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Book Reviews

Wendy Doucette, Book Reviews Editor



Cronan, J. & Schriver, R. (2015). Sport is life with the volume turned up: Lessons learned that apply to business and life

Graves, J., Holmes, T. A., & Lee, E. (2016). Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston

Head, T. (2016). Greens

Miles, T. (2015). Tales from the haunted South: Dark tourism and memories of slavery from the Civil War era

Parsons, E. (2015). Ku-Klux: The birth of the Klan during Reconstruction

Reed, J. S. (2016). Barbecue

Schadlich, M. E. (2015). Cooking up library programs teens and ‘tweens will love: Recipes for success


Cronan, J., & Schriver, R. (2015). Sport is life with the volume turned up: Lessons learned that apply to business and life. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press. 229 pages. ISBN: 9781621902126

Joan Cronan, retired University of Tennessee Women’s Athletics Director, offers business and life lessons gleaned from her twenty-eight years as a leader. She built one of the most prominent and respected women’s athletics programs in the nation, resulting in ten NCAA titles and twenty-four SEC Tournament Championships for the Lady Vols during her tenure. She explains her philosophy and some of what she did behind the scenes to achieve success.

In her Foreword, Pat Summitt notes that Cronan was a driving force in elevating the prominence and brand of Tennessee Lady Vol athletics through strategic relationships and skills. In her Foreword, Sally Jenkins describes Cronan and Summitt as glass cutters, carefully carving their way through the glass ceiling to build the Tennessee women’s programs and open opportunities for women. Cronan built relationships with prominent leaders in sports and business to overcome resistance to women’s sports.

Cronan shares that her life dream, from the age of twelve, when she was refused as a Little League player due to her gender, was to provide opportunities for women to learn to compete and win. Not satisfied on the sidelines, she wanted to play. This book describes the paths she followed and the lessons she shared to help individuals and organizations to reach higher performance levels. Priorities are foundational. She uses the B-E-L-L-S “to do” acronym to keep her on track: Bible, Exercise, Letter, Learn, and Special Project. She rings the BELLS every day. To illustrate how important relationships are to Cronan, the L for Letter focuses on handwritten letters of encouragement.

Her model for personal and professional development is gradual, sustained growth over time. The core notion is to assemble a team of people, grow their skills, and in turn, their pride. Then, create a climate where passion emerges and enhances team performance and success. She organizes the book into four fundamental topics: People, Pride, Passion, and Persistence. The People section includes tips on building trust, delegating tasks, and saying thank you. The Pride section focuses on building higher self-esteem and independence. Strengthening of self contributes to strengthening the team. Passion means that both the team and the individual are operating at a high level and becoming more interdependent. Flow takes over as the team moves into the zone of high performance with everyone doing what they love and enabling other team members to do what they love. Persistence is endurance to succeed or keep succeeding.

Cronan’s conversational chapters are ideal for use as daily readings by individuals or for discussion topics for organizational teams. Her bibliography and notes provide additional useful titles. The book is illustrated with black and white photographs, tables, and charts. There is no index.

This book is recommended for public libraries and for school or academic libraries with business tips, sports biography, or women’s history as key areas of study. In addition, any library with a section devoted to University of Tennessee athletics would find Cronan’s work valuable.

Martha Earl
Preston Medical Library
University of Tennessee


Graves, J., Holmes, T. A., & Lee, E. (2016). Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee. 255 pages. ISBN: 9781621901990

Jeff Daniel Marion: Poet on the Holston consists of a collection of nineteen essays written by various scholars, friends, students, and admirers of Marion’s work who are living and working across the southeast.  This assembly includes an introduction by Ernest Lee, professor emeritus of English at Carson-Newman University--where Marion was a professor from 1969 to 2002--and a personal essay from Jeff Marion himself, in which he discusses his background and family history that tie him to the Appalachian area, as well as the world of words and imagery that permeates this part of America. At the end of the book is an inclusive timeline and bibliography of Marion’s life and work prepared by his former wife and fellow poet, Linda Parsons Marion.

The book begins with an overall analysis of Marion’s life and work: “Sense of Place,” “Evolving Voice,” “Wide Reach and Expansive Vision,” and “Teacher and Mentor.” These essays range in tone from the academic dialectical to the homespun lyrical as presented by fiction writers, professors, and poets, all with deep connections to Marion, the writer, the teacher, and even the muse. Topically, the essays address analysis of Marion’s poetry; distinctive inspirations that influenced his work; his work in academic communities in the state; and personal testimonies from those who knew Marion as poet and teacher. Among the prominent writers included in this collection are Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek; George Ella Lyon, Kentucky State Poet Laureate; and poet Jesse Graves, editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology.

Beyond standing as a fine collection that delves closely and intimately into the works and influences of Marion himself, the book reveals Marion as a man, mentor, and voice of a region that remains still not fully represented on the literary maps of America, or even the Southeast. For many libraries, not just the state of Tennessee but throughout the South, this book would be a viable resource for academics of southern literature or poetry and would be an excellent resource for universities and other educational organizations. But many public librarians in the Appalachia area, and throughout Tennessee, should consider this as a welcome addition to their local writers’ collection. Marion celebrates the lyrical joys and sorrows of daily life found throughout the mountains and hollows, creeks and empty lands, family life and isolation that comprise the character of this special region.

Amy Steadman
Collections Manager
Reece Museum
East Tennessee State University


Head, T. (2016). Greens. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 115 pages. ISBN 9781469626680

Louisiana native Thomas Head has contributed to the Savor the South cookbook series with this delightful volume on greens. In his Introduction, Head distinguishes between several types of greens including turnip, mustard, collard, kale, and wilder varieties and discusses the geographic and historical preferences for each. He then describes the nutritional benefits of greens and shares tips on selecting them.

For those of us who grew up savoring our grandmothers’ greens yet who never received instructions on how to cook them to such perfection, the author lists several “common elements” of recipes for preparing greens in the classic Southern style. I can attest that following Head’s recipe for Basic Southern Greens does in fact result in resurrecting Grandma’s greens. The “Basics” chapter also includes a recipe for Everyday Cornbread, the classic accompaniment to Southern greens.

While acknowledging tradition, Head expands upon the usual cooking methods. He describes alternate ways of flavoring greens for readers who may want to avoid the customary salt pork and optional ways of cooking for those whose schedules cannot accommodate the traditional two-hour stovetop method.

Following the "Introduction" and the "Basics" chapter are sections on "Appetizers", "Soups", and "First Courses," which includes recipes for kale chips, mustard greens pesto, and a warm turnip greens dip. "Sides and Salads" includes a simple beans-and-greens recipe using canned cannellini beans and finely cut greens, resulting in short prep time. "Main Courses" provides ideas such as a “greens” variety of the low-country classic shrimp-and-grits. The book finishes with "Relishes."

Over 45 recipes are included in the book. Most offer serving suggestions and ideas for creating alternate versions. The book also contains a list of collard festivals and a short section on how to measure greens.

Greens would be a great addition to any regional cookbook collection. Thomas Head is also co-editor of The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink.

Sarah Senter, MLIS
Lincoln Memorial University


Miles, T. (2015). Tales from the haunted South: Dark tourism and memories of slavery from the Civil War era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 154 pages. ISBN: 9781469626338

In this brief but thought-provoking book, 2011 MacArthur Fellow and University of Michigan historian Tiya Miles uses the increasingly popular historical “ghost tour” as a tool for examining the treatment and interpretation of African-American slavery in modern American culture.

Drawn to the subject by her own “connection and horror” (xvi) with a tragic Savannah ghost story, Miles uses a combination of personal experience and outside research to analyze ghost tours and “dark tourism.” Following Judith Richardson’s theory that ghost stories allow “things usually forgotten, discarded, or repressed [to] become foregrounded” (p. 15), Miles examines three sites tied to popular ghost tours, all with historical connections to slavery: Savannah’s Sorrel-Weed House, the Lalaurie House of New Orleans, and the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

The book is organized into four main sections: an introduction explaining Miles’ initial interest in the topic; three chapters covering each of the different examples of slavery-era sites turned ghost tour attractions; and Miles’ concluding suggestions for developing a more ethical historical tourism strategy to interpret slavery.

During her research, Miles discovers that two of the most well-known ghost stories connected to these sites have no historical basis. In her analysis, Miles argues that these slavery-era ghost stories persist because they preserve the values of “southern paternalism and white patriarchal morality” (p. 78), while allowing the American South to continue profiting from slavery.

In her conclusion, Miles recognizes the emotional power of ghost stories, writing that “ghosts represent history in a way that feels like magic” (p. 125). At the same time, Miles works to give voice to the African- American perspective, pointing out that “in African-American tales of haunting, spirits of the dead are neither frivolous nor romantic. Their presence signals a need for those in the present to deal directly with a dangerous past that will not rest” (p. 126). Miles recommends that historical ghost tours promote historical education, empathy, and respect, rather than simply sensationalism.

This volume contributes to the field by connecting the seemingly benign appeal of historical ghost tours with a careful appraisal of their cultural implications. Intended for a primarily academic audience, this book could also appeal to general readers interested in the cultural implications of dark tourism in the United States. Recommended for academic libraries, especially ones with strong African-American history collections.

Monica Twork
Faculty Librarian
Tallahassee Community College


Parsons, E. (2015). Ku-Klux: The birth of the Klan during Reconstruction. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 388 pages. ISBN 9781469625423

After the cessation of the Civil War, instead of resolving the decades-long struggle over the primacy of the federal government through the end of slavery and the promise of equality for freedmen, a tremendous social and political backlash ensued to reassert white dominance over African Americans in the South and elsewhere. After Reconstruction ended in 1877, numerous states used so-called Jim Crow laws to segregate their citizens and deny black Americans the right to vote.

The Ku-Klux Klan, a clandestine semi-secret society founded in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866, played a significant role to intimidate African-Americans into submission and silence by employing terror and violence. For most Americans, the Klan evokes images of uniformed, masked, white-clad marchers using burning crosses and other spectacles to frighten and torment their victims. This popular image stems from the resurgent Klan that first appeared in 1915, not the original that emerged during Reconstruction. In this excellent and thorough study, Parsons sheds light on the murky origins of the Ku-Klux Klan in the years immediately following the Civil War.

In the wake of physical devastation and social upheaval in the South following the Civil War, some white southerners attempted to reestablish their dominance in defiance both of new rights extended to freedmen and ongoing occupation by white northern military and civil officials. Parsons argues effectively that the early Klan’s image was built not only on pseudo-mystic iconography (“Grand Dragons” and “Grand Wizards” as titles, for example) but also on popular contemporary forms of performance such as burlesque and minstrelry. Early Klan costumes varied wildly, often featuring women’s dresses, animal horns, and animal-skin masks. Their freakish appearance was meant to terrorize black freedmen and white sympathizers as well as reassert and articulate southern white masculinity. Their campaign of terror was aided by northern newspaper coverage, which often featured sensational, illustrated reports of Klan violence, disseminating Klan imagery across the country.

Parsons, an associate professor of history at Duquesne University who specializes in gender and race in the nineteenth-century United States, argues convincingly that the Klan inadvertently paved the way for national reconciliation because it provided a highly visible enemy to blame for the failures of Reconstruction, absolving northern authorities of any responsibility. The author builds her well-researched study on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including contemporary government records, newspapers, and personal accounts to provide the reader a comprehensive understanding of the motives, imagery, and reactions to the original Klan between 1866 and 1872.

This book would be an excellent addition to academic libraries, especially those seeking to expand their collections on the Civil War, Reconstruction, or African American studies; no other study has so thoroughly and effectively examined the often-misunderstood origins and goals of the original Ku-Klux Klan. While intended primarily for academic readers, public library patrons may find much of interest here as well, as the Ku-Klux Klan, in its various iterations, continues to fascinate and disturb those seeking better to understand the individual and collective motivations that drive extremist movements.

Aaron D. Horton
Associate Professor of History
Alabama State University


Reed, J. S. (2016). Barbecue. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. 114 pages. ISBN: 9781469626703

Barbecue, written by John Shelton Reed, is a new addition to the Savor the South cookbook series. The introduction offers a history of barbecue, a cooking method that had its beginnings in the West Indies in the 1500s, and how it moved from there to the east coast of North America and onward. The author gives a background on what is considered real barbecue: which types of meats and sauces are popular in which areas and why. Reed stresses that this cookbook is about specifically Southern barbecue, not simply anything cooked on a grill. While the recipes are for mostly traditional foods that are typical of Southern barbecue, some unusual selections are included.

The recipes for meat include the usual pork, beef and chicken, but also mullet, goat and hog snoots. The rubs and sauces range from Texas to Memphis to Kentucky. Other accompaniments include Bluegrass State Burgoo, Barbecue Baked Beans, slaws and potato salads. There are three bread recipes, all corn breads. Three desserts and ice tea round out the menu. Each recipe is introduced with a history of the dish and why it is included in the book. The book includes an index but no illustrations.

I chose to make a few recipes that I’ve never made at home before. Piedmont Dip (p. 60), a vinegar-based condiment that includes a bit of ketchup and red pepper flakes is a thin sauce. Unlike the usual ketchup-based sauces, it has a wonderful tang and a peppery bite. The Cold Slaugh (p. 82) recipe is from Whitt’s, one of my favorite barbecue places. The cornbread, Kaintuck Corn Cake (p. 90), was just like my grandmother’s cornbread flapjacks. I also made the Barbecue Baked Beans (p. 94), a can of pork and beans jazzed up with brown sugar, onions, ketchup and other ingredients, then baked--barbecue comfort food. I’ve never seen a recipe for Sweet Tea (p. 110) that included a pinch of baking soda, so I had to try it. The baking soda is supposed to take away some of the bitterness by neutralizing the tannins (It really did make a difference). I didn’t make the Pig Pickin’ Cake (p. 108), but the recipe is an old one that I’ve made several times before. It’s always a hit at gatherings.

John Shelton Reed is a writer and former sociology professor who has written extensively about the South. He co-founded the Campaign for Real Barbecue ( Barbecue is the 18th in the cookbook series Savor the South, and would be a good addition to Southern culture and cooking collections in public or academic libraries.

Zinia Randles
Cataloging Assistant
Middle Tennessee State University


Schadlich, M. E. (2015). Cooking up library programs teens and ‘tweens will love: Recipes for success. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 179 pages. ISBN: 9781610699617

Published as part of the Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians Series, this book is a collection of STEM/STEAM related programs for tweens and teens.  The author, Megan Schadlich, currently works at the Chattanooga Public Library in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Basing her advice on 10 years of experience in library service, Schadlich provides step-by-step instructions that may be followed and adapted where needed for any youth programs. STEM and STEAM related areas are explained, with more than twelve educational programs covering age levels, basic setup, and supplies.

Arranged in a cookbook format, each chapter provides a clear description of the intended program, and includes plans, indexes, and a list reference articles for further information. It also includes “Stocking the Pantry,” a parts list of suggested materials. Suggestions are provided for how to market each program to children at various age groups. Sections for further resources and related book lists are a great help for programmers and library patrons who might want more information about the subject.

The author has included familiar programming staples such as Legos but has also included ways for teens to use their tech skills by including social media. The use of computer programs, online social media services and computer equipment such as tablets that many teens may already be familiar with is encouraged.

A number of the programs, such as Disgusting Science or Lego Club, should appeal to young boys, but not exclusively. While some programs may become somewhat dated over time such as Button Making or Yarn Bombing, there is enough flexibility in each program to keep them interesting.

Cooking Up Library Programs Teens and ‘Tweens Will Love is written with the youth librarian or programming individual in mind. It is a great book for beginning youth librarians, but even experienced programmers could learn something from the ideas presented here. This title is recommended for any library or school with children and young adult programs.

Richard Griffin
Washington County Library


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