Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers

Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers

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By Hal Crowther

Forthcoming from BLAIR October 09, 2018

“Hal Crowther hunts with live ammunition.” —Bill Moyers

“It is a rare man who possesses both a passionate conscience and a brilliant wit. Crowther’s conscience compels him to distinguish right from wrong, to honor the right, and to decry the wrong.” —Annie Dillard, forward to Unarmed but Dangerous

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"I don't have any children, so I've decided to claim all the future freedom-fighters and hell-raisers as my kin," wrote journalist Molly Ivins. Ivins is one of the biggest hell-raisers profiled in this collection of essays by Hal Crowther, but there is plenty hell-raising and freedom-fighting go around. Crowther is a writer whose own career is marked by sharp political and social commentary in the pages of national and regional outlets, from Time to the Atlanta Constitution to The Oxford American. In this collection, he turns his attention to the best and the brightest of the recently departed generation in the South.

These essays commemorate the passing of iconic Southern figures such as John Hope Franklin, Doc Watson, Judy Bonds, and James Dickey. Crowther has known most of the folks he profiles and has lived in their particular landscape for decades; he has some stories to tell, and he does so with a particular appreciation for his subjects’ accomplishments, their surroundings, and even, in the case of politicos Jesse Helms and George Wallace, their particular brand of notoriousness. Novelist and commentator Silas House, author of Southernmost and A Parchment of Leaves, introduces the collection.


Hal Crowther author photo.png

Hal Crowther is a journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Oxford American, Granta, the Independent, the Progressive Populist, and other independent weeklies around the country. He is the author of four books of essays: An Infuriating American: The Incendiary Arts of H.L. Mencken; Gather at the River; Cathedrals of Kudzu; and Unarmed but Dangerous: A Withering Attack on All Things Phony, Foolish, and Fundamentally Wrong with America Today. Crowther is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Lillian Smith Book Award, and the Book of the Year award for essays from Foreward Reviews. He has been named a finalist for the Magazine Award and for the National Book Critics Circle prize for criticism and for nonfiction. He lives in Hillsborough, NC, with his wife, novelist Lee Smith.