30 April 2010

What I'm Reading - For Those Who Care


Leonard Lanier said...

I hope you realize that "Forrest Carter" is a pseudonym for Asa Carter, the Klan leader who also served as a speechwriter for George Wallace. He's the one that gave us the infamous lines "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Just thought you should know, if you didn't already.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You "hope I realize?" What is that supposed to mean? Yes, I knew that. Are you aware the 25th anniversary edition was republished by the University of New Mexico Press? Are you also aware that the book has received almost universal recommendations from journalists, historians, and academics?

The Atlantic says:

“Some of it is sad, some of it is hilarious, some of it is unbelievable, and all of it is charming.”

Please explain the point of your comment. Should I refuse to read the speeches of Abraham Lincoln because of his views on race?

MSimons said...

I agree there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water!
Over the years I have read Hilters book, and others that I don't agree with. If I stopped reading things I didn't agree with I would not read half the blogs on the CW.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


The book is considered to be a Southern classic. It's been on my list for quite a while.

Leonard Lanier said...

Mr. Williams,

You frequently mention on your blog that readers need to know and understand the ideological background of authors. You even expressed sympathy for writers that openly acknowledge their political allegiance.

Not only did the author of “The Education of Little Tree” conceal his political affiliation, he created an entirely new persona to hide his identity. Furthermore, Carter falsely sold the book as an autobiographical memoir of his life as a poor orphan in the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, Carter grew up in a solidly middle-class white family on the outskirts of Anniston, Alabama.

Despite your readers' suppositions, I’m not discouraging you from reading the book. I read the novel as a high-school student in North Carolina and enjoyed its story. However, as you have expressed with regard to other authors, knowing Carter’s background brings an entirely new meaning to the book.

For more background on Carter and the controversy surrounding “The Education of Little Tree,” see the article “The Transformation of a Klansman,” written by noted southern historian Dan T. Carter.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mr. Lanier:

I'm fully aware of the controversy surrounding the author. Some have opined that Carter's apparent change of heart (as expressed by the story in the book) was purely phony and hypocritical. Others have suggested that it was, in fact, a true change of heart. I simply want to read the book because of the reviews and the fact it deals with subjects that interest me: Southern/Native-American culture and Appalachia. Nothing more, nothing less.

I responded the way I did because I took the tone of your comment as rather condescending. Thanks for clarifying.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mr. Lanier:

Somewhat off topic from the post, but I wanted to respond to this comment:

"You even expressed sympathy for writers that openly acknowledge their political allegiance."

Of course, I much prefer writers who admit their allegiance rather than those who attempt to hide it or suggest that they are somehow totally objective in their interpretation of history. Interesting that this should come up as Genovese addressed that very issue in the other book I mentioned here and am reading. I'll post something on that at some point in the future.

13thBama said...

I can't speak for Mr. Carter, but having grown up in Alabama, I can say that the man who spoke "Segregation today..." had a change of heart.

The Washington Post said "He carried the increasingly important black vote and eventually acknowledged that his racial politics of the past had been wrong."

Resource - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/sept98/wallace15.htm