New Releases: September

UPM has five great new books out this month. The selection this month is heavy on Mississippi history and politics, includes one new addition to our Hollywood Legends Series, and because it's September in the south - high school football.

The following books are all now available. 

A Real American Character: The Life of Walter Brennan
By Carl Rollyson

Walter Brennan (1894-1974) was one of the greatest character actors in Hollywood history. He won three Academy Awards and became a national icon starring as Grandpa in The Real McCoys. In the first biography of this epic figure, Carl Rollyson (Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews) reveals Brennan's consummate mastery of virtually every kind of role while playing against and often stealing scenes from such stars as Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, and John Wayne. 

Written with the full cooperation of the Brennan family and drawing on material in archives from every region of the United States, this new biography presents an artist and family man who lived and breathed an American idealism that made him the Real McCoy.

In 1955 Till was a fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago who was brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. His death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the Civil Rights Movement.

Author Devery Anderson offers the first truly comprehensive account of the 1955 murder and its aftermath. With over a decade of industrious and thorough research into the case, Anderson has been passionate in his quest to know the truth. This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come.

Uniting Mississippi applies a new, philosophically informed theory of democratic leadership to Mississippi's challenges. The book examines Mississippi's apparent Catch-22, namely the difficulty of addressing problems of poverty without fixing issues in education first, and vice versa. These difficulties can be overcome if we look at their common roots, argues Eric Thomas Weber, and if we practice virtuous democratic leadership. 

The book draws on insights from classical and contemporary philosophical outlooks on leadership, which highlight four key social virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. Governor William F. Winter has written a foreword for the book, supporting its proposals.

This book examines the 1989 Conway (SC) High School football season made famous for a boycott by 31 of the team’s black players who were upset over what they felt was a racially motivated coaching decision. The players sat out the whole season and a team that was projected to compete for a state title went 1-11.

The season-long strike severed the town along racial lines, as it became clear that the incident was about much more than football. It was about the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and other points of tension and oppression that many people in Conway--and the South--had wrongly assumed were settled.

Oestrich and Pleasant have updated the story and talk with the principals and witnesses to the ’89 season. Even 26 years later, the story reverberates today.

As Mississippi's attorney general from 1956 to 1969, Joe T. Patterson led the legal defense for Jim Crow in the state. Patterson was also a card-carrying member of the segregationist Citizens' Council and, in his own words, had "spent many hours and driven many miles advocating the basic principles for which the Citizens' Councils were originally organized." Few ever doubted his Jim Crow credentials. That is until September 1962 and the integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith.

Once the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Meredith v. Fair, the state attorney general walked a strategic tightrope, looking to temper the ruling's impact without inciting the mob and without retreating any further. Patterson and others sought pragmatic answers to the dilemma of white southerners, not in the name of Civil Rights but to offer a more durable version of white power. His finesse paved the way for future tactics employing duplicity and barely yielding social change while deferring many dreams.