Dispatches from Pluto

Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476709659
Release Date: 2015-10-13
Genre: Travel

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.

High Cotton

Author: Gerard Helferich
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 9781458759566
Release Date: 2010-05-21
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A Book Sense Notable book, High Cotton tells of a year in the life of a modern-day cotton farmer, with all its humidity, heartache - and in 2005, Hurricane Katrina. Combining an engaging narrative and a strong sense of time and place, this is a story with deep roots. ''Helferich provides valuable insights into the historical and cultural significance of cotton in the United States.''

Crazy River

Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781439157640
Release Date: 2011-10-25
Genre: Travel

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.

God s Middle Finger

Author: Richard Grant
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781416565710
Release Date: 2008-03-04
Genre: Travel

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.

Rising Tide

Author: John M. Barry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781416563327
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.

Hidden History of Mississippi Blues

Author: Roger Stolle
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
ISBN: 9781614230137
Release Date: 2011-04-01
Genre: Photography

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.

Delta Deep Down

Author: Jane Rule Burdine
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 1604730897
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Photography

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.

Delta Rainbow

Author: Sally Palmer Thomason
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 9781496806659
Release Date: 2016-06-09
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

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.

Mississippi

Author: Anthony Walton
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 9780679777410
Release Date: 1997-01
Genre: History

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.

Trials of the Earth

Author: Mary Mann Hamilton
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 9780316341363
Release Date: 2016-07-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

The astonishing first-person account of Mississippi pioneer woman struggling to survive, protect her family and make a home in the early American South Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) began recording her experiences in the backwoods of the Mississippi Delta. The result is this astonishing first-person account of a pioneer woman who braved grueling work, profound tragedy, and a pitiless wilderness (she and her family faced floods, tornadoes, fires, bears, panthers, and snakes) to protect her home in the early American South. An early draft of Trials of the Earth was submitted to a writers' competition sponsored by Little, Brown in 1933. It didn't win, and we almost lost the chance to bring this raw, vivid narrative to readers. Eighty-three years later, in partnership with Mary Mann Hamilton's descendants, we're proud to share this irreplaceable piece of American history. Written in spare, rich prose, Trials of the Earth is a precious record of one woman's extraordinary endurance and courage that will resonate with readers of history and fiction alike.

The World s Largest Man

Author: Harrison Scott Key
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062351524
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.

Teacher

Author: Michael Copperman
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 9781496805867
Release Date: 2016-08-25
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

When Michael Copperman left Stanford University for the Mississippi Delta in 2002, he imagined he would lift underprivileged children from the narrow horizons of rural poverty. Well-meaning but naïve, the Asian American from the West Coast soon lost his bearings in a world divided between black and white. He had no idea how to manage a classroom or help children navigate the considerable challenges they faced. In trying to help students, he often found he couldn’t afford to give what they required—sometimes with heartbreaking consequences. His desperate efforts to save child after child were misguided but sincere. He offered children the best invitations to success he could manage. But he still felt like an outsider who was failing the children and himself. Teach For America has for a decade been the nation’s largest employer of recent college graduates but has come under increasing criticism in recent years even as it has grown exponentially. This memoir considers the distance between the idealism of the organization’s creed that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education and reach their full potential” and what it actually means to teach in America’s poorest and most troubled public schools. Copperman’s memoir vividly captures his disorientation in the divided world of the Delta, even as the author marvels at the wit and resilience of the children in his classroom. To them, he is at once an authority figure and a stranger minority than even they are—a lone Asian, an outsider among outsiders. His journey is of great relevance to teachers, administrators, and parents longing for quality education in America. His frank story shows that the solutions for impoverished schools are far from simple.

My Mississippi

Author: Willie Morris
Publisher: Univ Pr of Mississippi
ISBN: UOM:39015049611687
Release Date: 2000-12-01
Genre: History

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.

A Year in Provence

Author: Peter Mayle
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307755495
Release Date: 2010-05-19
Genre: Travel

National Bestseller In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Mississippi Encyclopedia

Author: Ted Ownby
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 9781496811592
Release Date: 2017-05-25
Genre: Reference

The perfect book for every Mississippian who cares about the state, this is a mammoth collaboration in which thirty subject editors suggested topics, over seven hundred scholars wrote entries, and countless individuals made suggestions. The volume will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about Mississippi and the people who call it home. The book will be especially helpful to students, teachers, and scholars researching, writing about, or otherwise discovering the state, past and present. The volume contains entries on every county, every governor, and numerous musicians, writers, artists, and activists. Each entry provides an authoritative but accessible introduction to the topic discussed. The Mississippi Encyclopedia also features long essays on agriculture, archaeology, the civil rights movement, the Civil War, drama, education, the environment, ethnicity, fiction, folklife, foodways, geography, industry and industrial workers, law, medicine, music, myths and representations, Native Americans, nonfiction, poetry, politics and government, the press, religion, social and economic history, sports, and visual art. It includes solid, clear information in a single volume, offering with clarity and scholarship a breadth of topics unavailable anywhere else. This book also includes many surprises readers can only find by browsing.