Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

History/Travel/Nature


“Alabama Scoundrels: Outlaws, Pirates, Bandits and Bushwhackers”

by Kelly Kazek and Wil Elrick
While legislators were writing the first laws in Alabama, some miscreant citizens were already breaking them, causing disorder and fleeing the hands of justice. Among these were cult-leader-turned-murderer "Bloody" Bob Sims, social-activist-turned-anarchist Albert Parsons, the mysterious hobo bandit Railroad Bill and the nefarious outlaw sheriff Steve Renfroe, who was credited with countless prison escapes, thefts and arson. Legendary Wild West figures Frank and Jesse James also appeared in Alabama, along with numerous other well-known gunslingers, pirates, crooks and desperados. Purchase

“Forgotten Tales of Alabama”

by Kelly Kazek
From Muscle Shoals to Montgomery to Mobile, there's just no place quite like Alabama. Take a journey off the beaten path through the Cotton State with author Kelly Kazek as she uncovers the stories that make Alabama one of a kind. This collection is packed with little-known stories of strange sites, like the world's largest Nehi bottle; curious critters, like the first monkey in space; and colorful characters, such as the outlaw Tom Clark. Whether funny, far-fetched, gripping or grisly, Forgotten Tales of Alabama is filled with stories you won't soon forget. Purchase

“A Home for Wayward Boys: The Early History of the Alabama Boys’ Industrial School”

by Jerry Armor
A Home for Wayward Boys is the inspiring story of the school, its leaders, and the boys who lived there. When reformer Elizabeth Johnston walked among the convicts in an Alabama prison mining camp, she was stunned to see teenage boys working alongside hardened criminals. She vowed to remove youngsters from such wretched conditions by establishing a home for wayward boys. With the support of women across the state, she persuaded the legislature to establish the Alabama Boys' Industrial School in 1900. After several difficult years, Johnston and her all-female board hired a young Tennessee couple, David and Katherine Weakley, as superintendent and matron. United in their Christian faith, their love for the boys, and some basic principles on how the boys should be molded into men, Johnston and the Weakleys labored together for decades to make the school one of the nation's premier institutions of its kind. Purchase

“Travels”

by William Bartram
Starting in 1773, a four-year journey through the eight southern colonies ranging from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, to the Carolinas, Florida and Mississippi. "The Travels of William Bartram" is an account of this journey that combines the natural sciences, travel and philosophy in a literature style that is not just solely scientific. The book entails the many native flora and fauna he discovered, encounters with the intrepid Seminoles Indians, battles with aggressive alligators, and observations on God's device for Nature. Purchase

“Tuxedo Junction, Right Back Where I Belong”

by Carol Ealons
Dancing and relaxing was the major forté for what was then called the Tuxedo Junction Dance Hall. In the early part of the 20th Century the Nixon Building, as it is known today, was the “place to go” for the African American population in the western section of Birmingham, Alabama. Purchase

“Back Home: Journeys through Mobile”

by Roy Hoffman
After twenty years in New York City, a prize-winning writer takes a "long look back" at his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Roy Hoffman tells stories--through essays, feature articles, and memoir--of one of the South's oldest and most colorful port cities. Many of the pieces here grew out of Hoffman's work as Writer-in-Residence for his hometown newspaper, the Mobile Register, a position he took after working in New York City for twenty years as a journalist, fiction writer, book critic, teacher, and speech writer. Purchase

“Patriotic Fire”

by Winston Groom (2011 winner of the Harper Lee Award)
December 1814: its economy in tatters, its capital city of Washington, D.C., burnt to the ground, a young America was again at war with the militarily superior English crown. With an enormous enemy armada approaching New Orleans, two unlikely allies teamed up to repel the British in one of the greatest battles ever fought in North America. Purchase

“Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State”

by Harvey H. Jackson
An affectionate, irreverent, candid look at the "Heart of Dixie." This book tells Alabama's history in a conversational style with an unapologetically subjective approach. Accessible to general readers and students alike, it recounts the history and politics of a state known for its colorful past, told by one of the state's most noted historians and educators, whose family came to the territory before statehood. A native and resident Alabamian, Harvey Jackson has spent a lifetime discovering and trying to understand his state. Expressing deep love for its people and culture, he is no less critical of its shortcomings. Purchase

“The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow”

by Wayne Greenhaw (2006 winner of the Harper Lee Award) and Donnie Williams
The heroism of those involved in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott is presented here in poignant and thorough detail. The untold stories of those, both black and white, whose lives were forever changed by the boycott are shared, along with a chilling glimpse into the world of the white council members who tried to stop them. Purchase

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