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One Night of Madness Paperback – November 11, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Oak Harbor Publishing; 1st edition (November 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982529104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982529102
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,083,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stokes McMillan is fourth generation born and raised in Attala County, Mississippi, the scene of the story. His great-grandfather started the local newspaper, the Kosciusko Star-Herald, which his grandfather and father later published. Presently an engineer with NASA at the Johnson Space Center, McMillan lives with his family in Houston, Texas. One Night of Madness is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 41 customer reviews
The book is a very interesting read.
Ronald Wells
Stokes' character development and the overall development of the story are impressive.
Mike McCully
I could really see this being made into a movie.
Kosy Girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Prentice P. Johnston on November 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
One Night Of Madness retells the story of what some members of my family endured that night in 1949. I had been told this story many times growing up in my 35 years, but to see it come to life in print is amazing! I recommend this book to anyone! It is very real & the people involved were like characters....they were powerful & captivating. I think Mr.McMillan did a good job in presenting this forgotten chapter in American history! It can very well become a screenplay for a hollywood film!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By George Coyer on December 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
While the story line centers on a tragic and violent act in rural Mississippi, Stokes McMillan gives us uncommon and masterful insight into the lives of ordinary people living in the grip of segregation that remains today as a scar on U.S. history, if not an open wound in the deep south. The biographies of famous people would seem easy to write, but McMillan opens the lives of Mary Ella Harris, Verlene Thurman, Leon Turner, Windol Whitt, and others who we would otherwise never meet. He fashions a colorful thread from each of these very real persons, and skillfully weaves them together into the fabric of a community that was Attala County in the 1940's.

Taken from the front pages of newpapers long forgotten, this is a story, which as Stokes explains, "Must be told." Exceptionally well written and easy to read; don't miss the drama of "One Night of Madness". This is a must read for history buffs and anyone who enjoys a great story with unforgettable characters.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert R. Regl on June 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a professor of Aeronautical Engineering at Mississippi State University in the 1970s, and Stokes McMillan was one of my students. I recently became aware that he had written a book, "One Night of Madness".

McMillan has written a meticulously researched book chronicling the heinous murder of three black children in rural Mississippi by three white racists in the winter of 1950.

The book is in the style of a non-fiction novel like Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", and the story is told with a sensitivity for the people that reminded me of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". The many characters leap from the pages and bring to life a part of Mississippi history that many would like to ignore, and some would even deny ever happened.

The interaction of the characters, the unfolding of the tragic events leading up to the murders, and the capture and trial of the murderers are skillfully described. After introducing us to the main players in Part 1 McMillan writes in his introduction to Part 2:

"Fate is a weaver. With the world her loom and eternity her timetable, she is emotionless in creating the intricate fabric of our lives. Drawing from her lap the colorful threads that are people's flesh and souls, the masterful embroiderer interlaces them into a living tapestry of the human condition - awash with infinitely contrasting shades and qualities. Individual threads may fray with time, but the story told in their warp and weft endures as memory.

` After decades of patient preparation, as an otherwise unexceptional winter approached, Fate began weaving the threads of a new creation, a tapestry of select filaments of peace and conflict, joy and sorrow, prosperity and poverty, black and white, skillfully woven.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
The unpleasant history of racism in Mississippi through the 1950s has plenty of familiar stories of black people persecuted and white people allowed to persecute because that was just the way things were done back then. All-white juries could be counted upon to come to the conclusion that a white man could not be guilty of a crime against a black one. There was, however, a case famous in its time in which the courts, and Mississippi in general, knew of the guilt of a white man who had murdered three black children in 1950, horrifying the nation and the state. It resulted in the sort of justice that was far from universal at the time. The importance of this story was forgotten, even by Stokes McMillan whose father had played an important role in the way it was reported. McMillan is an engineer who has never before been an author, but his _One Night of Madness_ (Oak Harbor Publishing) represents a superb recounting of the lead up to a crime, the crime itself, and the aftermath.

Much of the story is distressing to read. The main characters are sharecroppers, moonshiners, good-old-boys and low-lifes, but the way McMillan goes into their histories like a good novelist produces a sense of inevitability about the crime and the outcome. Central is Leon Turner, a charming and dangerous moonshiner who often had black men merchandizing his liquor. In 1949, he was joined by was joined by the brothers Malcolm and Windol Whitt, who came by chance from out of town. All got liquored up, and Turner led the brothers to the house of a black sharecropper and highway worker, Thomas Harris. Harris had sold moonshine for Turner before, but this time Turner went for drunken malice and an attempt to rape McMillan's wife.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard L. Love on December 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
"One Night of Madness" is a terrific read. It reads like a fast-paced novel, but is far richer because of the historical detail. It evokes many of the same emotions as "A Time to Kill" by Grisham. McMillan does a terrific job making the characters of this true story memorable and painting a vivid picture of small town/rural Mississippi in the 40's and 50's. (Man, we have come along way!) One Night of Madness
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