“This Vast Southern Empire,” by Matthew Karp

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Few today would recognize the name George Washington Lafayette Bickley. He lived an adventurous life which included practicing medicine in Virginia although there’s evidence he lacked the credentials. His larger interests were Southern; in the late 1850s he traveled throughout the South promoting a militia campaign to seize Mexico. A […]

“One Good Mama Bone,” by Bren McClain

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl To begin: This is a book about a woman who talks to a cow and comes to believe she can learn some things from the cow, Big Mama Red, whose child is a steer named Lucky. The woman is Sarah Creamer and the novel is set in the 1950s in […]

“Forsaken,” by Ross Howell Jr.

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl American Experience is a television history series covering a range of people and events in American history, documentaries which bring to life compelling stories that inform our understanding of America. We have to imagine timelines: March 25, 1931, a fight breaks out between white and black young men riding as […]

February Read of the Month: “Kiss of the Jewel Bird,” by Dale Cramer

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl All things being equal: Possessed by spiritual dissatisfaction, or a hunger for knowledge or mastery, Faust makes a pact with the devil. It’s an old legend, of course, with tales told as early as the 1500s, and the stuff of drama, Marlowe and Goethe, and then Thomas Mann. The Faustian […]

“Rise and Shine,” by Johnathan Scott Barrett

  Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Our late friend Bill Borland was from Eudora, Arkansas; he loved to cook gumbos and such and hush puppies. Once, before we were on our way to his home for dinner, my wife asked me what a hush puppy was and I said cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking […]

“Watershed Days,” by Thorpe Moeckel

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl One might be at a loss with this book absent some context, but even with context one might still be at a loss. Mr. Moeckel’s book covers some two years of occasional vignettes, an even dozen from 2005-2006 and another even dozen from 2006-2007: adventures of a sort. The vignettes, […]

“South of the Etowah,” by Raymond L. Atkins

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The “Etowah” in the title to Raymond L. Atkins’s recently published book refers to a 164-mile-long waterway rising in northwest Georgia to begin flowing south and then west through Rome, Georgia. If one had the interest, one might build a raft and, Huckleberry-like, float along through Alabama down to Mobile […]

“A Sensory History of the Civil War,” by Mark M. Smith

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl There’s an online collection now providing access to over 7,000 different photographic views and portraits made during the American Civil War.  The images represent the original glass plate negatives photographed under the supervision of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner. The images are powerful: the dead about to be interred at […]