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September September
Foote, Shelby.
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New York : Random House, [1978]

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In September 1957 the South is mesmerized by events in Little Rock, Arkansas, whose governor has called out the National Guard as part of his attempt to halt the integration of Central High School. And in Memphis, two white men and a white woman are planning to capitalize on the confrontation between the races by kidnapping the grandson of a wealthy black entrepreneur and pinning the crime on white supremacists. The problem is that Podjo, Rufus, and Reeny have only an amateur's understanding of what a kidnapping entails -- and a total, terrifying incomprehension of their victims. In September September a magisterial historian of the Civil War charts its distant repercussions in the streets of the contemporary South. By turns wryly comic, ribald, and chilling, Shelby Foote's novel is at once a convincing thriller and a powerful tragicomedy of race. September September has been adapted by Larry McMurtry for the Turner Network Television film Memphis, starring Cybill Shepherd.

Author Notes

Author and historian Shelby Foote was born in Greenville, Mississippi on November 17, 1916. He was educated at the University of North Carolina and served with the U.S. Army artillery during World War II. He was dismissed in 1944 for using a government vehicle against regulations. He later enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, but did not see active duty. After being discharged from the military, he briefly became a journalist.

He has written short stories, plays, and longer works, but is best known for his three-volume narrative history of the Civil War. He was awarded Guggenheim fellowships in 1958, 1959, and 1960, a Ford Foundation grant in 1963, and the Dos Passos Prize for Literature in 1988. In 2003, Foote received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. The Helmerich Award is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. He appeared in Ken Burns' PBS documentary The Civil War. He died at home in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 27, 2005 due to a heart attack. He was interred in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

There are two stories told in this gripping tale of race relations and kidnapping set in 1957 Mississippi, hence the double title. September for the Kinships‘a well-to-do black family in Memphis‘begins with getting their two children ready for a new school year, while September for a trio of white criminals‘Podjo, Rufus, and his lover, Reeny‘begins with an elaborate plan to kidnap one of the Kinship children for ransom. What makes this novel both fascinating and horrifying is that the kidnappers have orchestrated their crime with the social upheaval that is wracking nearby Arkansas as its Governor attempts to prevent the schools of Little Rock from becoming integrated. The criminals realize that with animosity against blacks so intense in the South, they can be certain that a black family will not go to the unintegrated police department for help. Foote manages to make his readers understand and sympathize with both the Kinship family and, as unlikely as it seems, the three characters who find themselves united in crime and sexual rivalry. Very few writers are willing to examine the troubled intersection of black and white in America, and none have done it with the realism and compassion of Foote, who is a distinguished Civil War historian (e.g., Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign, Audio Reviews, LJ 3/1/95) as well as novelist. This fine novel, read by a cast of three, is recommended for all collections.‘Sharon Cumberland, Seattle Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.