Tupelo Man: The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher.
Video of our chat is below. We talked about his unique relationship to his biography subject (he is married to McLean's daughter), the reception to the book in Tupelo, and what exactly made George McLean so peculiar.
Early in his life McLean drifted through schools and jobs, always questioning authority,
always searching for a way to put his restless vision into practical
use. In the Depression's depths, he was fired from a teaching job at
what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, over his socialist
ideas and labor-organizing work.
By 1934, he decided that he had enough of working for others and
that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor northeast
Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's
money to buy what he called "a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt
bank." As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism
evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He
didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he
said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.
Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own
lives and times.