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Crackers: A Southern Memoir

By author: Bill Merritt
Product Code: P529
ISBN: 9780881465723
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $18.00

Bill Merritt grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War. A joyously unreconstructed Southerner, he looks on with amazement as Atlanta changes from a sleepy Southern town into the City Too Busy to Hate. This was the time of Martin Luther King and Ivan Allen, but also the time of Lester Maddox, the Temple Bombing, great moral certainties, Elvis, Klan rallies, the Cuban Missile Crisis, a corrupt political system keeping some of America’s finest statesmen in office (some since the Teddy Roosevelt administration), and a man named Armstrong walking on the moon. Merritt’s family is eccentric and colorful, occasionally courageous, often self-centered. This is the story of how the government took the land they’d lived on for nine generations to use as a place to brew poison gas during World War II, then changed it to Redstone Arsenal to build rockets to the moon. It is the story of how the family was caught up in the Orly Air Crash, the Vietnam War, and the emotional fallout from a Cuban whose family had been murdered by Che Guevara. It is the story of the way the Civil Rights Revolution looked to Southerners: to decent people trying to honor their heritage while realizing the time had come to let go of parts of that heritage, and how difficult that letting go was made by the outsiders who most wanted change. This is the story the way Southerners remember it—and tell each other.
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Review by: Idgie, Dew on the Kudzu - August 22, 2016
It's always so interesting to hear true account stories of our past. Nothing like getting the information from someone who actually lived those experiences, thoughts and feelings. A great book for the Southern recent history buff.
Review by: Sam Hynes, author of THE UNSUBSTANTIAL AIR - July 1, 2016
Some twenty years ago Bill Merritt wrote one of the permanently valuable memoirs of the Vietnam War, WHERE THE RIVERS RAN BACKWARDS. Now he has written another, very different memoir that is just as good. At its simplest, CRACKERS is the recollections of a boy growing up in Atlanta in the troubled years between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Vietnam War. Whether the Merritts were typical Atlantans of that time I don't know (for the sake of Atlanta I hope not), but they are endlessly interesting and entertaining. And, finally and perhaps most importantly, CRACKERS is a book about being Southern—unrepentantly, obstinately Southern, remembering The Confederacy, the battles of the Civil War, and Reconstruction—regardless of what we Yankees may think. Merritt tells that story in a Southern voice, comically and lyrically so, with a touch of the good ole boy in it. CRACKERS is a beautifully written, totally engaging book.
Review by: Kathy Bradley, author of WONDERING TOWARD CENTER and BREATHING AND WALKING AROUND - July 1, 2016
What strikes me about CRACKERS as being quintessentially Southern is the author’s ability to describe the most poignant, even heartbreaking, moments with wry humor—that singular trait which has enabled the South and Southerners to endure.

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