Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

Few writers take kindly to having their gems of originality appropriated without attribution, although most would regard such treatment at the hands of William Faulkner as the supreme compliment. In the case of David Cohn, there was actually little choice in the matter. ...

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Introduction

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p. 1

This is not an autobiography except in the limited sense that everything one does is inevitably autobiographical for, as Walt Whitman put it, "A man's personality strikes through his flannels." ...

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1. Growing Up in Greenville

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pp. 2-7

The Mississippi Delta, in the opening years of the century, was a good place for a growing boy. The simplicities, serenities, and optimism of the nineteenth century still lingered among us. I had the amenities, such as they were, of our little town of Greenville (population about 6,000) and reveled in the life of the countryside. ...

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2. The Idea of the Soldier

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pp. 8-15

The sun rising blood-red, the air sweet after a stifling night, the new morning tender upon the landscape, I could see across the street from our Washington Avenue house, on the courthouse lawn, the monument to the Confederate soldier. White in the risen dawn, he stood tall, youthful, leaning slightly on his rifle, a bird singing from his marble cap. ...

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3. A Walk Down Washington Avenue

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pp. 16-35

In our little town, all of us walking the same paths, we were bound in a relationship of enforced intimacy. One was sure to pass those whom one loved or despised. But nearly everyone said he liked living in Greenville because you knew everyone you met, while in New York you could live there forever and hardly know a soul. ...

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4. Change and No Change

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pp. 36-60

I was an infant when Horatio Alger died, his Phil-the-Fiddler "philosophy" strong in the land. It was a cynical philosophy for a people not only virile but given allegedly to the concept of marriage-for-love-only, since it taught that the easiest road to success was marriage with the boss's daughter. ...

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5. Drunk on Cotton

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pp. 61-68

Writing in the New York Times, Anne O'Hare McCormick said in 1930, "Cotton is something more than a crop or an industry; it is a dynastic system, with a set of laws and standards always under assault and peculiarly resistant to change. It is map maker, troublemaker, history maker. . . . It was cotton that made the South into a section. ...

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6. It Ain't What I Owes That Worries Me

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pp. 69-80

If our politics was simple but frenzied, our economics was simple but bewildering. Responding to no canons that I could find in the books, without counterpart in other areas, it would have caused orthodox economists to shudder and might even have deterred Karl Marx, ...

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7. Drummers and Peddlers

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pp. 81-91

My father was a dry goods merchant—wholesale and retail—who bought merchandise from drummers and sold it to peddlers. Through him I came to know members of these guilds, and occasionally father brought one home to dinner. ...

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8. The River I Knew

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pp. 92-107

The Delta was born of the river. Flowing down out of time, through countless millennia, the Mississippi had built this earth, inch by inch, layer by layer, piling fatness upon fatness as it dropped its burden of loam gathered in its passage across half a continent. The rivers land nurtured the living. Our dead were buried in soil of the river. ...

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9. The Education of a Rounded Man

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pp. 108-120

A little boy, wearing knee pants, homemade blouse, and black, ribbed cotton stockings, I entered Court School—the start of an endless pilgrimage in search of knowledge. Severe, totally lacking in amenities, smoothworn benches hard, the school was a small structure of crumbly red brick. ...

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10. Student of the Law

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pp. 121-130

Extremely young, I entered the University of Virginia law school, moved to do so for several reasons. It was the alma mater of LeRoy Percy, our leading citizen and leader of the Mississippi Bar. From it had emerged many distinguished southern lawyers, and it was widely regarded among lawyers as being the best of southern law schools. ...

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11. Where Is the Way?

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pp. 131-143

One of the first acts of men come to this country is to build a place of worship. Thus the Jewish pioneers of Greenville built a synagogue (or "temple" as it is locally called). While it was under construction, services were held in the Methodist church. ...

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12. Small-Town Daily

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pp. 144-151

The Delta-Times, published daily in Greenville, ranks high among American small-town newspapers, although Mississippi ranks low in many of the indices of progress. The shadowing forth of one man, it is published and edited by Hodding Carter, who was born in Louisiana and educated at Bowdoin College and Columbia University. ...

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13. Tinsel Belongs on Christmas Trees

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pp. 152-158

As many a small-town young man before me, when I had finished my college "education," I migrated to the nearest large city to earn my living, in this case, New Orleans. There I became associated with a department store and ultimately was its executive manager. ...

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14. I Leave the Business World

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pp. 159-160

In the summer of 1929, I was in Greece. Many of my countrymen remember that year as one of the unhappiest of their lives, for it marks the beginning of the great economic depression of our times and inaugurated a long season of suffering for most Americans. I recall it, too, for this reason. ...

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15. Eighteenth-Century Chevalier

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pp. 161-182

I first came to know William Alexander Percy, the author of Lanterns on the Levee and of several volumes of verse, when I was a high school student in our hometown of Greenville. A recent Harvard Law School graduate, he was practicing law with his father, who was leader of the Mississippi Bar. ...

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Editor's Afterword: The Rounded Man as Writer

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pp. 183-213

For all his productivity and the breadth of his interests, David Cohn remains best known for his first book, the one that grew from his decision to return to Greenville, where during his two-year "visit" with Will Percy he began "to see with fresh eyes the scenes of my childhood." ...