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A Memoir of Farm and Family
Jo McDougall brings a poet’s sensibility to memoir. Recounting five generations of Delta rice farmers, through family archives and oral histories, she traces how the clan made their way into the fabric of America, beginning with her Belgian-immigrant grandfather, a pioneer rice farmer on the Arkansas Delta at the turn of the twentieth century. As John Grisham has for a 1950s Arkansas cotton farm, McDougall illuminates an Arkansas rice farm in the 1930s and 1940s. The Garot family’s acreage near DeWitt and the town itself provide the stage for McDougall’s wry, compelling, and layered account of the day-to-day of rice growing on the farm that her father inherited. In that setting she discovers a rich “universe of words” in the Great Depression, comes of age during World War II, and finds her way alongside “that whole quirky, compelling cast of characters” that comprised her kin. In this conflicted, ironic, southern-but-universal account of betrayal, heartbreak, loss, and joy, “the vagaries and the grace” of the land join forces with the power of money as family bonds are both forged and dissolved. Deeply felt, unsentimental, and often humorous, Daddy’s Money presents McDougall’s life and the lives of her relatives in the way that all our lives are eventually framed—as stories. “When all else is lost,” the author maintains, “the stories remain.”
The World War II Love Letters of Sgt. Leland Duvall
Leland Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school education when he received his World War II draft notice at his father’s farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March 1942. He departed for training in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville girl he’d had a crush on for several years. From the first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably heartfelt missives—utterly tender but never sentimental, reliably charming and gently humorous—written daily from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars, and bombed-out buildings. That Duvall’s writing is a tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught. The letters, discovered by Duvall’s daughter after his death, are here enriched by his longtime friend and colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles, information that was often missing in dispatches that were necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall’s effort not to bore or worry his “dearest Letty.” Duvall’s lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through on every page, joining the patina of the era and the bright shine of a timeless love affai.
Civil War Stories and a Novella
Dramatically compelling and historically informed, The Death of a Confederate Colonel takes us into the lives of those left behind during the Civil War. These stories, all with Arkansas settings, are filled with the trauma of the time.
Historic Decisions by Arkansas Governors from McMath through Huckabee
Defining Moments explores how all Arkansas governors since Sid McMath (a group that has produced a president, two U.S. senators, and two presidential contenders) acted in times of crisis. These ten exceptional leaders stand out in Arkansas history and politics for having had their personal and political mettle tested by issues concerning education, the environment, social justice, the conduct of politics, race, and more of the nation’s defining debates. The governors and situations covered include Sid McMath’s bout with the Dixiecrats; Francis Cherry’s ploy to label his opponent a Communist; Orval Faubus’s decision to block integration at Little Rock Central High; Winthrop Rockefeller’s tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on the State Capitol steps; Dale Bumpers’s battle against political corruption; David Pryor’s veto of the U.S. Corps of Engineers’s Bell Folley Dam; Frank White’s endorsement of Creationism; Bill Clinton’s decision to test public school teachers; Jim Guy Tucker’s bold solution for the Medicaid program and his resignation; and Mike Huckabee’s quest to consolidate the state’s high school districts.
Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro
On November 3, 1979, five protest marchers in Greensboro, North Carolina, were shot and killed by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party. There were no police present, but television crews captured the shootings on video. Despite two criminal trials, none of the killers ever served time for their crimes, exposing what many believed to be the inadequacy of judicial, political, and economic systems in the United States. Twenty-five years later, in 2004, Greensboro residents, inspired by post-apartheid South Africa, initiated a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to take public testimony and examine the causes, sequence of events, and consequences of the massacre. The TRC was to be a process and a tool by which citizens could feel confident about the truth of the city’s history in order to reconcile divergent understandings of past and current city values, and it became the foundation for the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States. Spoma Jovanovic, who worked alongside other community members to document the grassroots effort to convene the first TRC in the United States, provides a resource and case study of how citizens in one community used their TRC as a way to understand the past and conceive the future. This book preserves the historical significance of a people’s effort to seek truth and work for reconciliation, shows a variety of discourse models for other communities to use in seeking to redress past harms, and demonstrates the power of community action to promote participatory democracy.
Positioned along the legendary Southwest Trail, the town of Washington in Hempstead County in southwest Arkansas was a thriving center of commerce, business, and county government in the nineteenth century. Historical figures such as Davy Crockett and Sam Houston passed through, and during the Civil War, when the Federal troops occupied Little Rock, the Hempstead County Courthouse in Washington served as the seat of state government. A prosperous town fully involved in the events and society of the territorial, antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras, Washington became in a way frozen in time by a series of events including two fires, a tornado, and being bypassed by the railroad in 1874. Now an Arkansas State Park and National Historic Landmark, Washington has been studied by the Arkansas Archeological Survey over the past twenty-five years. Digging for History at Old Washington joins the historical record with archaeological findings such as uncovered construction details, evidence of lost buildings, and remnants of everyday objects. Of particular interest are the homes of Abraham Block, a Jewish merchant originally from New Orleans, and Simon Sanders from North Carolina, who became the town’s county clerk. The public and private lives of the Block and Sanders families provide a fascinating look at an antebellum town at the height of its prosperity.
An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction
The first edition of Dinarzad’s Children was a groundbreaking and popular anthology that brought to light the growing body of short fiction being written by Arab Americans. This expanded edition includes sixteen new stories —thirty in all—and new voices and is now organized into sections that invite readers to enter the stories from a variety of directions. Here are stories that reveal the initial adjustments of immigrants, the challenges of forming relationships, the political nuances of being Arab American, the vision directed towards homeland, and the ongoing search for balance and identity. The contributors are D. H. Melhem, Mohja Khaf, Rabih Alameddine, Rawi Hage, Laila Halaby, Patricia Sarrafian Ward, Alia Yunis, Diana Abu Jaber, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Samia Serageldin, Alia Yunis, Joseph Geha, May Monsoor Munn, Frances Khirallah Nobel, Nabeel Abraham, Yussef El Guindi, Hedy Habra, Randa Jarrar, Zahie El Kouri, Amal Masri, Sahar Mustafah, Evelyn Shakir, David Williams, Pauline Kaldas, and Khaled Mattawa.
This powerful first collection and winner of the inaugural $5,000 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize is literally rooted in the earth and in the world of animal husbandry. You can taste these poems about life on a family dairy farm in your mouth. In these lyrical poems we meet a closeted young man, his parents, their herd, and the other flora, fauna, and objects that populate his surreal garden.
Fifty Years of Southern Poetry Review
This substantial anthology charts the development of this influential journal decade by decade, making clear that although it has close ties to a particular region, it has consistently maintained a national scope, publishing poets from all over the United States. SPR’s goal has been to celebrate the poem above all, so although there are poems by major poets here, there are many gems by less famous, perhaps even obscure, writers too. Here are 183 poems by nearly as many poets, from A. R. Ammons, Kathryn Stripling Byer, James Dickey, Mark Doty, Claudia Emerson, David Ignatow, and Carolyn Kizer to Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Denise Levertov, Howard Nemerov, Sharon Olds, Linda Pastan, and Charles Wright.
The Jones Family Farm in the Arkansas Delta 1848–2006
In telling the story of five generations of her family and its farm in the Arkansas Delta, Margaret Jones Bolsterli brings together her own research, historical perspective, and family lore as it reaches her from the days of her great-grandfather down to her nephew. The result is a family saga that is at once universal and personal, historical and timeless. During Wind and Rain moves from the land’s acquisition in 1848 through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1927 Flood, the Great Depression, and the drought of 1930 to the modern considerations of mechanization, fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. The transformation of dense swamp and forest to today’s commercial agriculture is the story of two hundred acres worked by people sowing their fate with sweat, ingenuity, and luck. From the hoes of Bolsterli’s great-grandfather Uriah’s time to her nephew Casey’s machinery capable of cultivating an acre in five minutes, During Wind and Rain poignantly portrays five generations of farmers motivated by dreams of “a crop so good that the memory of it can warm the drafty floors of adversity for the rest of one's life.”