But Gaillard examines the South from other angles as well--the religious heritage, for example, that once led Flannery O'Connor to write about a "Christ-haunted" South. We meet Billy Graham, the greatest evangelist of his time, who admitted in the course of interviews with Gaillard that his ministry represented a "very narrow gift." There are profiles here of the Southern Baptist renegade Will Campbell and former President Jimmy Carter, whose commitment to his own understanding of Christianity has sometimes led him into controversy. Gaillard writes also about the revealing power of Southern music--how the great Johnny Cash, for example, became a force for reconciliation in America. In the final section of the book we meet some of the characters Gaillard has covered through the years, including John T. Scopes, whose final public appearance Gaillard wrote about as a young reporter in Nashville.
Frye Gaillard writes with poetry in his heart and a mind set on justice. A storyteller in the best Southern tradition, Gaillard has a fine eye for the connectedness of things, usually including music and religion. Here he gives us the measure of the best of the south for an entire generation, from Johnny Cash to Jimmy Carter, from Tipper Gore to Country Queens.
--Susan Ford Wiltshire
..a good time, a good read, and a lot to think about.
--The Journal of Southern History
He does, however, offer wonderful prose and the kind of unshakeable faith in humanity that grows rarer by the day.
These pieces amount to a fresh, non-standard survey of Southern culture over the last 40 years: significant figures who are not well known and new lights on ones who are. It will buck you up, I believe, if you have strong feelings about the South.
--Roy Blount Jr.
Frye Gaillard's latest collection of essays confirms once more that he is one savvy writer on the heartbreaking contradictions of the South.
"Frye Gaillard...has earned a place on the top shelf of interpreters of the recent South."
--Don Noble, Alabama Writers' Forum
...a stellar collection of some of [Gaillard's] finest profiles of various Southerners, garnered from decades of work. Think of it as a sort of Frye's Greatest Hits, as this collection is one of his very best.
--John Grooms, creativeloafing.com
Frye Gaillard tells the truth at all costs, confronting racism head on, explicating Southern music better than anybody else in the world, presenting indelible (and often surprising) portraits of everybody from Marshall Chapman to Billy Graham, Tipper Gore to Johnny Cash. Rigorous integrity and generous, graceful writing characterize this fine book.
Gaillard also isn't afraid to confront the difficult side of what it means to be Southern.
--The Decatur Daily