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Alabama Bookshelf

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

Due to the volume of submissions, we are unable to feature all the books we receive.

Hard Road South, by Scott Gates, Blue Ink Press, $14.99 (historical fiction) After the Civil War, Union Army veteran Solomon Dykes hopes to make a fresh start in Virginia. He settles near Jeb Mosby, a Virginia native farming his family’s land. Under different circumstances, the two men, both trying to rebuild their lives in the divisive aftermath of the bloody conflict, might have been friends. But both men learn even the smallest actions can carry far-reaching consequences. The author is a native of Montgomery and editor of Carolina Country magazine. His father, Darryl Gates, was the editor of Alabama Living magazine for nearly 30 years.


The Life and Death of Rising Star Steve Ihnat – Gone Too Soon, by Linda Alexander, Bear Manor Media, $21.95 paperback (TV history) In 1967, Steve Ihnat was on top of the world in Hollywood, an actor on the precipice of true stardom. He was seen as both a heavy and a leading-man type, an actor who could fit into any role that came his way. Five years later, Steve Ihnat was suddenly, and curiously, dead. The author lives in Wetumpka.


Trees of Alabama, by Lisa J. Samuelson with photographs by Michael E. Hogan, The University of Alabama Press, $34.95 (biology) The book offers an accessible guide to the most notable species occurring widely in the state with straightforward descriptions and vivid photographs. The book also features a map of forest types, chapters on basic tree biology and terminology, a spotlight on the plethora of oak species in the state, and a comprehensive index.


Pensters Anthology, Volume One, by the Pensters Writing Group, Intellect Publishing, $14.95 (literary compilation) Pensters Writing Group is celebrating its 55th anniversary with this collection of prose and poetry penned by its members over the past three years. The Pensters, founded in 1965, is Baldwin and Mobile counties’ oldest writing group.


The Key to Everything, by Valerie Fraser Luesse, Revell Publishing, $15.99 (fiction) After World War II and a family tragedy, Peyton Cabot seeks connection with his troubled veteran father by retracing the trip he’d taken from Savannah to Key West at the same age. The adventure forces Peyton to come to terms with his identity and decide how much he’s willing to risk for the girl he loves. The author lives in Birmingham.


Coffee with God, by Becky Alexander, Bonita Y. McCoy, Suzanne D. Nichols, Ginger Solomon and Lisa W. Smith, Kerysso Press, $7.97 (Christian living) The book celebrates new life with 30 devotions about birds, babies, butterflies and flowers. Each devotion includes a scripture, personal application, prayer and places for personal notes. Five north Alabama authors collaborated to write and publish this devotional book.