Suggested Reading List
A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him
Author: Michael Takiff
Description: Oral historian and journalist Takiff offers a wealth of perspective to counter-or at least complicate-the prevailing, and simplistic, image many people hold of America's 42nd president, despite two prosperous terms and a decade of post-White House foreign relations work. Somewhat predictably, Takiff begins with Clinton's birth to a recently widowed mother in Hope, Ark. and ends, more or less, with wife Hillary Rodham Clinton's failure to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
Author: David Maraniss
Description: Lots of people have put forth theories on what makes Bill Clinton tick, but the most trustworthy source may be David Maraniss of the Washington Post. Maraniss won a Pulitzer covering Clinton's campaign, and his book on the man is nonpareil; you simply can't understand Clinton without reading Maraniss's analysis of his past. When Bill Clinton is good, he is very, very good, and when he's bad, he's exactly like he has been all his life.
Sam Walton: Made in America
Author: Sam Walton
Description: In a story rich with anecdotes and the "rules of the road" of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that propelled him to lasso the American Dream.
Best Lawyer in a One-Lawyer Town
Author: Dale Bumpers
Description: Bumpers tells the story of his remarkable journey from poverty to political legend, and the result is a great American memoir that is already attracting wide acclaim for its clever Southern charm.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
Description: In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."
A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
Author: Carlotta Walls
Description: When fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls walked up the stairs of Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957, she and eight other black students only wanted to make it to class. But the journey of the “Little Rock Nine,” as they came to be known, would lead the nation on an even longer and much more turbulent path, one that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the landscape of America.
Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal
Author: Roy Reed
Description: At the time of Little Rock's desegregation, Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus ensured his place in history by defying federal court orders and blocking integration, thus forcing President Eisenhower to call out the National Guard. Faubus was certainly not the only southerner who vociferously opposed integration--George Wallace of Alabama and Lestor Maddox of Georgia (among others) also jumped on the bandwagon--but what's unusual about Faubus is that he started out as a racial liberal. Surprises abound in Faubus, a fascinating biography by Roy Reed.
A Place Apart: A pictorial History of Hot Springs
Author: Ray Hanley
Description: Hanley provides a fine introduction to readers wanting a rapid but in-depth narrative of Hot Springs' physical and political growth as it evolved into a national park, recreational resort, and one of Arkansas's pre-eminent cities. Both text and photographs supply information and cultural history corroborating or dispelling prodigious myths about a city of notable and notorious characters.
The American Spa: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Author: Dee Brown
Description: The illustrated history, American Spa: Hot Springs, Arkansas (1982), includes candid stories about the state’s mecca for tourism, such as the dispute, in 1877, among town leaders concerning the use of Hot Springs Reservation’s thermal waters by the poor.
Author: John Grisham
Description: An enjoyable, heart warming read that’s not just for baseball fans. An account of the rise and fall of Joe Castle, a baseball player from Calico Rock, Arkansas. Castle rose from the minor leagues to the Chicago Cubs in 1973 and became the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.
The Dixie Association
Author: Donald Hays
Description: The Dixie Association is hilarious, wise, profound, and unbelievably beautifully written. It should not be subtitled "Voices of the South". It is THE voice of the South, perfectly captured on paper. Donald Hays has perfect pitch for Southern language, on the street and in the locker room. The baseball portions are true, interesting and exciting. The picture of the last game remains one of the great descriptions of an epic encounter in sports.
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks
Author: Donald Harrington
Description: Jacob and Noah Ingledew trudge 600 miles from their native Tennessee to found Stay More, a small town nestled in a narrow valley that winds among the Arkansas Ozarks and into the reader's imagination. The Ingledew saga - which follows six generations of 'Stay Morons' through 140 years of abundant living and prodigal loving - is the heart of Harrington's jubilant, picaresque novel. Praised as one of the year's ten best novels by the American Library Association when first published, this tale continues to captivate readers with its winning fusion of lyricism and comedy.
Blind Judgment: A Gideon Page Novel
Author: Grif Stockley
Description: The best thing about Grif Stockley's mysteries featuring Gideon Page, an Arkansas social worker turned lawyer, is their no-nonsense attitude toward the business of being a lawyer. Blind Judgement has Page commuting from Little Rock to his hometown of Bear Creek in the Arkansas Delta to defend an African American accused of killing his Chinese American employer, presumably on the orders of a wealthy white man named Paul Taylor.
Ruled By Race: Black/White Relations in Arkansas from Slavery to the Present
Author: Grif Stockley
Description: From the Civil War to Reconstruction, the Redeemer period, Jim Crow, and the modern civil rights era to the present, Ruled by Race describes the ways that race has been at the center of much of the state’s formation and image since its founding.
Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock
Author: Jack Butler
Description: With Arkansas in the forefront of the news, Butler's challenging tale of love, lust, and loss in Little Rock has all the ingredients of a winner. There is Lianne, a former beauty queen and television personality and her husband, Charles, a successful liberal lawyer and millionaire. There are also the members of Charles's firm: Tina, a poor girl made good; Lafayette, an African American former football star; and Greg, the token WASP. There's cocaine, a hostile sheriff, a creation science law, group therapy, and a couple of inept assassins. The whole story is narrated by the Holy Ghost in an Ozark accent.
It Takes A Village: Tenth Anniversary Edition
Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Description: In celebration of the tenth anniversary of It Takes a Village, this splendid edition includes photographs and a new Introduction by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A decade ago, then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton chronicled her quest -- both deeply personal and, in the truest sense, public -- to help make our society into the kind of village that enables children to become smart, able, resilient adults.