -- the modern treasure of the Sierra Madre -- but otherwise the government stays away. In its stead are the drug lords, who have made it one of the biggest drug-producing areas in the world. Fifteen years ago, journalist Richard Grant developed what he calls "an unfortunate fascination" with this lawless place. Locals warned that he would meet his death there, but he didn't believe them -- until his last trip. During his travels Grant visited a folk healer for his insomnia and was prescribed rattlesnake pills, attended bizarre religious rituals, consorted with cocaine-snorting policemen, taught English to Guarijio Indians, and dug for buried treasure. On his last visit, his reckless adventure spiraled into his own personal heart of darkness when cocaine-fueled Mexican hillbillies hunted him through the woods all night, bent on killing him for sport. With gorgeous detail, fascinating insight, and an undercurrent of dark humor, God's Middle Finger brings to vivid life a truly unique and uncharted world.
Author: Willie Morris
Publisher: Univ Pr of Mississippi
Release Date: 2000-12-01
A father and son's eloquent portrait and personal evocations of modern Mississippi An exerpt from the book: "Through the years two of the most singular extremes have been the desire, on the one hand, to dwell forever with all the myths and trimmings of a vanished culture which may never have truly existed in the first place, certainly not the way we wished it to, and the frantic compulsion, on the other, to reforge ourselves as an appendage of the capitalistic, go-getting, entrepreneurial North. . . . Between these two extremes there have been complex lights and shadings, and considerable ambivalence and suffering. Mississippians watch the same television as other Americans, frequent the same shopping malls and national franchise chainstores and fast-food establishments, and live in the same kind of suburbias. . . . At the new century it is the juxtapositions of Mississippi, emotional and in remembrance, and the tensions of its paradoxes that still drive us crazy. . . . In my work on this book certain ironies never failed to tease me."-- Willie Morris, 1999 Few writers have ever approached their native terrains with such an inclusive and compassionate understanding as Willie Morris. This book, his last, circles back home where he started. To love it and discover it one more time, he and his son David Rae take us on a trip through contemporary Mississippi. Who could express so passionately an understanding of the Mississippi landscape? Who could capture so unerringly the state's contrasting and often contradictory faces? For his readers the answer is Willie Morris. For Morris it is his photographer son. Surveying the familiar yet always strangelyevocative panorama that became his literary terrain, My Mississippicontemplates the realities of the present day, assesses the most vital concerns of the citizens, gauges how the state has changed, and beholds what Mississippi is like as it enters the twenty-first century. This southern homeland to which Morris returned after terminating his career as a New York editor remained for him a tantalizing mystery, the touchstone for all his thoughts, and one of the last unique places in America. For Morris, despite its flaws, Mississippi is beloved. With father and son in their peregrinations we witness what they see and hear -- "the bugs on our windshield in the Delta springtime, the off-key echoes of high-school bands from the little Piney Woods football fields in the autumn, the supple twilights and sultry breezes on 'the Coast,' the hunting camps and picnics, and parades and pilgrimages, the catfish ponds and graveyards, the roadhouses and joints near the closing hour, the art galleries and concert halls, the riverboat casinos and courthouse squares, the historical landmarks of the old and the industrial complexes of the new." "It has been a pleasure," Morris says, "more than that, an honor, to collaborate with my son on this project." The son grew up in New York City, seeing his father's native land from the perspective of an outsider. As an adult he has chosen to live in or near Mississippi and has spent the past twenty years traveling and photographing the state. In a thoughtful and provocative photographic narrative entitled "Look Away," he presents striking, full-color images of his Mississippi. This complementary collaboration of father and son unites their separate visions and shared love of a place that remains infinitely intriguing for everyone. Willie Morris (1934-1999) wrote many books, including North Toward Home, The Courting of Marcus Dupree, and After All, It's Only a Game(all available from the Univer-sity Press of Mississippi). David Rae Morris is a photojournalist who lives and works in New Orleans. His photos have appeared in Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and many other magazines and newspapers.
Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release Date: 2009-10-01
There are many ways to die in the Sierra Madre, a notorious nine-hundred-mile mountain range in northern Mexico where AK-47s are fetish objects, the law is almost non-existent and power lies in the hands of brutal drug mafias. Thousands of tons of opium and marijuana are produced there every year. Richard Grant thought it would be a good idea to travel the length of the Sierra Madre and write a book about it. He was warned before he left that he would be killed. But driven by what he calls 'an unfortunate fascination' for this mysterious region, Grant sets off anyway. In a remarkable piece of investigative writing, he evokes a sinister, surreal landscape of lonely mesas, canyons sometimes deeper than the Grand Canyon, hostile villages and an outlaw culture where homicide is the most common cause of death and grandmothers sell cocaine. Finally his luck runs out and he finds himself fleeing for his life, pursued by men who would murder a stranger in their territory 'to please the trigger finger'.