book cover

Civil Rights Era tests loyalties

in Through the Heart of the South

Every instinct Chris McAndrew developed growing up tells him the safe course for a white football player who supports racial integration at Shortridge High is to hold his tongue until he graduates and leaves his railroad town for college.

That's what girlfriend Susan Marks wants him to do. It's what town patriarch Grampy Harvard demands.

But Monteenia, his family maid, sends him to school each morning with breakfast and a clean shirt. Malachi Stevens, the new teammate he comes to respect, gets a raw deal from their coaches. And Mr. Cooper, the glee club director, risks his job for his singers.

Chris knows where his loyalties lie, but will he pay the price to honor them?

Through the Heart of the South blends Kathryn Stockett's The Help, exploring the South's convoluted racial mores around domestic servants, with Pat Conroy's The Lords of Discipline about life in a culture that demands rigid conformity.

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From others on the Web

"Lovely story of people with strong traditions being pulled and tugged to do the right thing. I love the South, and enjoyed the story of its connection via the railroad with NYC. Highly recommend this book to all, particulary for those finding it difficult to stand up for what is right, because of resulting consequences."

Customer review on Amazon.com from Donald Skipwith

"The best book of 2010 is Through the Heart of the South by Jody Meacham."

Listener Elisa Koff-Ginsborg on KQED-FM's "Holiday Books 2010"

"I was moved to (good) near-tears many times ... The author's depiction of rail scenes, human relationships and outdoor settings was superb."

Customer review on Amazon.com from Chet Copeland

"In a week I'm taking Amtrak's Capitol Limited to Washington. Guess what I'll be reading aboard the train?"

Blogger, reviewer and novelist Henry Kisor