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My Mississippi Hardcover – November 6, 2000
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The distinguished Mississippi writer Willie Morris (who died last year) was editor-in-chief of Harper's magazine in the 1960s, a period he wrote about in his fascinating memoir New York Days (1993). He was also the author, more recently, of a pair of sensitive pet books, My Dog Skip ( 1995) and Spit McGee (1999). Regardless of the time Morris spent away from Mississippi, it was a place that always remained in his heart. His last book, written in his characteristically limpid, lyrical prose, offers a heartfelt appreciation of his home state, a place often dismissed as poor and backward by "outlanders," Morris' term for non-Mississippians. This is not a defensive recitation of Mississippi's virtues nor is it a whitewash of its less-than-attractive features. First, Morris wants the reader to understand the state's beauty--"physically beautiful in the most fundamental and indwelling way, [in that] it never leaves you." Then, with both pride and understanding, he brings into sharp focus Mississippi's peculiar tensions and ambivalence and also its passions--"we are a singular people," he says of his native folk. The second half of the book is an album of full-color photographs taken by Morris' son, a professional photojournalist. These shots informally capture ordinary moments in the lives of Mississippians, from a young couple standing next to their truck with their new baby in their arms to a group of local citizens hanging out in front of the main store in a small town. Together, the text and the photographs showcase Mississippians doing what they do best--being themselves completely without artifice. Brad Hooper
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From the Inside Flap
A father and son’s eloquent portrait and personal evocations of modern Mississippi
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