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An Evening with Barbara Woodall at Splendor Mountain at Splendor Mountain

January 27, 2015 from 6pm to 8pm
Barbara Taylor Woodall was born and raised in Rabun County Georgia. This county touches both North Carolina and South Carolina, so you can already guess it was a special place to grow a child. Barbara wrote about her life as a child and the wonderful people God joined her to as she grew and learned. It's Not My Mountain Anymore tells some of these stories. Barbara will share from her book and from her life, June 6, 2015 at Splendor Mountain.See More
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David Joy Presents His Debut Novel at City Lights Bookstore

March 6, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Webster author, David Joy will present his new novel on Friday, March 6th at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore.  Where All Light Tends to Go, a staff pick of both Chris and Eon, is set in Jackson County and tells the story of Jacob McNeely, a young man who is in a fight against his fate. “Expertly balancing beauty and brutality, David has written a novel that stays with the reader long after the final page has been read.  Where All Light Tends to Go, though very much an Appalachian tale, is…See More
Thursday
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Jan 21
Caralyn Davis posted a blog post

Color Blind, My First Eco-Fiction, Published & Waiting to Be Read

My short story "Color Blind" is now up at Eclectica Magazine. It's got animal extinctions, Sekhmet, Santa Claus, golden Panamanian frogs, real science, fake science, and lots of cats -- in a very economical, easy-reading 1,700 words.See More
Jan 15
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Rose Senehi, Speaker for CMLC's January Speaker Series at Henderson County Main Branch Library in the Kaplan Auditorium.

January 14, 2015 from 6pm to 7:30pm
Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) Wednesday, January 14th for a presentation from Rose Senehi, esteemed Chimney Rock author of novels Dancing on Rocks, Render Unto the Valley, and many more. She will read passages from her books while elaborating on her local inspirations. At the end of her readings, Senehi will conduct a Q&A session and book signing.Many of Senehi’s novels have woven together several of CMLC’s regional land conservation accomplishments. In the Shadows of…See More
Jan 12
Rodney Page commented on Rob Neufeld's group Promoting Writers
"Happy to join the group...Relatively new to North Carolina. Have published a thriller, Powers Not Delegated, and my second book, The Xerces Factor launches in April 2015. see more at my website: www.rodneypagebooks.com"
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City Lights Bookstore posted events
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1962, Tunnel Road--an era remembered

We remember Tunnel Road and 1960by Rob Neufeld             The “Buck Burger”—“made with two pure beef patties,” tomato, lettuce, cheese, and a dill chip, “served with Buck’s own special dressing on a toasted bun.”             That was something that you could get at Buck’s Drive-In on Tunnel Road, from 1946 to 1972, when…See More
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Dec 27, 2014
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Dec 26, 2014

Paul Reid of Tryon writes Winston Churchill: Defender of the Realm

Paul Reid of Tryon rounds out The Last Lion

by Rob Neufeld

 

            When Paul Reid got his advance from Little, Brown & Co. to write the third volume of William Manchester’s Winston Churchill biography, “The Last Lion,” he and his wife Barbara moved to Tryon from Florida, where he was an award-winning journalist for the “Palm Beach Post.”

            Reid knew the Carolina mountains.  As a lad from Winchester, Massachusetts and a student at Ithaca College in New York, he and his bluegrass band, the Promised Land String Band, had taken their sound to Boone, Linville, and Deep Gap.  

            Russ Barenberg, Reid’s guitar-playing hero, had sat in on their sessions in New York.  (Barenberg is the performer of “Ashokan Farewell,” the soundtrack theme in Ken Burns’ series, “The Civil War.”)

            Writing about a group of World War II veterans in the late 1990s, Reid met and established an affinity with William Manchester, the best-selling author and former journalist, who, as it turned out, was not able to complete his Churchill trilogy.  On Oct. 9, 2003, Manchester pulled out his suitcase of notes and told Reid, “I’d like you to finish the book.”

            Manchester planned to edit Reid’s work, but died of stomach cancer seven months later.  His notes were a puzzle of coded pages, without the section on sources included.  Reid worked for eight years, covering all the research territory over again, resulting in over 1,100 pages, and a volume titled, “Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965.”

            Reid presents his book at Malaprop’s Bookstore, 3 p.m. tomorrow.  Following is my interview with Paul Reid.

 

Q:  When you first met William Manchester, doing your story on the Marines, how did you bond?

 

A:  Pretty early on, he asked me about my father.  I said he went to the Naval Academy, and that I’d grown up reading military history.  I think he realized: this guy is a feature writer with a strong interest in history, not just on assignment.  When I visited (his area), doing other stories, or going to see my daughter at U. Mass, he’d invite me to stay over, and we’d chat…He wasn’t a lonely, old man, but he was an old man who lived alone.  So we just got to be friends.

 

Q:  He must have sensed an affinity that went beyond an interest in military history to one based on an approach to history.

 

A:  We were talking and I said, “Bill, you should get someone to finish the book.  Get a historian.”  He said, “I don’t want a historian.  If I wanted anyone, and I do not, I’d want a writer.”  I knew exactly what he meant.  I must have done 500 feature stories on all sorts of topics, and he asked if I could send up that month’s bundle of features.  He liked the writing.

 

Q:  You’ve won awards for your features.  What were some of those about?

 

A:  I did a story on the Pratt & Whitney engine for the F-22 Raptor—the biography of an engine….I did a story titled “Geraldo’s Violin.”  It was about a guy whose father had been a violin maker—this guy was now about 70—and his father had not finished a violin he’d started 65 year ago, and had put it in a box.  And now decades later, his son completes the violin and realizes he has a talent for it.

 

Q:  Isn’t that wonderful?  It sort of relates to you and William Manchester.

 

A:  Yes.  The unfinished story. 

 

Q:  How much of the new book did you create?

 

A:  The first 150 pages is a synthesis—there are about 100 of Bill’s pages in there.  From page 161 on, I don’t think Bill is in the book any more. 

 

Q:  That’s when you write about the German air strikes on London.  Let me quote a passage in which you follow Londoners coming out onto the streets from shelters.  “They rose to fires still burning, to stinking raw sewage seeping down gutters.  They emerged to unexploded bombs buried up to the fins in marl and mud, just waiting for the clumsy jolt that would start the fuse softly buzzing.”  I read somewhere that an old man gave you a tour of the haunted sites, and that fed your writing of that chapter.

 

A:  That walk with the old Londoner had a definite effect.  I could close my eyes and hear him.  I’d been to London many times. I had sources, books and maps.  But what a happy coincidence for me to have had this old guy walk me through where the planes came from at night.  I could imagine, I could re-listen to what he’d told me.

 

Q:  How has your newspaper writing experience helped your book writing?

 

A:  The value of journalism to this type of effort is critical.  When you’re making your living on deadlines, and you’ve got to get everything right—nobody wants to print a correction—and you want the reader to enjoy the story, and you have 36 hours to do it, and the next week, you’re on a whole new story—those are skills that are perfectly applicable to a project like this…(With) the demand upon yourself to keep the reader hooked, you don’t have the luxury of a one-page transition in a 15-inch feature story.  You have to move from Topic A to Topic B fluidly.  I told people I thought of the book as an 1,100 page feature story.

 

Q:  That’s the William Manchester tradition, and the Barbara Tuchman.

 

A:  Barbara Tuchman had a Bachelor’s from Radcliffe.  The divide between popular and scholarly history intrigues me.  If you look in the back of one of her books, it’s full of source notes…You can take “The Guns of August” to the beach.  That can’t be said about a lot of scholarly books.  I want a book that moves me, that makes me laugh and think, and doesn’t lecture me…I wanted my book to pass the campfire test as well as the scholarly test.

 

Q:  It’s a big subject, but you can you name one impact that Churchill had on history that readers should be especially aware of?

 

A:  He was full of contradictions and had a lot of faults, and that is made clear in the book.  That said, I believe that his fighting alone, in England, 1940-41, against Hitler (when others favored appeasement)…Because he believed that Nazism was a mortal threat to everything held dear in Western civilization since Plato.  I believe that he bought the time for the Russians to accidentally come in and for the Americans to come in to save Western civilization. 

 

Q:  One also has to be impressed by the effect that great oratory can have on history.

 

A:  My father, when I was a little kid, would put on recordings of Churchill on our RCA Victrola (while) he flipped pancakes and fried eggs for breakfast.  He’d walk around the kitchen in his Annapolis bathrobe, stabbing the air the air with the spatula in syncopation with Churchill’s words.  “Listen to Winston,” he commanded.  That's where it all began.

BOOK

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 by William Manchester and Paul Read (Little, Brown and Co. hardcover, Nov. 2012, 1,199 pages, $40).

 

AUTHOR EVENT

Paul Reid presents the third and final volume of “The Last Lion” at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Jan. 5.  Call 254-6734.

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