Synopses & Reviews
Richard Rubin has earned a reputation as a first-rate writer of literary nonfiction in such venues as The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine. Now he joins the ranks of esteemed authors with this stunning debut, a national bestseller in which he tells the timeless, irresistible story of an outsider in the Deep South. Fresh out of the Ivy League, Rubin, a native New Yorker, answers a help-wanted ad for a journalist and finds himself in the old Delta town of Greenwood, Mississippi, where, to his great surprise, he is welcomed warmly. But Greenwood's friendly face hides darker secrets, and ultimately Rubin is forced to leave town in order to preserve his own sense of right and wrong. Six years later, back in New York, he learns that his former prize scoop--Handy Campbell, the phenomenally talented Greenwood High School quarterback who emerged from the projects and appeared destined for the NFL--has been charged with capital murder, accused of killing a mutual friend. Rubin returns south to cover the trial and trace the trail that took Handy from Mississippi State University to the Leflore County jail. In the process, Rubin is forced to confront his own unresolved feelings about Greenwood, as the best and worst elements of the town rise up to do battle over one man's fate.
"This powerful docudrama provides a searing look at a true crime story through the eyes of a naive young man on his first job as a reporter....this well-written debut will appeal to anyone interested in the South, racism, or true-crime stories." Library Journal
"This obok made me homesick." Shellby Foote, author of The Civil War
"Richard Rubin is a skillful observer wryly honest about his own naivete; discerning in his depiction of wocial dynamics in the 'New Old South'; and grateful for his fish-out-of-water status and the feedeom it gives him. With relentless curiousity and sometimes grim humor, Confederacy of Silence Paints a portrait of an emblematic place at a pivotal time." Cullen Murphy, managing editor, The Atlantic Monthly
"this a very fine book, one of the best I've ever read about my home state clear-eyed and unsentimental and at the same time compassionate and loving. The authenticity of the voice and the first-hand grasp of the material are impressive. Besides that, it is beautifully written, and it tells a gripping story, with superbly drawn characters, in the way of good novels. I couldn't put it down." Lewis Nordan, author of Boy with Loaded Gun, The Sharpshooter Blues, and Music of the Swamp
"In Confederacy of Silence, Richard Rubin takes a haunting journey through the new and not-so-new South. Part coming-of-age sage, part detective story, part football journal, Rubin's compelling book is at its heart an examination of the never-ending agonies of race." Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Run of His Life
The New Yorker [Rubin's] willingness to look honestly at the complexity of race in today's South is invigorating, and the book's conclusion...is shattering.
The Washington Post A page-turner....Rubin seems to have gone to school on the fine writers in whom Mississippi abounds, [including] Eudora Welty and Willie Morris.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Rubin] brings Greenwood to life as a real place full of real people....Confederacy of Silence is a moving, even haunting account of how the "New South" isn't as new as we'd like to think.
When Richard Rubin, fresh out of the Ivy League, accepts a job at a daily newspaper in the old Delta town of Greenwood, Mississippi, he is thrust into a place as different from his hometown of New York as any in the country. Yet to his surprise, he is warmly welcomed by the townspeople and soon finds his first great scoop in Handy Campbell, a poor, black teen and gifted high school quarterback who goes on to win a spot on Mississippi State's team -- a training ground for the NFL.
Six years later, Rubin, back in New York, learns that Handy is locked up in Greenwood, accused of capital murder. Returning south to cover the trial, Rubin follows the trail that took Handy from the football field to county jail. As the best and worst elements of Mississippi rise up to do battle over one man's fate, Rubin must confront his own unresolved feelings about the confederacy of silence that initially enabled him to thrive in Greenwood but ultimately forced him to leave it.
About the Author
Richard Rubin is a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and New York magazine. He lives in New York.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Thanksgiving, 1994
THE HIGH-WATER MARK OF MY CONFEDERACY
- Hospitality State
- A Fine Introduction
- The Alternate State Capital of Mississippi
- They'll Eat You Alive
- The Last of Their Kind
- There Is No News
- How People Really Lived
- The Briefest Experience of Perfection
- My Job
- Some Kind of Club
- The High-Water Mark of My Confederacy
- Bye, Baby
A BAD PLACE TO BE
- The New Old South
- The Benefits of Being a White Man
- The Delta Way
- A Bad Place to Be
- He Who Stands Firm
- In Every Man
THE DEATH OF MY GREENWOOD
- One More Mississippi Mystery
- Something Blue
- Confederacy of Silence
- The Death of My Greenwood