FERRIDAY, LOUISIANA

In the chatty, breezy style of her Elvis and Gladys (1985), Dundy explores the history and character of the small southern town that has produced the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gen. Claire Chennault, and newscaster Howard K. Smith. What is it about Ferriday that can bring forth from a population of 5,000 these varied celebrities, plus blues trombonist Pee Wee Whittaker and country-and-western singer Mickey Gilley? Dundy examines the early Spanish and French influences; the town's integral relationship to Natchez, Tenn.; the role of the plantations and the Civil War; and the tremendous influence of Leona Sumrall—founder in the late 1930's of the Assembly of God Church—whose evangelical fervor has passed from one generation to another. The author provides some insight by contrasting the differing motivations of 18-century governor Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos and of his assistant, Don Jose Vidal. Gayoso de Lemos's need for personal glory was inseparable from the glory of Spain, whereas the ambitious Vidal felt little need for personal glory—just personal property. One was a colonialist, the other was an entrepreneur, and, according to Dundy, both are keys to the heritage of Ferriday. Among other factors, Dundy also wants to credit ``telluric'' forces, a term physicists ascribe to an area whose subsurface is unnaturally high in flowing electrical currents. She is more at home in discussing pop figure Lewis and his two cousins (Swaggart and Gilley) and the familial and social influences that brought them to notoriety, but that is ground rather well trod. More discussion of Chennault and Smith would have been welcome, and Whittaker's life in music, which spans nearly eight decades, calls for considerable amplification. Intriguing, but incomplete and inconclusive. (Fifteen photographs.)

Pub Date: June 13, 1991

ISBN: 1-55611-144-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Donald Fine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1991

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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