Tupelo Man
The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher

By Robert Blade

368 pages (approx.), 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 10 b&w photographs, bibliography, index

978-1-61703-628-6 Cloth $40.00R

978-1-61703-629-3 Ebook $40.00

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* In 2018-2019 University Press of Mississippi will close for the holidays on Friday, December 21, 2018, and will reopen Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Orders sent by Paypal through Friday, December 14, at 11 a.m. Central will ship in time for Christmas. If you are not ordering for the holidays, please leave us a note in Paypal. After December 14, customers desiring shipping before Christmas should call 1.800.737.7788 and ask for rush delivery. Please be prepared to pay extra for rapid shipping. Orders that come to our website after these dates will begin shipping on January 2, 2019.

The biography of an extraordinary southern journalist who confronted the status quo

In 1924, George McLean, an Ole Miss sophomore and the spoiled son of a judge, attended a YMCA student mission conference whose free-thinking, Christian socialist organizers aimed to change the world. They changed George McLean's.

But not instantly. As vividly recounted in the first biography of this significant figure in southern history, Tupelo Man: The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher, McLean drifted through schools and jobs, always questioning authority, always searching for a way to put his restless vision into practical use. In the Depression's depths, he was fired from a teaching job at what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, over his socialist ideas and labor-organizing work.

By 1934, he decided that he had enough of working for others and that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor northeast Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's money to buy what he called "a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt bank." As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.

But McLean (1904-1983) was far from a saint. He prayed about his temper, with little result. He was distant and aloof toward his two children-- adopted through a notorious Memphis baby-selling operation. His wife, whom he deeply loved in his prickly way, left him once and threatened to leave again. "I don't know why I was born with this chip on my shoulder," he told her. Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own lives and times.

Robert Blade, Jacksonville, Florida, worked almost twenty years as a journalist before becoming a professor of journalism at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is married to George McLean's daughter.

368 pages (approx.), 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 10 b&w photographs, bibliography, index