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Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest

Fifty Pieces from the Road

Curtis Wilkie

Writing as a newspaper reporter for nearly forty years, Curtis Wilkie covered eight presidential campaigns, spent years in the Middle East, and traveled to a number of conflicts abroad. However, his memory keeps turning home and many of his most treasured stories transpire in the Deep South. He called his native Mississippi, “the gift that keeps on giving.” For Wilkie, it represented a trove of rogues and racists, colorful personalities and outlandish politicians who managed to thrive among people otherwise kind and generous.

Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest collects news dispatches and feature stories from the author during a journalism career that began in 1963 and lasted until 2000. As a young reporter for the Clarksdale Press Register, he wrote many articles that dealt with the civil rights movement, which dominated the news in the Mississippi Delta during the 1960s.Wilkie spent twenty-six years as a national and foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe. One of the original “Boys on the Bus” (the title of a best-selling book about journalists covering the 1972 presidential campaign), he later wrote extensively about the winning races of two southern Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Wilkie is known for stories reported deeply, rife with anecdotes, physical descriptions, and important background details. He writes about the notorious, such as the late Hunter S. Thompson, as well as more anonymous subjects whose stories, in his hands, have enduring interest. The anthology collects pieces about several notable southerners: Ross Barnett; Byron De La Beckwith and Sam Bowers; Billy Carter; Edwin Edwards and David Duke; Trent Lott; and Charles Evers. Wilkie brings a perceptive eye to people and events, and his eloquent storytelling represents some of the best journalistic writing.

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The Atlas of New Librarianship

R. David Lankes

An essential guide to a librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning.

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Barry Bingham

A Man of His Word

Barry Bingham

Barry Bingham, Sr., was one of this country's most influential journalists. Under his half-century of leadership, the Louisville Courier-Journal became one of America's leading newspapers, as attested by six Pulitzer Prizes. In this illuminating oral history, Samuel Thomas weaves together excerpts from more than a dozen interviews with Bingham, along with selections from his writings and comments by his wife, Mary Caperton Bingham.

Barry Bingham's influence was voiced principally through newspaper journalism, but, besides owning the Courier-Journal and its evening companion, the Louisville Times, the family enterprises included WHAS radio and television and Standard Gravure Corporation, which also produced Sunday supplements for dozens of newspapers. Bingham's enterprises laid on the doorsteps of Kentuckians, and brought to them over the airwaves, insightful reporting and examination of state and local matters as well as in-depth coverage of national and world events.

Bingham espoused many causes, including mental health, military preparedness, press freedom, and liberal politics. He championed civil rights, the performing arts, better education, historic preservation, and land conservation.

By training and predilection, Bingham was first and foremost a writer, but he was equally articulate as a conversationalist and public speaker. His recorded interviews, excerpted here, are clear and concise, expressive and informative. From these selections emerges a portrait of a man of extraordinary vision who used his wealth and power for the good of his community, his state, and his nation.

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Battling Nell

The Life of Southern Journalist Cornelia Battle Lewis, 1893–1956

Alexander S. Leidholdt

A longtime columnist for the Raleigh News and Observer, Cornelia Battle Lewis earned a national reputation in the 1920s and 1930s for her courageous advocacy on behalf of women’s rights, African Americans, children, and labor unions. Late in her life, however, after fighting mental illness, Lewis reversed many of her stances and railed against the liberalism she had spent her life advancing. In Battling Nell, Alexander S. Leidholdt tells the compelling and ultimately tragic life story of this groundbreaking journalist against the backdrop of the turbulent post-Reconstruction Jim Crow South and speculates about the cause of her extraordinary transformation. The daughter of North Carolina’s most prominent public health official, Lewis grew up in Raleigh, but her experiences at Smith College in Massachusetts, and later in France during World War I, led her to question the prevailing racial attitudes and gender roles of her native region. In 1920, Lewis began her storied career with the News and Observer. Inspired by H. L. Mencken’s scathing criticism of the South, she soon established herself as the region’s leading female liberal journalist. Her column, “Incidentally,” attacked the Ku Klux Klan, lobbied against the exploitation of mill workers, defended strikers during the notorious communist-organized Gastonia labor violence, mocked religious fundamentalists who fought the teaching of evolution, and decried lynch law. A suffragist and a feminist who saw women’s rights as inextricably linked to human rights, Lewis ran for state legislature in 1928 and was one of the first women in North Carolina to be admitted to the bar. In the 1930s, however, Lewis faced repeated institutionalizations for a debilitating bout of mental illness and sought treatment from Christian Science practitioners, spiritualists, and psychotherapists. As she aged, her views grew increasingly reactionary, and she insisted that she had served as a communist dupe during the Gastonia strike and trials, that communists had infiltrated the University of North Carolina, and that many of her former progressive allies had ties to communism. Finally, many of her opinions completely reversed, and in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, she served as an influential spokesperson for the South’s massive resistance to public school desegregation. She continued to espouse these conservative beliefs until her death in 1956. In his detailed retelling of Lewis’s fascinating life, Leidholdt chronicles the turbulent history of North Carolina from the 1920s through the 1950s, as industrialization and racial integration began to tear at the region’s conservative fabric. He vividly explains the background and ramifications of Lewis’s many controversial stances and explores the possible reasons for her ideological about-face. Through the extraordinary story of “Battling Nell,” Leidholdt reveals how the complex issues of gender, labor, and race intertwined to influence the convulsive events that shaped the course of early twentieth-century southern history.

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The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012

Edited by George Getschow

This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2012 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States. First place winner: Eli Saslow,“Life of a Salesman,” published by the Washington Post, is about a Manassas, Va., swimming pool salesman experiencing the unraveling of his decades-long success story. Second place: Kelley Benham, “Never Let Go,” published by the Tampa Bay Times, is her personal account of the months following the birth of her premature daughter. Third place: Anne Hull, “Breaking Free,” published by the Washington Post, traces a teenage girl’s climb out of poverty as she prepares for college. Runner-ups include: John Branch, “The Day a Mountain Moved” (New York Times); Dan Barry, “Donna’s Diner: In the Hard Fall of a Favorite Son, a Reminder of a City’s Scars” (New York Times); Rosalind Bentley, “The Nation’s Poet” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution); Mark Johnson, “I Boy” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Monica Rhor, “Homelessness” (Houston Chronicle); Louis Hansen, “The Girl Who Took Down the Gang” (Virginian-Pilot); and Martin Kuz, “Soldiers Recount 60-Second Attack That Left Them Reflecting on Life and Death” (Stars and Stripes).

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The Best American Newspaper Narratives, Volume 2

Edited by George Getschow

This anthology collects the twelve winners of the 2013 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest, run by the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The event is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States. First place winner: Eli Saslow, "Into the Lonely Quiet" (Washington Post), follows the family of a 7-year-old victim of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, six months after the shooting. Second place: Eric Moskowitz, "Marathon Carjacking" (Boston Globe), is the story of "Danny," who was carjacked by the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing three days after the bombing. Third place: Mark Johnson, "The Course of Their Lives" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), an account of first-year medical students as they take a human dissection course. Runners-up include Christopher Goffard, "The Manhunt" (Los Angeles Times); Stephanie McCrummen, "Wait--You Described It as a Cloudy Feeling?" (Washington Post); Michael M. Phillips, "The Lobotomy Files" (Wall Street Journal); Aaron Applegate, "Taken Under" (Virginian-Pilot); Meg Kissinger, "A Mother, at Her Wits' End" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Michael Kruse, "The Last Voyage of the Bounty" (Tampa Bay Times); Shaun McKinnon, "Alone on the Hill" (Arizona Republic); Mike Newall, "Almost Justice" (Philadelphia Inquirer); and Sarah Schweitzer, "Together, Despite All" (Boston Globe).

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The Best American Newspaper Narratives, Volume 3

Edited by Gayle Reaves

This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2014 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest, run by the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. The event is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States. First place winner: Dan Barry, "The Boys in the Bunkhouse," published by The New York Times, exposed thirty years of physical and mental abuse of intellectually disabled men living in an Iowa group home. Second place: Christopher Goffard, "The Favor," published by the Los Angeles Times, describes the plea bargain sentence of the son of a former California assembly speaker, after the son pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and whose prison sentence was later reduced by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Third place: Stephanie McCrummen, "A Father’s Scars," published by the Washington Post, about a Virginia state senator one year after he was stabbed multiple times by his mentally ill son before the son killed himself. Runners-up include Nathan Bomey, John Gallagher and Mark Stryker, "How Detroit was Reborn" (Detroit Free Press); Monica Hesse, "Love and Fire" (Washington Post); Sarah Schweitzer, "Chasing Bayla" (Boston Globe); Sarah Kleiner Varble, "Then the Walls Closed In" (The Virginian Pilot); Joanne Kimberlin and Janie Bryant, "Dangerous Minds" (The Virginian Pilot); Molly Harbarger, "Fred Nelligan" (The Oregonian); and Mark Johnson, "Murray's Problem" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

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The Best American Newspaper Narratives, Volume 4

Edited by Gayle Reaves

This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2016 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, an event hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. First place winner: Stephanie McCrummen, “An American Void” (The Washington Post), focused on the friends of the alleged murderer of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, North Carolina. Second place: Christopher Goffard, “Fleeing Syria: The Choice” (Los Angeles Times), is about a former dressmaker from Syria gaining asylum in Sweden for her family, but her husband and children were still in Turkey. Third place: Sarah Schweitzer, “The Life and Times of Strider Wolf” (Boston Globe), documented the difficult life of a six-year-old boy and his brother, who were rescued from near-fatal abuse and sent to live with their grandparents in campgrounds in Maine. Runners-up include Cynthia Hubert, “Genny’s World” (Sacramento Bee); Michael M. Phillips, “Inside an FBI Hostage Crisis” (The Wall Street Journal); Mark Johnson, “Patient, Surgeon Work Together” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Howard Reich, “Norman Malone’s Quest” (Chicago Tribune); John Woodrow Cox, “Telling JJ” (The Washington Post); Maria Cramer, “The Boy Who Burned Inside” (Boston Globe); and Gina Barton, “Unsolved: A Murdered Teen, a 40-year Mystery” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

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Beyond the Checkpoint

Visual Practices in America's Global War on Terror

Rebecca A. Adelman

Since the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil, American citizenship has been redefined by the visual images associated with the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Rebecca A. Adelman contends that, in viewing images such as security footage of the 9/11 hijackers, film portrayals of the attacks and subsequent wars, memorials commemorating the attacks, and even graphics associated with increased security in airports, American citizens have been recast as militarized spectators, brought together through the production, circulation, and consumption of these visual artifacts. Beyond the Checkpoint reveals that the visual is essential to the prosecution of the GWOT domestically and abroad, and that it functions as a crucial mechanism in the ongoing formation of the U.S. state itself and an essential component of contemporary American citizenship. Tracing the connections between citizenship and spectatorship, and moving beyond the close reading of visual representations, this book focuses on the institutions and actors that create, monitor, and regulate the visual landscape of the GWOT. Adelman looks around and through common images to follow the complex patterns of practice by which institutions and audiences engage them in various contexts. In the process, she proposes a new methodology for studying visual cultures of conflict, and related phenomena like violence, terror, and suffering that are notoriously difficult to represent. Attending to previously unanalyzed dimensions of this conflict, this book illustrates the complexity of GWOT visual culture and the variegated experiences of citizenship that result as Americans navigate this terrain.

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Bohemian New Orleans

The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press

In 1960, Jon Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb founded Loujon Press on Royal Street in New Orleans's French Quarter. The small publishing house quickly became a giant. Heralded by the Village Voice and the New York Times as one of the best of its day, the Outsider, the press's literary review, featured, among others, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and Walter Lowenfels. Loujon published books by Henry Miller and two early poetry collections by Bukowski. Bohemian New Orleans traces the development of this courageous imprint and examines its place within the small press revolution of the 1960s. Drawing on correspondence from many who were published in the Outsider, back issues of the Outsider, contemporary reviews, promotional materials, and interviews, Jeff Weddle shows how the press's mandarin insistence on production quality and its eclectic editorial taste made its work nonpareil among peers in the underground. Throughout, Bohemian New Orleans reveals the messy, complex, and vagabond spirit of a lost literary age. Jeff Weddle is assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama. His work has appeared in Publishing History and Beat Scene. Learn about Director Wayne Ewing's documentary film "The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press" and watch a trailer at http://www.loujonpress.com/

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