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ALABAMA BOOKSHELF: February 2016

In this feature, we highlight recent books either about Alabama people or written by Alabama authors. Summaries are not reviews or endorsements. We also occasionally highlight book-related events. Email submissions and events to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop


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A Slice of Life: Life Stories, by Thom Gossom Jr., Aquarius Press/Willow Books, November 2015, $19.95 (fiction) Actor/producer and author Gossom was born in Birmingham and became the first black athlete to graduate from Auburn University in 1975. His first book, Walk On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, tells the story of his undergraduate days at Auburn and is now in its third printing. Gossom was recently featured in the HBO special Breaking the Huddle, about the integration of Southern college football, and in the documentary Quiet Courage: The James Owens Story, also about college football’s racial barriers in the Deep South. He’s appeared in several movies and TV shows and speaks to universities, corporations and civic organizations. This new book is a collection of short stories that depict a recently desegregated Alabama after the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A Slice of Life is the first in a trilogy that will tell the life stories of average people who face their own extraordinary circumstances.


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‘Echoes’ of Robert E. Lee High School: The First Decade, 1955-65, by Clinton Carter, Kerry Palmer, Roger Stifflemire and Jim Vickrey, editors. NewSouth Books, July 2015, $20 paperback (education) An anthology about the first decade of Lee High School in Montgomery. The book is written and compiled by those who supplemented their unique personal experiences at the school – as students or educators – with research into the history of what was at one time the largest three-grade high school in the state.


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The Legacy of Whitley Place, by Deborah Sutton, Outskirts Press Publishing, February 2015, $13.95 paperback (fiction) What is the aura that surrounds Whitley Place? Old man Whitley purchases the property with the intention of providing a home for his family, but a cloak of unhappiness and darkness surrounds anyone who dares to live there. The author is a lifelong resident of Brundidge.


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Clemenceau’s Daughters, by Rocky Porch Moore, Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, December 2015, $14.95 paperback (fiction/Southern gothic) Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard. She struggles to make sense of a world where an unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations. The author grew up atop July Mountain, the North Alabama setting of her novel.


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2nd Platoon: Journey of the Pack, by Billy Smith, August 2014, $12.50 plus shipping (military history) A first-person account of an infantry platoon’s actions in Vietnam. The author kept a journal from mid-1968 through the spring of 1970 to document the hardships, horrors, sacrifices and everyday life of the combat infantryman on the battlefields and jungles of Vietnam. Book available only through the author, 629 County Road 409, Elba, AL 36323; email firstwolf48@gmail.com