2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Still shopping for (and stressing over) thoughtful gifts for your friends and family? We’ve got you covered with books on history, language, culture, art, nature, and more. Give the gift of knowledge this holiday season, and get 30% off these titles with code HOLIDAYS18 at checkout.

Alabama: The History of a Deep South State edited by William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins, and Wayne Flynt

For your dad, the history buff.

Alabama: The History of a Deep South StateBicentennial Edition is a comprehensive narrative account of the state from its earliest days to the present. This edition, updated to celebrate the state’s bicentennial year, offers a detailed survey of the colorful, dramatic, and often controversial turns in Alabama’s evolution. Organized chronologically and divided into three main sections—the first concluding in 1865, the second in 1920, and the third bringing the story to the present—makes clear and interprets the major events that occurred during Alabama’s history within the larger context of the South and the nation.

Also of interest: Alabama: The Making of an American State by Edwin C. Bridges

A Centennial Celebration of the Bright Star Restaurant by Bright Star Restaurant, Inc.

For your foodie friends.

This book is the story of the Greek immigrant who left his tiny village in the rugged mountains of Greece’s Peloponnesos region for the uncertainty of a new life in a new country. The story traces the founding of the restaurant in 1907 and the family that continues the tradition of fine food and genuine hospitality that began there a century ago.

Also of interest: Barbecue: The Making of An American Institution by Robert F. Moss

Speaking of Alabama: The History, Diversity, Function, and Change of Language edited by Thomas E. Nunnally

For the logophiles in your life.

Written in an accessible manner for general readers and scholars alike, Speaking of Alabama includes such subjects as the special linguistic features of the Southern drawl, the “phonetic divide” between north and south Alabama, “code-switching” by African American speakers in Alabama, pejorative attitudes by Alabama speakers toward their own native speech, the influence of foreign languages on Alabama speech to the vibrant history and continuing influence of non-English languages in the state, as well as ongoing changes in Alabama’s dialects.

Also of interest: New Perspectives on Language Variety in the SouthHistorical and Contemporary Approaches edited by Michael D. Picone, Catherine Evans Davies

Nature Journal by L. J. Davenport

For your friends who keep asking you to go camping.

Nature Journal is an innovative presentation of the best columns and photographs from L. J. Davenport’s popular column in Alabama Heritage magazine. Readers of the magazine have come to relish his artful and often witty descriptions of common species encountered in the Alabama outdoors. But Nature Journal is designed to be much more than a mere collection of entertaining essays; it is also an educational tool—a means of instructing and encouraging readers in the art of keeping a nature journal for themselves.

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

Almost Family: A Novel by Roy Hoffman

For the members of your book club.

Nebraska Waters is black. Vivian Gold is Jewish. In an Alabama kitchen where, for nearly thirty years, they share cups of coffee, fret over their children, and watch the civil rights movement unfold out their window, and into their homes, they are like family—almost.
As Nebraska makes her way, day in and out, to Vivian’s house to cook and help tend the Gold children, the “almost” threatens to widen into a great divide. The two women’s husbands affect their relationship, as do their children, Viv Waters and Benjamin Gold, born the same year and coming of age in a changing South. The bond between the women both strengthens and frays.

Also of interest: Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations by Roy Hoffman

Time in the Barrel: A Marine’s Account of the Battle for Con Thien by James P. Coan

For your uncle who loved Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary.

For eight months, James P. Coan’s five-tank platoon was assigned to Con Thien while attached to various Marine infantry battalions. A novice second lieutenant at the time, the author kept a diary recording the thoughts, fears, and frustrations that accompanied his life on “The Hill.” Time in the Barrel: A Marine’s Account of the Battle for Con Thien offers an authentic firsthand account of the daily nightmare that was Con Thien. An enticing and fascinating read featuring authentic depictions of combat, it allows readers to fully grasp the enormity of the fierce struggle for Con Thien.

Also of interest: Con Thien: The Hills of Angels by James P. Coan

Among the Swamp People: Life in Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta by Watt Key

For your cousin who’s writing their first novel.

Among the Swamp People is the story of author Watt Key’s discovery of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. “The swamp” consists of almost 260,000 acres of wetlands located just north of Mobile Bay. There he leases a habitable outcropping of land and constructs a primitive cabin from driftwood to serve as a private getaway. His story is one that chronicles the beauties of the delta’s unparalleled natural wonders, the difficulties of survival within it, and an extraordinary community of characters—by turns generous and violent, gracious and paranoid, hilarious and reckless—who live, thrive, and perish there.

Also of interest: Fanning the Spark: A Memoir by Mary Ward Brown

Grandeur of the Everyday: The Paintings of Dale KenningtonIntroduction by Daniel White, Conversation with Kristen Miller Zohn, Essay by Rebecca Brantley

For your sister who binge watches Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting.

Grandeur of the Everyday is the first full-length volume dedicated to the life and work of Dale Kennington—an accomplished master of contemporary American realism. Kennington’s works often hold a strange familiarity, even for those coming to her work for the first time. Her paintings are at once familiar and yet defy specificity of place, clear and lucid while also dense in content. These effects derive from her unique ability to capture the essence of everyday living, the ordinary “in between” moments we often overlook in our day-to-day habits and transactions.

Also of interest: Visions of the Black Belt: A Cultural Survey of the Heart of Alabama by Robin McDonald and Valerie Pope Burns

Fascinating Foods from the Deep South: Favorite Recipes from the University Club of Tuscaloosa, Alabama by Alline P. Van Duzor

For your grandmother, the best cook you know. (And also anyone who has had the pleasure of trying the University Club’s bread pudding.)

In the University Club’s early years, the major force behind the gracious dining at that elegant antebellum house was Alline P. Van Duzor, who presided over the club with a will as strong as the cast-iron skillets that hung in her kitchen. Her tempting cuisine attracted many loyal diners to the club who invariably asked for the recipes. This cookbook was the result, written by Van Duzor in 1961 in characteristically straightforward style, and when originally published, it sold through at least eight printings. 
The more than 250 mouth-watering recipes from the Old South contained in the now-classic cookbook are written with easy-tofollow instructions, using common fresh and store-bought ingredients. This new edition has been augmented by a guide to portions and food brand names, an index to the recipes, and an appendix of past presidents of the University Club Board. 

Also of interest: Man Food: Recipes from the Iron Trade by Sloss Furnace Historical Landmark

The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders by B. J. Hollars

For your woke aunt who reads The New Yorker.

While much has been written on the Freedom Rides, far less has been published about the individual riders. Join award-winning author B. J. Hollars as he sets out on his own journey to meet them, retracing the historic route and learning the stories of as many surviving riders as he could. The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders offers an intimate look into the lives and legacies of the riders. Throughout the book these civil rights veterans’ poignant, personal stories offer timely insights into America’s racial past and hopeful future.

Also of interest: Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America by B. J. Hollars

#TurnItUP: Spotlight on Alabama’s Bicentennial

upw-logo-yellow-800pxTo celebrate history day on University Press Week 2018 blog tour, we are highlighting Alabama’s bicentennial year—a three-year celebration of the people, places, and events that form our rich history.

Formed as a territory on March 3, 1817, Alabama became the nation’s twenty-second state on December 14, 1819. In celebration of this occasion, University of Alabama Press has collaborated with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission to publish a series of books commemorating the stories of Alabama’s people, place, and path to statehood.

Below is a roundup of titles, available and forthcoming, celebrating 200 years of Alabama statehood:

The History of a Deep South State, Bicentennial Edition

William Warren Rogers, Robert David Ward, Leah Rawls Atkins, and Wayne Flynt

A new and up-to-date edition of Alabama’s history to celebrate the state’s bicentennial

The Making of an American State

Edwin C. Bridges

A thorough, accessible, and heavily illustrated history of Alabama from its geological origins to the early twenty-first century, this book offers a vital new narrative of the history, culture, and identity of the state


Jkt_Lewis_mktgAlabama Founders
Fourteen Political and Military Leaders Who Shaped the State

Herbert James Lewis

A biographical history of the forefathers who shaped the identity of Alabama politically, legally, economically, militarily, and geographically

These Rugged DaysJkt_Sledge_mktg
Alabama in the Civil War

John S. Sledge

An accessibly written and riveting narrative of Alabama’s role in the Civil War


Cvr_Wills&Davenport_mktgExploring Wild Alabama
A Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas
Kenneth M. Wills and L. J. Davenport

A comprehensive guide to Alabama’s publicly accessible natural destinations



Alabama CreatesJkt_Knight_mktg
200 Years of Art and Artists
Edited by Elliot A. Knight
Available Spring 2019

A visually rich survey of two hundred years of Alabama fine arts and artists

The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods
Emily Blejwas
Available Spring 2019

Alabama’s history and culture revealed through fourteen iconic foods, dishes, and beverages

TuscaloosaTuscaloosa front cover.indd
200 Years in the Making
G. Ward Hubbs
Available in January

A lavishly illustrated history of this distinctive city’s origins as a settlement on the banks of the Black Warrior River to its development into a thriving nexus of higher education, sports, and culture

Cvr_Braund_mktgThe Old Federal Road in Alabama
An Illustrated Guide
Kathryn H. Braund, Gregory A. Waselkov, and Raven M. Christopher
Available Spring 2019

A concise illustrated guidebook for those wishing to explore and know more about the storied gateway that made possible Alabama’s development


Early AlabamaCvr_Bunn_mktg
An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798–1826
Mike Bunn
Available Spring 2019

An illustrated guidebook documenting the history and sites of the state’s origins



Be sure to check in with the other University Presses posting on politics today as part of the UPWeek blog tour:

Wilfrid Laurier University Press: Nil Santiáñez, author of the recently-published Wittgenstein’s Ethics and Modern Warfare, explores how the Great War impacted Wittgenstein’s philosophy. The post celebrates the centenary of the Armistice of 1918 and focuses on the book’s main topics.

University of California Press: The Western Woman Voter: The Women’s Suffrage Movement, Through the Perspective of the West – an excerpt taken from Shaped by the West, Volume 2: A History of North America from 1850 by William Deverell & Anne F. Hyde

University of Nebraska Press: Jon K. Lauck, adjunct professor of history and political science at the University of South Dakota and the author of numerous books, will discuss the importance of Midwestern history.

Rutgers University Press: A focus on acclaimed cultural historian H. Bruce Franklin’s new book Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War.

University of Rochester Press: An interview with the author of our new book An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South, which uncovers the role of African American women in the design and construction of schools in the post-Reconstruction South

Beacon Press: A looking at the Press’ ReVisioning American History and ReVisioning American History for Young Readers Series

University Press of Kansas: A discussion and celebration of the passion of military history readers by interviewing authors, critics and customer

Harvard Univerity Press: A look at the history of HUP publishing with Bruno Latour.

University of Georgia Press: A spotlight on a new series, Gender and Slavery, and its inaugural book, Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas. The series seeks to shed light on the gendered experience of enslavement including and beyond that of the United States.

University of Toronto Press: Editor Stephen Shapiro reflects on the vast range and the staying power of UTP’s publishing program in history.

MIT Press: A Q&A with our longtime editor Roger Conover (who is retiring next year) and one of his authors Craig Dworkin, about his history at the MIT Press.


An Excerpt from “Jeffrey’s Latest 13: More Alabama Ghosts” by Kathryn Tucker Windham

From A Sampling of University Hauntings

excerpt 2

Colleges, it appears, have always been attractive to ghosts, and there is hardly an institution of higher learning in Alabama that lacks a local legend of the supernatural.

Huntingdon College has its Red Lady, Judson has its phantom organist, Montevallo has the restless spirit of a former student up on fourth Main (better known as Buzzard), Spring Hill has the ghost of a brilliant mathematics professor, Athens College has the stern presence of Madam Childs, and there are other such college hauntings.

The University of Alabama, as befits the state’s oldest seat of advanced education, has several college ghosts, spirits linked with the history of that Tuscaloosa institution. Ghost lore on the University campus centers on Smith Hall where for more than a quarter of a century there have been stories of nocturnal noises for which there is no satisfactory explanation.

There may have been earlier supernatural occurrences in the yellow brick building, but it was in 1955 that Dr. Gary Hooks, then an instructor at the University, had his first encounters with the Smith Hall ghosts. Dr. Hooks, it is recorded, was working very late, doing research for his dissertation in a room on the first floor of Smith Hall. He was alone in the building.

He was concentrating on the notes and charts spread out in front of him when he became aware of unusual noises on the floor above him. There were the sounds of muffled voices and of many footsteps, as though a group of students was being shown through the second floor museum.

Dr. Hooks hurried upstairs to see who the late-night visitors were, but he found the second floor quite deserted: no one was there. There was no one on the third floor, either. Yet Dr. Hooks was certain he had heard footsteps and voices.

He gathered up his papers and left the building.

This initial awareness of the presence of other people in the supposedly empty building was followed by several similar experiences. Again and again his late night study was interrupted by clattering footsteps on the second floor and by the intermingling of many voices. And on each such occasion, a search of the building showed no one else was there.

The ghostly noises did not always follow the same pattern. Sometimes it was the voices of college students Dr. Hooks heard, as though the students were assembling in the classroom for a lecture or were changing classes. At other times the voices seemed to be those of children, perhaps elementary school pupils being taken on a tour of the museum. Though thousands of Alabama schoolchildren have trekked through the museum in the past half-century, no youngsters were ever visible when Dr. Hooks went to investigate.

In the early 1970s, several graduate students studying past midnight in Smith Hall told of eerie experiences similar to those reported by Dr. Hooks.

Chuck Weilchowsky of Selma, working alone in the basement after midnight, had his study interrupted by the same kinds of noises, the subdued intermingling of many voices and the hurried steps of many feet. But never did he find anyone else in the building.

Bob Clark, Barry Gilliam, Jay Masingill, Perry Hubbert, Vic Davis, Steve Kimbrell, and others have reportedly heard the phantom voices and footsteps. On some occasions, they said, a dominant voice was audible above the murmur. Though the words were not clear enough to be understood, it sounded, they said, like the voice of a teacher or lecturer calling his class to order.

Occasionally, these graduate students recalled, they were aware of an unseen presence very close to them, as though a professor were looking over their shoulders to check the quality of their research.

jeffrey excerpt

Dr. Eugene Allen Smith spent most of the last years of his long life in Smith Hall.

Some of the students who heard the ghostly noises believe the sounds somehow involve Dr. Eugene Allen Smith for whom the building was named.


Dr. Smith was born in Autauga County in 1841, and he entered the University of Alabama in 1860. The War Between the States interrupted his education, and in 1862 he joined the Confederate forces, attaining the rank of captain.

He became a professor on the faculty of the University in 1871, having earlier earned his Ph.D. degree from Heidelburg University. In 1873, the Alabama legislature appointed him Alabama’s first state geologist.

In his new position, Dr. Smith crisscrossed the state in his horse­-drawn buggy, observing, studying, mapping, collecting, photographing, and writing about Alabama’s geological formations. It was Dr. Smith who first recognized the importance of preserving the remnants of Indian culture at Moundville.

He was nearly seventy years old, but still quite active, when Smith Hall was completed in 1910. He moved his laboratory to the first floor of the building that bears his name, and for the next seventeen years he continued to work there. And into that building he brought his collection of fossils, artifacts, and rocks, geological samples from every county in the state.

Dr. Smith was eating breakfast one morning in late August 1927, when he became violently ill. His death came about a week later. He was eighty-six years old.

”Dr. Smith spent most of the last years of his long life in Smith Hall. He loved this place,” students who believe that his spirit still lingers in the building point out. “He liked to lecture to the classes and enjoyed escorting groups of elementary schoolchildren through the Museum of Natural History, talking to them and answering their questions.

”He dedicated his life to the study of the geology of his native state, and he wanted to pass his knowledge on to new generations. So it could well be his voice we hear above the mingled whispers, his footsteps we hear in the museum, his presence we feel,” they say.

(c) Kathryn Tucker Windham

Jkt_Windham_Latest_mktgLooking for more hauntings? The Jeffrey books are available for purchase here.

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