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The White League Paperback – November 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 474 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer; Reprint edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612187544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612187549
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,840,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zigal, author of the Colorado sheriff Kurt Muller series, sets this gripping novel of racism, justice denied, retribution and redemption in the upper-class environs of New Orleans circa 1990. Paul Blanchard is CEO of the Blanchard coffee company, a family business that allows him to live a life of genteel ease. This pleasant existence is shattered when Paul's old college roommate, racist Mark Morvant, shows up and announces that he's running for governor, demanding not only that Paul bankroll his campaign effort but that he get the wealthy businessmen from the White League, a sinister secret society, to back him as well. Paul, a progressive Southerner, tries to resist, but Morvant threatens to reveal the dark secret Paul has been harboring - his black girlfriend in college died of a heroin overdose, and Morvant helped him dispose of the body in a bayou. To complicate matters, Paul's childhood friend, Jaren Jarboe, son of beloved Blanchard family retainer Rosetta Jarboe, took the fall for the death. As in any good Southern novel, present events are dictated by the past, and colorful characters from all stations of life perform both honorable and despicable acts. There's plenty of New Orleans lore and even a swipe at a JFK assassination connection in this solidly written, adroitly plotted and satisfyingly ethics-driven tale. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

There's something very rotten in New Orleans. It's 1990, and Paul Blanchard, coffee magnate, finds his white-picket-fence world disrupted when an old frat buddy, Mark Morvant, comes to collect on an old favor. Morvant once helped Paul cover up a dirty secret and now needs Paul to bankroll his bid for governor, which has the support of the White League, a white supremacist organization long thought to have been disbanded. Even after having lived for years with the fear of what could happen when Morvant demanded his quid pro quo, Paul is shocked to discover to what degree he and his family are haunted by the past. Zigal presents a taut thriller that will keep readers guessing as he probes the moral dilemmas at the heart of both New Orleans' checkered past and Paul's contradictory character. This is a page-turner with a conscience, and it leaves some heady questions in its path. Misha Stone
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Thomas Zigal (1948) was born in Galveston, Texas, and grew up in nearby Texas City. He received a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Kurt Muller mystery series set in Aspen, Colorado, and a thriller entitled The White League set in New Orleans. He has published short stories and book reviews in literary magazines and fiction anthologies for the past 30 years. Zigal lives in Austin, Texas.

Customer Reviews

I will reread the book at some time.
aprilhjones
I have lived in the South all of my life and I particularly enjoyed the flavor of the southern culture the author was able to impart throughout the entire book.
J. Laurence Martin
I just felt that the main character took a little too long to figure things out.
Von

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rhouse on March 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
New Orleans society exposed in an excellent mystery!

The novel is a good, fast read. What I liked most were the historical facts blended so well into Zigal's fiction about the death of a young girl and the possible involvement of 'The White League." The White League, by the way, is a group of men...bigots in their own fashion...but far too sophisticated to be associated with the likes of the Klan. Gentlemen racists, you might say.

The only drawback--and this happens often in books where people have accents of any kind--the author's insistence to write the dialect. Mr. Zigal, we get it...just mention a person is of color, or southern, or Cajan and we can figure it out...no need for "Mistah" etc. *Imagine reading a book about the Kennedys, and having to go though "pawk the caa" over and over.*

I really enjoyed this book. Both for the mystery and the cultural background!! And I learned a LOT about New Orleans history! Good book!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Zimmerman VINE VOICE on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A complete shot-in-the-dark to me was "The White League" by Thomas Zigal. My wife was given a Uncorrected Proof copy of this book by the author himself at the Louisiana Book Festival in 2004. Zigal is known for the Kurt Muller mystery series, but has roots in Louisiana and Texas. This well-written book tells the story of Paul Blanchard, a coffee company executive forced to come to grips with his past as an old frat buddy and "reformed" racist pushes him for support in a campaign for governor. The "White League" of the title was a powerful, white-supremacist organization of New Orleans that effectively ended the Reconstruction in Louisiana in 1874. The question posed by the protagonist and the book is "does the White League still operate today?" (or at least in 1990 when the novel is set). I raced right through this book; it's somewhat similar to a Grisham novel, but without a lawyer hero, and with better depictions of local color.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ABB on May 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I enjoyed Thomas Zigal's Kurt Muller mysteries, I didn't immediately pick up this book frankly because the subject matter didn't appeal to me. Wow, was I wrong. This is a fantastic book. A great story, full of clever twists and fascinating history, and some of the best writing I've read in a long time. I was barely able to put it down.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Martin Stadius on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The editorial reviews give enough of a synopsis of the plot of this fine thriller, so I will not go over that territory and give anything away. The characters are complex and real, the historical underpinning dating back to the Reconstruction era fascinating, the writing clear and forceful. Kudos to the author.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steve Bean on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A well-written thought-provoking thriller with a believable and logical ending. Impossible to put down. My favorite book in a long time. I thought Nelson Demile's Nightfall and Vince Flynn's Memorial Day were teriffic.This one is right up there with them, although entirely different genre, but all three make you think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Lewis on May 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had only a vague idea what this book was about when I began reading (and this was my first read by this author). . . and it took a while to understand where the story was going . . . but once I began to figure out the plot, I was engaged hook, line and sinker.

The novel, set in present day New Orleans, is an exploration of "the past is prologue to the present": what happened in our lives, our families, our environment, our history shapes who we have become as individuals and as communities today. The story is an exploration of the main character's growing, and uncomfortable, awareness of the impact of the past . . . and its secrets . . . on his family, his community, his world view (or lack thereof). It is the story of how much the Civil War, its wins and losses, beliefs and values, causes and effects, and wrongs and secrecy are still being played out, more than 150 years later, in the South, and particularly, the present day Southern city of New Orleans.

The novel is a thriller as the main character seeks to unravel, understand, and come to terms with the white supremecy that infects his life, his family, his actions, his world and his relationships today. He struggles to uncover the forces corrupting him and his relationships as he starts to take off the blinders, face the man he has become has and reshape (and right wrongs) in his present. The clock is ticking as he peels back layer after layer of secrets and lies, and grows into and shapes the man he is becoming.

The tension is in his coming face to face with the killing impact of secrets kept, a history unexamined until now. I was spellbound and fascinated to the very end.

I look forward to reading more novels by Thomas Zigal.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Baddog on July 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The White League
The story might have had appeal to readers in the 1960's or earlier, but hardly in this century. The characters are artificial and the events highly contrived. The writing lacks beats to keep the reader involved. Flashbacks interrupted the flow of the action and could have better served as a prologue. The premise of the story and its denouement fail to provide satisfaction for the effort expended.
D K Elliott; Author, The Canyon Caper
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dee Reeds on January 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an entertaining read - not too cerebral. A little slow moving at times with lots of characters in the mix (almost too many). This is the kind of book you can read when you don't want to think too much. I could easily see this as a made-for-TV movie. I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars (75%) but that's not an option. That said, I'd still recommend it.
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