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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the Swamp People, by Watt Key, University of Alabama Press, September 2015, $29.95 hardcover (memoir/natural history) A collection of colorful personal essays about life in the wilds of Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. Key, a novelist and screenwriter living on the Gulf coast, chronicles the delta’s natural beauty, the difficulty of survival in it and the extraordinary cast of characters that calls it home.
Behind Nazi Lines: My Father’s Heroic Quest to Save 149 World War II POWs, by Andrew Gerow Hodges Jr. and Denise George, Berkley Caliber Press, August 2015, $27.95 hardcover (military/memoir) Hodges tells the true story of his father, a Red Cross volunteer, and his brave mission behind enemy lines to negotiate the safety of prisoners in 1944 German-occupied France. Both authors make their home in Birmingham.
Daniel and the Sun Sword, Sons and Daughters, Book 1, by Nathan Lumbatis, Ellechor Publishing House, November 2015, $16.99 paperback (young adult Christian fantasy) Daniel is an orphan who’s given up on the world. But when he is adopted by God, he is charged with a quest to save humanity by finding the lost shards of a mystical sword. Will he learn to trust in God’s power before it’s too late? The author lives in Dothan.
Visions of the Black Belt, by Robin McDonald and Valerie Pope Burnes, University of Alabama Press, October 2015, $39.95 tradecloth (photography/history) In photos and text, the authors bring to life the layers of history that shaped the Black Belt’s tastes, sounds and colors. The book recounts the stories of such communities as Camden, Eutaw and Tuskegee, and offers an illustrated tour of the lands that represent the cultural efflorescence of Alabama’s heartland.
The Cotton-Picking Centre Warriors, by Randall McCord and Tommy Moon, Whosoever Press, $35 (local history) The authors put 5 ½ years into this 740-page book, which looks at the ties between football and farming. They interviewed players and coaches associated with Cherokee County High School and read personal reminiscences to document their work. “If football is the spirit of CCHS, then cotton is the soul,” the authors say.
That He May Raise, by Armond Boudreaux, Livingston Press, $17.95 trade paper (fiction) These linked stories explore the ways in which guilt radiates through time and space, and ask whether the resulting suffering can be redemptive. A husband forces his wife into an impossible choice; a son cannot forgive his father’s sins; a woman tries to atone for betraying her best friend by making her lover pay. Author Boudreaux grew up in southwestern Alabama.