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Walking On: A Daughter's Journey With Legendary Sheriff Buford Pusser Hardcover – October 27, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (October 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589805836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589805835
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In the 1960s, the state line corridor between Mississippi and Tennessee harbored an underworld of gamblers, crooks, mobsters, and murderers. During this time, Buford Pusser, sheriff of McNairy County, took a hard stance against the vices and villains threatening the safety of his city in southern Tennessee. In his six years as sheriff, Pusser jailed more than seventy-five hundred people. He was stabbed seven times, shot eight times, and held his own when he got into a fight with six men at once: three of them went to the hospital and the other three went to jail. Beneath the tough exterior, however, Pusser fostered a softness for his family. After Pusser's wife, Pauline, was murdered in an ambush, which he himself barely survived, he was left to care for his children alone. With the support of his family and community, he raised his children for the next seven years, until he too met an unexpected and dramatic death. Pusser's life was turned into a film, and the film turned him into a legend. Now for the first time, Buford Pusser's daughter presents the story of her father's life and legacy from the family's perspective. In this intimate and devoted biography, Dwana Pusser examines her father's life from his childhood in Adamsville, Tennessee, through his incredible tenure as sheriff, his sudden stardom in the 1970s, and his controversial death by automobile accident in 1974. With feeling and fondness, Dwana shares her private childhood memories alongside the stories of the thrilling feats that made her father famous. More than a history of his life, this volume is a study of Buford Pusser's presence in today's popular culture, for Dwana traces her family story to the present day and reveals never-before-seen documentation regarding the death of her father. Filled with respect and love, laughter and fear, and intrigue and reflection, the chapters in this volume unfold with the momentum of a heroic epic as Dwana embraces all of the complexities of her own family legacy. [Back Flap] The daughter of Sheriff Pusser, Dwana Pusser is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Still living in the county where her father was born and raised, Dwana is actively involved with the Adamsville City Commission and Chamber of Commerce, along with tourism in the state of Tennessee. She worked for many years in radio broadcasting and also operated Pusser's Restaurant in Adamsville for nine years. She keeps alive the spirit and feats of her legendary father by maintaining a Web site in his honor and hosting the annual Buford Pusser Festival in Adamsville.

From the Back Cover

"I have the utmost respect for Dwana and the entire Pusser family. The incredible legacy left behind by her father, Buford, will be forever remembered as one of great integrity, strength, and heart. It was an honor for me to have captured the spirit of Buford Pusser while filming Walking Tall, and it is certainly an honor to know the family and call them friends." --Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, actor and former professional wrestler Donning an alligator trouser belt and equipped with a .41-caliber magnum, Sheriff Pusser meant business. Serving as the sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, from 1964 to 1970, Buford Pusser made a name for himself as the fearless lawman who walked tall and carried a big stick. While publically he was a rough-and-tumble hero, privately Buford Pusser was an old-fashioned family man with a complex story, which, despite the efforts of previous biographers, has never accurately been told. After watching her father's life story unfold in books and on film for more than three decades, Dwana Pusser has come forward with her own authoritative biography of the legendary American sheriff whose story has captivated so many fans. Filled with intimate details, loving and painful memories, and new documentation never before revealed about Buford Pusser's controversial death, Dwana Pusser's tribute to her father is an inspired story of success, perseverance, and strength.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I would encourage anyone to read it.
It's a story only one person could tell, and I am thankful that Dwana has decided to share her family's triumphs and tragedies with the world.
Michael A. Jaquays
Before I saw the movie I did read the paperback version.
Eric Howard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Jaquays on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who is familiar with the legend of Buford Pusser through the "Walking Tall" movies and short-lived television series, this book -- told through the loving memories of daughter Dwana -- will reveal the truth behind the Hollywood versions of his life's events. And those events are no less spectacular, nor less tragic, in reality. Sheriff Pusser's unending dedication to eradicating corruption in his community led to the death of beloved wife Pauline, and nearly fatal injuries to Pusser himself that left him scared for life, in an ambush shoot-out.

And later, as Pusser helps with the creation of the first "Walking Tall" film plus prepares for a promising new career in the Tennessee government, he lost his life in a car crash that to this day remains a mystery.

Dwana's first-hand recollections paint a much more vivid picture of the real man behind that sheriff's badge than the movies ever could. With a loving and compassionate manner, she relates her own story of this tough, no-nonsense bear of a man she knows as "Dad." A different side of Pusser comes out through her memories of his commitment to his family, a dedication as unyielding as his quest for justice.

Comparisons between fact and fiction are inevitable, and we find although names and exact situations have been changed in the filmed versions, basic plots are virtually intact. And the events lead up to Pusser's tragic demise in a fiery crash -- one where in fact Dwana really was quickly on the scene to be with her Dad as he died.

Dwana's revelations of motives for the suspected murder are revealed for the first time in the book and are shockers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric Howard on May 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Because I am the same age as Dwana it is easy for me to follow her story on an emotional level, knowing how I felt at that age at that time. I remember 1973 as the summer of "Walking Tall." Although I didn't see the movie until it came out on TV, I became an instant admire of Buford Pusser. Before I saw the movie I did read the paperback version. I feel that Buford Pusser is one of the rare icons whose true story is more dramatic than the Hollywood version. While his beating and revenge were not as violent as in the movie there are many experiences in his carreer that surpass the films. Buford Pusser first made a name for himself when he pulled serveral teenagers from a stolen car, stuck on railroad tracks, just before it was hit by a train, he was a one man sheriff's office untill he brought in enough fines to hire a few deputies, one was the first black deputy in the county's history. Another time he was involved in a high speed chase when he shot into the car of an escapee and paralizing the man, a young man that he had great affection for. Buford Pusser's shooting of a convicted murderer hold up in a hotel room would today be responded by a SWAT team, Buford got him all on his own.

Buford Pusser was famous before the movies and was far from the down and out ex-sheriff as portrayed in Walking Tall III. Actually, he was being considered for a run for Gov. of Tenn for awhile.

This book has many photos of Buford, a man who always seemed to be smiling, no matter what he had been through. Dwana does not shy away from the darker side of her father. She believes that he could have played a part in the killing of "Towhead" White for the murder of his wife.

Dwana's life after her father's death was heartbreaking and also inspiring.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Craig R. Johsnon on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book to be just as good and interesting as those written about Buford Pusser by W.R. Morris. There is of course additional information about Sheriff Pusser and I learned alittle more about his children. I believe anyone interested in Sheriff Pusser and his family, would be interested in this book. I thought this book was easy reading and it kept my attemtion. In my opinion, it was more worth the price I had to pay.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Renče on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in the south Georgia of the 60's and was a teenager when the 1973 film, "Walking Tall," hit my rural community by storm. Like so many others of my youth, I saw the film and was immediately attracted to this story of a man who seemed larger than life and did the right thing the first time, every time. It was not until I was awakened by my mom about a year later (1974) and was told that Buford Pusser, the REAL man instead of the movie version, had been killed the night before in a car crash. I was 15 at the time ... I still recall how I felt more than 35-years later. Many of us view movies and the events in them as just entertainment, but this wonderful book by Dwana Pusser (the legendary sheriff's daughter) makes it clear that Sheriff Pusser was not just a cinema creation like Dirty Harry or Jack Bauer. He was a real person who loved, laughed, and wanted to raise his family just like the rest of us. Dwana had me hooked on page #1 of the introduction: "My mother was murdered ... when I was six years old. My father died in my arms when I was thirteen." The book practically read itself to me after that beginning. I finished it in one night and was moved beyond words. Dwana reveals a degree of courage and responsibility hard to find these days by telling such a personal and moving account of her life, lived out in sorrow from two tragic, horrific losses while the country was clapping and cheering. But what would one expect from the daughter of the man who personified courage and responsibility? This man who simply wanted to do his job became a celebrity, dating beauty pageant queens, meeting with Johnny Cash, hanging with Elvis, etc. He was a celebrity because THEY wanted to hang with him, not so much the other way around.Read more ›
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