Alabama Bookshelf

Alabama Living Magazine

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

Unmasking the Klansman

by Dan T. Carter, NewSouth Books, $28.95 (biography) Asa Carter was one of the South’s most notorious white supremacists and secret Klansman, a north Alabama political firebrand who became a secret adviser to George Wallace in the early 1960s. When he disappeared from Alabama in 1972, few knew that he had assumed a new identity in Abilene, Texas, masquerading as a Cherokee American novelist. The author uncovered “Forrest” Carter’s true identity after two decades of exhaustive research.

Unloose My Heart: A Personal Reckoning with the Twisted Roots of My Southern Family Tree

by Marcia Edwina Herman-Giddens, The University of Alabama Press, $34.95 (memoir) Growing up in Birmingham in the 1950s and ’60s, the author struggled to understand her mother’s proud antebellum heritage against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. She left Alabama in 1966, but later in life resumed a search of her family’s history. The book unearths a family history of racism, slaveholding and trauma as well as reconciliation and love.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea

by Patti Callahan Henry, Atria Books, $28.99 (historical fiction) This immersive World War II novel explores the bond between sisters, long-held secrets, conflicted love, and the magic of storytelling, set against the backdrop of the Blitz in London. The best-selling author of 16 novels lives part-time in Mountain Brook with her family and is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online “Friends and Fiction” live web show and podcast.

The Civilian Conservation Corps Cookbook

by Amy Bizzarri, The History Press, $23.99 (history/cooking) The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), one of the voluntary New Era government work relief programs, offered work to nearly 3 million unemployed men during the Depression. More than wages, the program also offered a major benefit: three square meals a day. The book features the recipes that sustained not only the CCC men but also our grandparents and great-grandparents and reflect the “make do” attitude of Depression-era home cooks.

Afternoons with Harper Lee

by Wayne Flynt, NewSouth Books, $24.95 (memoir/biography) Flynt, Auburn University professor emeritus, is a fourth-generation Alabamian and became a friend and confidant of Nelle Harper Lee, famous author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Flynt and his wife Dartie visited Lee regularly at her assisted living facility after she came back to Alabama; they exchanged stories about Alabama history, folklore, genealogy, and of course, American literature. The book is a product of those conversations and offers a unique window into the life and mind of one of America’s best-loved writers.

Rich Waters

by Robert Bailey, Thomas and Mercer, $16.99 (legal thriller) This second book in the Jason Rich series (set to be released June 20) traces the price of redemption for Rich, an ambulance chasing lawyer who takes a case he can’t win in a town he can’t forget. In this particular case, he finds that everyone in this Alabama town has secrets to hide and interests to protect at any cost. Bailey is a Huntsville native who graduated from the University of Alabama Law School.


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