2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Have you finished your gift shopping yet? Even if you have, we’ve got some suggestions for the people in your life. An extra book can’t hurt. Get 40% off these titles (and any other title on our website) with code HOLIDAY21 at checkout.

For the nature lover

Exploring Wild Alabama: A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas by Kenneth M. Wills and L. J. Davenport

Intrepid explorers Kenneth M. Wills and L. J. Davenport divide Alabama into eleven geographic regions that feature state parks and preserves, national monuments and forests, wildlife management areas, Nature Conservancy and Forever Wild properties, botanical gardens and arboreta, as well as falls, caverns, and rock cliffs. Exploring Wild Alabama provides detailed site entries to one hundred and fifty destinations. Each section is beautifully illustrated with color photographs and area maps.

Also of interest: Kennesaw: Natural History Of a Southern Mountain by Sean P. Graham

For the chef

Barbecue: The History of an American Institution by Robert F. Moss

The full story of barbecue in the United States had been virtually untold before Robert F. Moss revealed its long, rich history in his 2010 book Barbecue: The History of an American Institution. Moss researched hundreds of sources—newspapers, letters, journals, diaries, and travel narratives—to document the evolution of barbecue from its origins among Native Americans to its present status as an icon of American culture. He mapped out the development of the rich array of regional barbecue styles, chronicled the rise of barbecue restaurants, and profiled the famed pitmasters who made the tradition what it is today. Barbecue is the story not just of a dish but also of a social institution that helped shape many regional cultures of the United States. Moss has made significant updates in this new edition, offering a wealth of new historical research, sources, illustrations, and anecdotes.

Also of interest: The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods by Emily Blejwas

For the civil rights champion

Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King by Edythe Scott Bagley with Joe Hilley

Written by Coretta’s older sister, Desert Rose details Coretta Scott King’s upbringing in a family of proud, land-owning African Americans with a profound devotion to the ideals of social equality and the values of education, as well as her later role as her husband’s most trusted confidant and advisor.

Also of interest: Heritage and Hate: Old South Rhetoric at Southern Universities by Stephen M. Monroe

For the one with the big coffee table

Historic Watermills of North America: A Visual Preservation by Ken Boyd

Through stunningly beautiful images, Historic Watermills of North America: A Visual Preservation presents 112 watermills still standing on the North American landscape. With idealized full-color photographs, Ken Boyd nostalgically hearkens back to a time after European settlement when these structures were the very heart of the communities whose livelihoods they made possible. These mills turned the power of flowing water into mechanical energy to grind corn and wheat into meal and flour, saw timber, loom wool and cotton cloth, and more for the benefit of their operators and communities.

Also of interest: Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839–1941, and a List of Photographers by Frances Osborn Robb

For the military buff

Emergency Deep: Cold War Missions of a Submarine Commander by Alfred Scott McLaren

Emergency Deep: Cold War Missions of a Submarine Commander conveys the entire spectrum of Captain McLaren’s experiences commanding the USS Queenfish, mainly in the waters of the Russian Far East and also off Vietnam. McLaren offers a riveting and deeply human story that illuminates the intensity and pressures of commanding a nuclear attack submarine in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Also of interest: Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman by Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner

For the fiction enthusiast

The Species Maker: A Novel by Kristin Johnson

When William Jennings Bryan began a campaign to get evolution out of American schools in the 1920s, entomologist Martin Sullivan sought refuge from the tumult in his research. Although the theory of evolution provides the foundation for his scientific work, he prefers the careful methods of observation and classification to the passion of public debate. But when Martin takes a job teaching college biology in Seattle, he finds it increasingly difficult to retreat to the haven of science. His students are taking sides in the debate over whether religion and evolution can be reconciled. Socialists are using evolution to justify revolution. Politicians are citing Darwin in defense of anti-immigration laws. And Martin’s own colleagues are insisting that only eugenic reforms will save the world. As anti-evolution legislation spreads across the country and passions flare on all sides, the effort to apply science to marriage laws and mate choice even begins to touch the lives of those he loves. By the time the state of Tennessee puts John T. Scopes on trial for teaching evolution in the summer of 1925, Martin can no longer ignore the debates that surround him and must take a stand in the fight over the role of science in American society.

Also of interest: Titles from Fiction Collective 2

For the kids (and kids at heart)

The Ghost Stories of Kathryn Tucker Windham

Accompanied by her faithful companion, Jeffrey, a friendly spirit who resided in her home in Selma, Alabama, Kathryn Tucker Windham traveled the South, visiting the sites of spectral legends in Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee, among other places. In these collections, Windham introduces readers to Jeffrey’s ghostly acquaintances, each with the charm and universal appeal that has created hundreds of thousands of Jeffrey fans.

For the sports fan

Sixteen and Counting: The National Championships of Alabama Football, edited and with an Introduction by Kenneth Gaddy; Foreword by Bill Battle

Sixteen and Counting features a chapter highlighting each of these championship seasons and collects the legendary stories of many of the outstanding coaches and players on the University of Alabama’s championship teams. College football legends such as Wallace Wade, Wu Winslett, Johnny Mack Brown, Pooley Herbert, Frank Thomas, Dixie Howell, Don Hutson, Jimmy Nelson, Holt Rast, Pat Trammel, Sam Bailey, Lee Roy Jordan, Harry Gilmer, Bill Lee, Ken Stabler, Joe Namath, Gary Rutledge, Randy Billingsley, Barry Krauss, Clem Gryska, Gene Stallings, Paul “Bear” Bryant, and, of course, Nick Saban all make prominent appearances. A seventeenth chapter is included that looks at the uncrowned teams commonly referred to as “the other five,” who were considered national champions by at least one national ranking service at the end of the season.

Also of interest: Satchel Paige’s America by William Price Fox

For the traveler

A Road Course in Early American Literature: Travel and Teaching from Atzlán to Amherst by Thomas Hallock

A Road Course in Early American Literature: Travel and Teaching from Atzlán to Amherst explores a two-part question: what does travel teach us about literature, and how can reading guide us to a deeper understanding of place and identity? Thomas Hallock charts a teacher’s journey to answering these questions, framing personal experiences around the continued need for a survey course covering early American literature up to the mid-nineteenth century.

Also of interest: Alabama Canoe Rides and Float Trips by John Foshee

For the Alabamian

Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama by Kari Frederickson

From Reconstruction through the end of World War II, the Bankheads served as the principal architects of the political, economic, and cultural framework of Alabama and the greater South. As a family, they were instrumental in fashioning the New South and the twentieth century American political economy, but now the Bankhead name is largely associated only with place names. Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama is a deeply researched epic family biography that reflects the complicated and evolving world inhabited by three generations of the extremely accomplished—if problematic—Bankhead family of northwest Alabama.

Also of interest: Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail: An Illustrated Guide to the Cradle of Freedom by Frye Gaillard

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