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James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story Hardcover – August 1, 2012


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James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story + An American Insurrection: James Meredith and the Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, 1962 + A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Henry Gallagher has given us a valuable new perspective on the 1962 Ole Miss crisis--an extraordinary tale of how men, unrelated to the drama yet committed to duty, found their way to Oxford to help break the siege at the Lyceum and to provide protection for the school's first black student."





--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

From the Inside Flap

A first-person account of the turbulent times of the Oxford riot by a solider who guarded James Meredith when he integrated Ole Miss
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617036536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617036538
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Norma Watkins on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I lived through the time Henry Gallagher writes about in James Meredith and The Ole Miss Riot. For us, 150 miles south in Jackson, the story ended when Meredith enrolled and Oxford was made peaceful by federal troops. Governor Ross Barnett flew the flag at half-staff to protest this invasion of our state.
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Goose on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you did not happen to spend time in America's Deep South in the early sixties, you will find this book eye-opening. Few of us who grew up in the north (I'm from MN) had any idea what the "Southern Way" was about. I was in the Navy in FL, 1959-61, but had little time to spend with the locals. We were not part of their community, thus we did not understand the racial high ground business. We simply abided by the rules of segregation. No questions asked.

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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Bill on October 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a 41+ year resident of Oxford, MS and Ole Miss I've attempted to read everything written about Mr. James Meredith. I've watched numerous documentaries, and attend a number of events pertaining to the enrollment of James Meredith at Ole Miss. When I saw Henry Gallagher's book, James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story, I knew it would be another great book to read. It was definitely that. It is one of those books that is hard to put down. Born in Minnesota, Gallagher was a 23 year old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed in at Fort Dix in New Jersey. A member of the 716th Military Police Battalion. The 716th shipped off to Oxford. They were to assist with any problems associated with Meredith's enrollment. Once Meredith was enrolled, the 716th was assigned to protect the new Ole Miss student.

Gallagher has put into print what he and the other soldiers saw and did during their time at Ole Miss. For a group of soldiers primarily from the North, they received an education and history lesson they had not expected. In many respects they were the enemy in their own country. The country they loved and the country they were sworn to defended.

Anyone who is familiar with what happened in Oxford and at Ole Miss on September 30 - October 1, 1962, will enjoy reading the book. Gallagher's did extensive research prior to writing. Using the research along with his own experiences at Ole Miss makes the book a worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Donnelly on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was in A Company 327th Infantry in the 101st Airborne Division. I stood guard around Meredith's dormitory (Baxter Hall) that first week. This is an absolutely superb book. Not only does it relate all the events I am familiar with accurately, but he has made vivid the depth of the hatred of Mississippians then had toward racial segregation. As a transplanted Yankee I went to high school in Memphis, Tennessee which is not that far from Oxford, Mississippi. Consequently, I was quite familiar with Southern attitudes toward blacks, but even I was shocked at the behavior and the language used by the white students at Ole Miss, which Gallagher portrays accurately. I also agree that Meredith was a brave man to have gone through what he experienced.

This is an event that has almost disappeared from American history. I'm glad he has brought attention back to it.
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