Burial for a King
In Burial for a King: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Funeral and the Week That Transformed Atlanta and Rocked the Nation
(Scribner), Rebecca Burns returns to the treacherous intersection of race, religion, and politics that is at the heart of this city’s history. The book keeps a tight focus on the week following King’s assassination in April 1968. Shifting sharply between disparate locations—from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to the Georgia State Capitol, from the Spelman College campus to the FBI’s office in Washington—Burns re-creates the week in intricate detail, careful not to lose small moments of humanity in the grand sweep of history. “On that Tuesday morning, no one in City Hall could predict how the day would unfold,” Burns writes. “All of the racial tension of the past centuries replayed at fast speed.” Governor Lester Maddox was a grotesque caricature of Old South fear and loathing, while media-savvy Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. marshaled an unlikely alliance of police, religious leaders, businessmen, and activists that kept Atlanta calm even as racial violence broke out in dozens of other cities. Burns first wrote about King’s funeral in an oral history article for Atlanta
magazine in April 2008, when she was editor in chief. She now serves as director of digital strategy for the magazine’s corporate parent, Emmis Publishing. For this book, she interviewed dozens of people who participated in the events of 1968 and also drew from memoirs, biographies, presidential transcripts, and archival material ranging from the King Center to Emory’s rare-manuscript collection. The result is a skillfully distilled, understated history.>> Watch the trailer for Burial for a King
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(University of South Carolina Press)
After years of preparing for this delightful literary pilgrimage, William W. Starr spent his first hour on Scottish soil stuck on a traffic roundabout that kept taking him back to the Edinburgh Airport. Eventually, Starr made a 3,000-mile, seventy-two-day trek across the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, following the path—in reverse—that James Boswell and Samuel Johnson had taken more than two centuries earlier. In 1773, Johnson was England’s preeminent author, and Boswell would soon become a literary superstar in his own right. Starr, a native of Atlanta and longtime newspaperman, has been executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book since 2003. His boundless enthusiasm for all things Scottish—the castles, the single malts, even the famously soggy weather—is infectious, and his erudition is leavened quite nicely with self-deprecating wit. Wisely, he quotes his “brilliant companions,” Boswell and Johnson, liberally throughout.
by Karen Abbott
Former Atlantan Karen Abbott follows up her brothel-busting Sin in the Second City
with another irresistible slice of American history at its bawdiest. On the 100th anniversary of Gypsy Rose Lee’s birth, Abbott brings the upscale stripper to life, with a stellar supporting cast including Harry Houdini, Franklin Roosevelt, and Fanny Brice.All That's True
by Jackie Lee Miles
In the latest novel by longtime Atlantan Jackie Lee Miles, set in the fall of 1991, thirteen-year-old Andi St. James’s brother dies in a freak hazing accident, her sister is left at the altar, her mother is drinking too much, and her father is having an affair with her best friend’s stepmother. Coming of age has never been so exhausting.Beautiful Disaster
by Laura Spinella
Laura Spinella, a graduate of the University of Georgia who now lives in Massachusetts, uses her college town as the setting for her debut novel, a graceful tale of young love, lost love, and recovered love.
Photograph courtesy of Jim Peppler Southern Courier Collection, Alabama Department of Archives and History