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Alabama Bookshelf March 2015

Each month, we offer a summary of recent books that are either about Alabama people or people with Alabama ties and/or written by Alabama authors. Email submissions to bookshelf@alabamaliving.coop.

Driving the King, by Ravi Howard, Harper Books, January 2015; $25.99 hardcover

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This novel explores race and prejudice in 1950s America, as witnessed by famed singer Nat “King” Cole and his fictional driver and friend since childhood, Nat Weary.  Told through Weary’s perspective and alternating between past and present, the book reimagines the civil rights era, using Cole (who was actually born in Montgomery) and his real-life fame to tell a story of loyalty and friendship.


A Home for Wayward Boys, by Jerry Armor, NewSouth Books, January 2015; $24.95

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Armor’s book recounts the creation of the Alabama Boys’ Industrial School, a residential facility that worked to rehabilitate troubled boys through compassion, common sense and Christian faith. The school was the vision of reformer Elizabeth Johnston, who rallied women around Alabama to persuade the Legislature to establish the school in 1900.


Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts: Commemorative Edition, by Kathryn Tucker Windham, University of Alabama Press; $29.95

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Noted storyteller, folklorist and radio personality Windham died in 2011; this new edition returns the Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts to its original format in jacketed cloth full of original, black-and-white illustrations. Jeffrey has entertained generations of Alabama children, and students everywhere have been thrilled by Windham’s legends.


Anchors of Faith, by Martha Dickson, NewSouth Books, Fall 2014; $27.95

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This pictorial overview of 145 mostly late-19th century wooden churches in southern Alabama, Mississippi and Florida will add to the understanding of religious faith in the rural South through architecture. These churches embody the spirit of their builders and help the modern reader understand their history, from their founding to their current state.