RR: Rivals fry up Mississippi politics

December 26th, 2008 by Perry

This week in Reasonably Right, I write about a new addition to the storied ranks of Mississippi political books.  Here are some excerpts, but for the best parts, you’ve got to read the book.

If you like politics battered Southern style with humor and jocularity, stop by the bookstore when you exchange gifts and pick up “Mississippi Fried Politics: Tall Tales from the Back Rooms” by Jere Nash and Andy Taggart.

You can read about the time WLBT’s Bert Case and his cameraman caught legislators at a pool party with whiskey and women, and how that broadcast ended his relationship with Speaker of the House Buddy Newman. The book includes the curious story of how former NAACP leader Aaron Henry interceded to help former Gov. Ross Barnett check-in to a resistant Washington, D.C. hotel. Find out about how an irate good ole boy from Itawamba County confronted Gov. Bill Waller because he was sure the dog pictured in the Waller family Christmas card actually belonged to him. Mississippi oratory recounted includes Soggy Sweat’s whiskey speech, Fannie Lou Hamer’s Freedom Democratic Party convention testimony, and a transcript of the conversation between President John F. Kennedy and Gov. Barnett that began with riots in Oxford and ended with thanks for supporting poultry programs.

Nash and Taggart recount 120 anecdotes over 232 pages. Photographs of memorable Mississippi moments flavor the book including the cover shot of Gov. Cliff Finch and Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Harland Sanders, from which comes the title.

With vignette titles like “Scounelbooger,” “Never kiss the ground when the governor is looking,” and “Cuba & Ole Miss,”…

Of interest to Mississippi political readers, is also the news that their previous book, “Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2006,” will so be released in a second edition with new chapters covering politics in 2007 and 2008.  I also mentioned a few other Mississippi political books on the shelves or soon to be released.

Recent years have witnessed the publication of “Amidst the Fray: My Life in Politics, Culture, and Mississippi” by William D. Mounger and Joe Maxwell, “Straight Ahead: The Memoirs of a Mississippi Governor” by Bill Waller, and “The Measure of Our Days: Writings of William F. Winter” by Winter and Andrew Mullins. Two more books by founders of the modern Mississippi Republican Party are in works with Nash assisting Clark Reed of Greenville, and Maxwell assisting Wirt Yerger of Jackson.

Combine those above with the Erle Johnston trilogy - “I Rolled With Ross,” “Politics Mississippi Style” and “Mississippi’s Defiant Years 1953-1973” - and other recent books by Mississippi politicos - Trent Lott’s “Herding Cats: A Life in Politics,” “Twice Told Tombigbee Tales” by Judge Michael Mills as well as two books I was honored to assist with, “Supreme Chaos: The Politics of Judicial Confirmation & the Culture War” and “A Price Too High: The Judiciary in Jeopardy” both by Charles Pickering - and a student of Mississippi politics has a book a month for 2009 to read and get the inside scoop on governors, senators and judges.

But, to get started, pick up a copy of “Mississippi Fried Politics” as a political appetizer

You can read the full column at the Madison County Journal online: Perry/Taggart, Nash fry up Mississippi politics


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