The Crossroads Book Group is a monthly Square Books-sponsored book discussion. This activity is an outgrowth of the broad concerns that emerged as a result of, among other things, the murder of George Floyd, and books selected for discussion will be to relevant to these concerns. The titles are selected by guest hosts who will exchange views, then open the floor for questions and comments. Any Square Books Constant Reader may participate.
Our October meeting will be via Zoom on Thursday, October 15th at 5:00 pm CST. You must RSVP to attend the event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hosts for October are Connor Towne O'Neill and Brian Foster, who will be discussing Down Along with That Devil's Bones by Connor Towne O'Neill. This title will be 15% off with the coupon code CROSSROADS.
About the Book:
In Down Along with That Devil’s Bones, journalist Connor Towne O’Neill takes a deep dive into American history, exposing the still-raging battles over monuments dedicated to one of the most notorious Confederate generals, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Through the lens of these conflicts, O’Neill examines the legacy of white supremacy in America, in a sobering and fascinating work sure to resonate with readers of Tony Horwitz, Timothy B. Tyson, and Robin DiAngelo.
When O’Neill first moved to Alabama, as a white Northerner, he felt somewhat removed from the racism Confederate monuments represented. Then one day in Selma, he stumbled across a group of citizens protecting a monument to Forrest, the officer who became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and whom William Tecumseh Sherman referred to as “that devil.” O’Neill sets off to visit other disputed memorials to Forrest across the South, talking with men and women who believe they are protecting their heritage, and those who have a different view of the man’s poisonous history.
O’Neill’s reporting and thoughtful, deeply personal analysis make it clear that white supremacy is not a regional affliction but is in fact coded into the DNA of the entire country. Down Along with That Devil’s Bones presents an important and eye-opening account of how we got from Appomattox to Charlottesville, and where, if we can truly understand and transcend our past, we could be headed next.
About the Hosts:
Connor Towne O’Neill’s writing has appeared in New York magazine, Vulture, Slate, RBMA, and the Village Voice, and he works as a producer on the NPR podcast White Lies. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he lives in Auburn, Alabama, where he teaches at Auburn University and with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project. This is his first book.
Dr. Brian Foster is a writer and storyteller from Mississippi. Currently, he has a joint appointment in Sociology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Brian's book I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life (University of North Carolina Press) chronicles life, opportunity, and blues tourism development in the Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale.