Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
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In the early morning of May 2, 1981, Danny Hansford was shot dead by James Williams with a World War II vintage Luger in a historic Savannah mansion. For the next eight-and-a-half years, through four murder trials and intrigue which reached the highest levels of Georgia politics—including a former governor and the Georgia Supreme Court—lawyers battled over whether the 50-year-old Williams shot the 21-year-old Hansford in self-defense. The case inspired a best-selling book and a movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Written by Dep Kirkland, who arrived at the scene when Hansford’s body was still on the floor, Lawyer Games is the true story of this remarkable case. Kirkland, the Chief Assistant DA at the time, made the decision to arrest Williams and tried the first of four murder trials alongside the district attorney. His firsthand knowledge allows him not only to deeply analyze the murder case but also to expose the legal mischief spawned when a defendant facing unshakable physical evidence possesses almost unlimited funds. True crime aficionados will be drawn to the two stories told in the book: The riveting story of the case, its evidence (including facts never heard in the courtroom), trials and results, and the incredible eight-year campaign to beat a murder rap no matter what, with a look behind the curtain at a darker side of the American criminal justice system.
The #1 Wall Street Journal ebook bestseller about the murder that shocked Savannah society and inspired the blockbuster film. As a premier antiques dealer in Savannah, Jim Williams had it all: style, culture, charisma, and sophistication. But three decades of hard work came crashing down the night he shot Danny Hansford, his wild young lover. Jim Williams stood trial four times over the next decade for premeditated murder. While Clint Eastwood’s movie—starring Kevin Spacey and Jude Law—and the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt portrayed the natives of Savannah as remarkably decadent, exotic characters, they missed the surprising dark side of Jim Williams himself. He was a smooth predator whose crimes could have put him behind bars long before the death of Danny Hansford. After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is Marilyn Bardsley’s continuation of the story, which includes crucial testimony recreating the courtroom drama between a gifted prosecutor and a brilliant defense attorney as they battle over the future of a self-made aristocrat. More than forty photos and revealing insider interviews bring new life to the vivid cast of characters in this unique southern crime story. “[A] provocative summer read.” —Savannahnow.com
Traces the aftermath of the 1996 Venice opera house fire, an event that devastated Venetian society and was investigated by the author, who through interviews with local figures learned about the region's rich cultural history.
The personal story of the famous drag queen from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" describes an abuse-marked childhood, character development, rise to stardom, and secrets of survival
With this collection of essays, Anthony J. Martin invites us to investigate animal and human traces on the Georgia coast and the remarkable stories these traces, both modern and fossil, tell us. Readers will learn how these traces enabled geologists to discover that the remains of ancient barrier islands still exist on the lower coastal plain of Georgia, showing the recession of oceans millions of years ago. First, Martin details a solid but approachable overview of Georgia barrier island ecosystems—maritime forests, salt marshes, dunes, beaches—and how these ecosystems are as much a product of plant and animal behavior as they are of geology. Martin then describes animal tracks, burrows, nests, and other traces and what they tell us about their makers. He also explains how trace fossils can document the behaviors of animals from millions of years ago, including those no longer extant. Next, Martin discusses the relatively scant history—scarcely five thousand years—of humans on the Georgia coast. He takes us from the Native American shell rings on Sapelo Island to the cobbled streets of Savannah paved with the ballast stones of slave ships. He also describes the human introduction of invasive animals to the coast and their effects on native species. Finally, Martin’s epilogue introduces the sobering idea that climate change, with its resultant extreme weather and rising sea levels, is the ultimate human trace affecting the Georgia coast. Here he asks how the traces of the past and present help us to better predict and deal with our uncertain future.
In this book Tiya Miles explores the popular yet troubling phenomenon of "ghost tours," frequently promoted and experienced at plantations, urban manor homes, and cemeteries throughout the South. As a staple of the tours, guides entertain paying customers by routinely relying on stories of enslaved black specters. But who are these ghosts? Examining popular sites and stories from these tours, Miles shows that haunted tales routinely appropriate and skew African American history to produce representations of slavery for commercial gain. "Dark tourism" often highlights the most sensationalist and macabre aspects of slavery, from salacious sexual ties between white masters and black women slaves to the physical abuse and torture of black bodies to the supposedly exotic nature of African spiritual practices. Because the realities of slavery are largely absent from these tours, Miles reveals how they continue to feed problematic "Old South" narratives and erase the hard truths of the Civil War era. In an incisive and engaging work, Miles uses these troubling cases to shine light on how we feel about the Civil War and race, and how the ghosts of the past are still with us.
Miller, fresh from too many pampered years at university, has managed to lose a PhD, a girlfriend, and her father's car. With parents now committed to a regime of find-your-own-way tough love, he's fallen off the fast track to success, and finds himself working in a shabby garden centre on the edge of nowhere. The staff are a collection of dropouts and oddballs, the boss is very shady, and Miller's not sure half the stuff they sell is legal. Still, he's learning to get on with things and make do, finding a brand new path through life, but... an alien invasion disguised as a bright and shiny big-box store from out of town? That really isn't helping. If Miller wants to protect his job and save the world, he's going to have to dig deep and get his hands dirty.
What can we know of the private lives of early British sovereigns? Through the unusually large number of letters that survive from King James VI of Scotland/James I of England (1566-1625), we can know a great deal. Using original letters, primarily from the British Library and the National Library of Scotland, David Bergeron creatively argues that James' correspondence with certain men in his court constitutes a gospel of homoerotic desire. Bergeron grounds his provocative study on an examination of the tradition of letter writing during the Renaissance and draws a connection between homosexual desire and letter writing during that historical period. King James, commissioner of the Bible translation that bears his name, corresponded with three principal male favorites—Esmé Stuart (Lennox), Robert Carr (Somerset), and George Villiers (Buckingham). Esmé Stuart, James' older French cousin, arrived in Scotland in 1579 and became an intimate adviser and friend to the adolescent king. Though Esmé was eventually forced into exile by Scottish nobles, his letters to James survive, as does James' hauntingly allegorical poem Phoenix. The king's close relationship with Carr began in 1607. James' letters to Carr reveal remarkable outbursts of sexual frustration and passion. A large collection of letters exchanged between James and Buckingham in the 1620s provides the clearest evidence for James' homoerotic desires. During a protracted separation in 1623, letters between the two raced back and forth. These artful, self-conscious letters explore themes of absence, the pleasure of letters, and a preoccupation with the body. Familial and sexual terms become wonderfully intertwined, as when James greets Buckingham as "my sweet child and wife." King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire presents a modern-spelling edition of seventy-five letters exchanged between Buckingham and James. Across the centuries, commentators have condemned the letters as indecent or repulsive. Bergeron argues that on the contrary they reveal an inward desire of king and subject in a mutual exchange of love.
This shocking account of a nightmarish childhood and escape from abusive parents and an Amish bishop has become a #1 selling self-published ebook. This first trade edition coincides with major television and radio appearances where Misty tells her story of triumphing over tragedy.