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James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story Hardcover – August 1, 2012
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―Curtis Wilkie, author of The Fall of the House of Zeus
“An army unit sent to quell a riot with all they need but a map to find the place, so a rookie lieutenant kidnaps a Navy seaman to guide them―it reads like fiction, but it’s all true, and Henry Gallagher tells it as only someone who was part of it could. A well-researched and fascinating new take on one of the turning points in the civil rights movement which makes for a very good read.”
― Bob Schieffer, CBS News
“Henry Gallagher was one of the key players in an astonishing moment in U.S. history. . . . In this electrifying narrative, he gives us a vivid glimpse of the courage of a brother American soldier, the remarkable crusader James Meredith.”
―William Doyle, author of An American Insurrection
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Top Customer Reviews
Gallagher writes a soldier's story (his sub-title) from a very different point of view. What was it like to be one of those federal soldiers, sent to occupy a town and a university in your own country? He tells it like a military man--"Camp Drum, New York, Summer 1962"--and takes the reader through the events before, during and after the invasion.
Gallagher was from Minnesota; he served in an integrated Army, and he had never experienced the racial tension he found in Oxford--the open hatred in the eyes of pretty coeds, or the hateful language of fraternity boys.
He was made chief of the military guard that protected James Meredith that first semester, following him in a jeep from class to class, until Meredith complained, then devising clever ways to keep him in sight while appearing not to--involving apparently malingering soldiers and broken vehicles.
Gallagher tells the story with the wonder and confusion he felt at the time. He lets you see the integrity of an army unit--sent by the President to do a job, and bringing a village with them. He was one man in a unit that set up and efficiently implemented an assignment--strangers in a small southern town.
I was glad they were there.
Read A Soldier's Story. It's one not many of us in Mississippi knew.
And that's of great importance in this book: The shock at finding out what we did NOT know. The author's vivid, memorable descriptions are provoking and will make many of you think back to your personal knowledge, or lack of it. Quite simply, our Yankee perceptions of The South were not correct. Discrimination was a fact of life; a great number of our fellow Americans did NOT believe that blacks were morally equal, so they should not be allowed to seek education as they wished. To have that reality slammed on a jeep full of Yankees one dark night in Oxford MS was extreme. The confusion, doubt, nagging questions of "the need" to be there and, of course, personal concerns: "Am I gonna get shot at? Am I gonna be too scared to do things right? Will I, do I dare, confront another American, etc.) are described flawlessly by the author.
Mr. Gallagher's ability to spin the "yarn", from the first boring days in Ft Dix, NJ to the travel and arrival at Ol' Miss (to be met there by a hail of rocks, thrown by fellow Americans) to the day-by-day sameness of acting as James Meredith's safety shield/body guard/escort service is about as perfect as one could ask for. Everything is defined so the reader has no doubt as to what, where, why and how things were to be done.Read more ›
This is an event that has almost disappeared from American history. I'm glad he has brought attention back to it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Henry Gallagher, a Midwestern small college graduate, sent to the "Deep South" in 1962, as an Army MP, to help quell the riots at Ole Miss upon the admission of James... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Gene N. Lebrun
The actions in Oxford (riots, hellish conditions, etc) is very accurately reported by Lt. Gallagher. While he spent a significant amount of time with Mr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by LeRoy Gradford, Jr.
Henry Gallagher's account of his role and the role of the U.S. Army in the end of racial segregation at the University of Mississippi in 1962 is a major contribution to the history... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Virginia Grandma
Neat book. Great history. Well-supported by cited sources.
My dad was one of the Military Police back then. I was hoping to catch a glimpse in a photo.
I enjoyed Mr. Gallagher’s book from a personal and from a law enforcement perspective. As a child of the deep South and a law enforcement officer of forty plus years, I felt like I... Read morePublished 22 months ago by John G Wheeler
Great read. Henry Gallagher paints a vivid picture of the South during the integration of Ole Miss. Read morePublished 22 months ago by lciamillo
Henry Gallagher tells a great story about an important historical event. It tells the story of the first African American student to enter Ole Miss and Gallagher tells it with... Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by John in Northeast
Henry T. gives an excellent picture of the bygone days of Mississippi racism. For Lt. Gallagher is was an eye opening experience for a young Lieutenant just out of college ROTC... Read morePublished on March 31, 2013 by Don Hazelwood
"People are dying in Oxford," the president said in an urgent message to the military. This is the worst thing I have seen in forty-five years. Read morePublished on February 5, 2013 by The Prissy Snob