Local Attorney Jerry Barksdale publishes collection of columns
who contributes a column twice a month, had just taken a few weeks off last year to recharge his
literary batteries or else save up for a new pack of Bic pens.
Barksdale, a local attorney, has collected just such a militant following since launching his column on the News Courier editorial page more than a decade ago.
has compiled a collection of his
columns, "Cornbread Chronicles" which he
will formally introduce Nov. 1 with an all day book signing at Pablo's on Market to coincide with the second annual Storytelling Festival.
Regular readers know that Barksdale's themes center on growing up in Limestone County in the 1940s and 50s, his
divorces and his
experiences as a hapless traveler who suffers the woes of bedbugs, incendiary Mexican food, or "Baby Kelvie", a 6-month-old too young for burritos but who nearly cleared an airliner at 30,000 feet because of some infant formula that went bad on him.
The back jacket reads, "Come on a road trip and share the adventures and misadventures of skillful storyteller Jerry Barksdale
"Cornbread Chronicles" is more than just extolling the virtues of that revered delicacy.
Cornbread becomes the metaphor for a Southern way of life.
It is the warm, welcoming arms of a loved one reminding the weary traveler that they need not leave the South to find everything that makes life worth living."
said that "Cornbread Chronicles" is really a love letter to this community.
Jerry R. Barksdale
Buy The Book
The 50-year anniversary of the end of World War II
in 1995 started a lot of people thinking about what a previous generation did to ensure our liberty.
One of these was Athens, Alabama, trial lawyer Jerry R. Barksdale.
As a child, Barksdale
was enthralled by the tales of GI fortitude in the face of almost insurmountable odds as told by his
uncle, a World War II veteran.
But these stories of valor and sacrifice only whetted his
appetite for the what-ifs? of today.
couldn't shake the question of whether the present generation would be capable of facing down an evil tyrant the likes of Adolf Hitler.
But what if it were more than just someone like Hitler?
What if Hitler left behind an heir to carry on his
legacy of doom?
is a small town lawyer in Barksdale's
first novel, "The Fuhrer Document, who fights with these questions and eventually fights for his
own life when confronted by Neo-nazi operatives.
Barksdale, a graduate of the University of Alabama, practices law in Athens, Alabama.
He serves as legal counsel on the Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives Board of Directors.
He is a local newspaper columnist and the author of When Duty Called, a collection of World War II veterans recollections that launched his writing career in 1998.
Jerry R. Barksdale
was there to promote his
new spy thriller, "The Fuhrer Document" (iUniverse, $13.95, 178 pages), which takes place mostly in or around Huntsville, the Elk river and elsewhere in this part of the Tennessee Valley.
happens to be a trial lawyer based in Athens, Ala., but like his
novel's lawyer hero, Hardy Jackson
also seems to be an inveterate scribbler like me.
His previous work, "When Duty Called," collected the stories of a bunch of World War II veterans and led him to serve on the board of directors of the Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives.
tells a truly thrilling tale, involving Jackson and his law partner, Sarah Dickerson-Dunnivant; Jackson's cancer stricken wife Millie; a gang of Neo-Nazis who want to bring into into being what they call the Fourth Reich; an elegant real estate agent in Huntsville named Magdalene (Sunny) Webber, who lives on Monte Sano Mountain, and is on her way to being given a civic award at the Von Braun Center; and a mysterious fellow named Rudolph Birch, who runs an international travel agency.
suffers from the same pleasant affliction of most writers.
"Those characters will wake me up at 5 a.m. telling me what to write," Barksdale
At first glance Barksdale
is a mild-mannered, soft spoken Southern gentleman. likewise, his
prose can be down home and soothing.
However, under that mild-mannered exterior beats the heart of a true writer of thrillers.
prose changes easily from homespun to gritty and edgy dialogue and intense action.
first novel "The Fuhrer Document" is a wild ride into World War II history and modern politics.
In the traditions of great writers of regional flavor, like Greg Isles ("The Quiet Game" and "24 Hours"), Barksdale
has put the South, and more particularly North Alabama, on the map by styling a thriller that takes the reader on a high-speed chase down I-565, into rural Limestone County and across the Atlantic into the very talons of Hitler's Eagle's Nest.
While Barksdale, an Athens attorney, has written countless columns about Southern life, and published lectures on the law and even a critically acclaimed book, "When Duty Called" on the wartime experiences of WWII vest, this is his first book-length piece of fiction.
As Barksdale began recording the memories of the veterans for use in the series "Soldier Stories" for the Athens News Courier, he became familiar with the individual experiences of these brave young men.
came to know of their exploits in Germany and France during he
service of their country, he
became intrigued with the "what if?
possibilities their stories raised and a story was born.
"The Fuhrer Document" follows the Hardy Jackson
, a small town lawyer, as he
works against the clock, to solve the mystery behind a vintage document written in German and a pile of Reichmarks.
Born and raised in Athens, Barksdale graduated from Athens High School in 1960.
He attended Athens State College before going onto the University of Alabama School of Business and graduating from the Alabama School of Law and being admitted to the law in 1967.
Barksdale lives and works in Athens and is the father of three children.
is one of the founders of the Athens Veterans' Museum
which honors vets from all branches of service.
was recently honored with an award from the Alabama State Board of Bar Commissioners
efforts on behalf of the WWII veterans and the museum.
"The Fuhrer Document," by Jerry R. Barksdale;
Jerry Barksdale is an Alabama writer who proved his worth with his first book, "When Duty Called," a compendium of stories gathered from Limestone County veterans of World War II.
Believability is an important factor and Barksdale
gives you that.
Many area residents know Jerry Barksdale
as an Athens attorney.
And readers first realized his
flair with a pen when he
published "When Duty Called in 1998.
The book is a collection of World War II veterans from Limestone County.
Now Barksdale, perhaps taking the path of another attorney, noted author John Grisham, has written his first novel, a fast-moving mystery thriller, "The Fuhrer Document, A Story About the Fourth Reich."
stayed on track and slowly developed a character, Hardy Jackson
, who becomes involved in such a plot.
The book speeds along from the German community in Huntsville to Europe as Barksdale
finds time to provide adequate descriptions of people and places.
And Hardy Jackson
becomes a marked man.
The feds are after him as well as neo-Nazis.
The book is an easy read, leaving one to believe that the war stories aren't over for Barksdale
"In my mind, French Springs is a lot like Athens," says Barksdale
, "except that it's got the Giles County (Tenn.) Courthouse.
I love that old red-brick courthouse."
The characters, too, are influenced by the people of North Alabama.
Hardy Jackson's law partner is reminiscent of a hippie-style lawyer Barksdale
knew in Huntsville; Barksdale says Hardy's wife Millie bears resemblance to his
own ex-wife, a two-pack-a-day smoker who, next to her
own children, loved Auburn more than anything.
, who tried to join the Marines
at 16 by producing a driver's license that gave his
age as 17, said making Hardy Jackson
a Marine was perhaps his
attempt to live vicariously through his
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When Duty Called Reviews
Colorfully recorded by Athens attorney Jerry Barksdale with all the espirit de corps of a best selling novel.
PUBLICATIONS BY JERRY R. BARKSDALE
When Duty Called, World War II remembered, Magnolia Press, 212 South Marion Street, Athen