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Bulletin Summer 2013

Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke Fielder’s Choice by J. Mark Hart (460 pgs.) Mark Hart has written a novel about his experiences in growing up in the western area of Birmingham. It describes the con­icted nature of his protagonist’s attitude toward racial integration that was stirring Birmingham so deeply in the 1950s, compared to that of his parents and their friends who were mostly TCI employees and staunch segregationists. ˆis con­icted attitude is compounded by the fact that Mr. Hart’s alter ego is also con­icted over the Vietnam military draft and his desire to be a conscientious objector to the war. Literary snobs would call this type novel, along with another one reviewed here, Bildungsroman, which is a “coming of age story,” a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. ˆe change in character of this blossoming adolescent is re-told in many famous books, such as “ˆe Catcher in the Rye,” “Look Homeward Angel,” and “A Separate Peace.” ˆe di”erence here is the turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s in the South, which was experiencing a deep resistance to change. Mr. Hart has a good writing style, tells his story convincingly, and it is worthy of your attention. As most of you know, Mark Hart is primarily an insurance defense lawyer and this is his •rst novel. e Newspaper Boy by Chervis Isom (From an uncorrected manuscript - 406 pgs.) Chervis Isom has also presented his own Bildungsroman and his protagonist (this is an autobiography really) takes place in Norwood instead of West End. Growing up as the son of a Greyhound bus driver and a stay-at-home mom, Chervis experiences his •rst freedom as a pre-pubescent adolescent by developing his own extensive paper route, making it possible for him to •rst purchase a motorcycle and then his own automobile. ˆe book carries Chervis’ life through the turmoil of the 50s and 60s and he introduces such characters as Asa E. “Ace” Carter, who was a mesmerizing speaker at White Citizens Council meetings in the State of Alabama. Mr. Isom actually met Ace Carter at Mr. Carter’s “place of business,” which was a run-down building o” Bessemer Super Highway. Chervis then describes his experiences at college in Nashville and later at Birmingham Southern. One of the most moving scenes in this book describes none other than Abe Berkowitz, former member of the Birmingham Bar, who on an impulsive interview with Chervis Isom, agreed to •nance Chervis’ law school education entirely. ˆis displays to you, the reader, that philanthropy of this sort is still possible. Of course, Chervis was later an associate and partner in Mr. Berkowitz’s •rm. As such, Chervis experienced •rst hand the change in the form of government that ran concurrently with the civil rights movement in Birmingham. His contribution to the history of that era here is incomparable. It is hoped that Mr. Isom will expand this “uncorrected manuscript,” which he describes as “a Memoir” into a published book. It is available to you only at the graciousness of how many copies Mr. Isom wants to contribute to you, the reader. Of course, it is hoped that you will have the opportunity to read this important documentary of a success story achieved by hard work. Richard Ja”e, successful criminal lawyer, describes some of his experiences Quest For Justice: Defending the Damned by Richard S. Ja”e Copyright 2012 New Horizon Press (322 pgs.) in representing the infamous and the famous. Some of his most interesting pages describe Judge Jack Montgomery at his best (or worst), whatever your point of view. He describes Judge Montgomery as the maverick he was before his death. Mr. Ja”e tells these stories convincingly and describes some of his more famous cases at the Bar, including Eric Rudolph, who was charged with the Atlanta Olympic 20 Birmingham Bar Association


Bulletin Summer 2013
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