From Midnight To Guntown
A former prosecutor's hilarious tales of the ne'er-do-wells and knuckleheads he helped bring to justice
"That Hailman fellow from Mississippi who tells those funny stories about bank robberies--he should write a book. Oh, he did? Well, that's good.""Mississippi has always provided great fodder for novelists, and From Midnight to Guntown explains why in a straight, uncut version. John Hailman knows this world inside and out and delivers hilarious yarns as if told at the bar stool right next to you. Highly recommended for all fans of true crime stories. I'll be keeping this one handy on my bookshelf to reference for future novels."
--Ace Atkins, best-selling crime novelist
"From Midnight to Guntown is an exciting personal account of politics, power, and the law, exploring their intersection on the main streets and in the rural backwaters of modern America. This book should be required reading not only for aspiring trial lawyers--on both sides of the courtroom--but for all lovers of true crime stories, whether they love lawyers or loathe them."
"From Midnight to Guntown is a beautifully written portrait of the complex and criminal underworlds of rural Mississippi. With humor and pathos, retired prosecutor John Hailman captures in a subtle way the individual lives of bank robbers, drug dealers, and racist killers, a cast of characters reminiscent of the best Faulkner novels. By the end of the book, the criminals, police, and judges have become so familiar to the reader, they are like an extended, if highly dysfunctional, family. Hailman knows this world intimately, and his book brings people vividly to life, touching the heart of the reader."
"Now that Hailman is retired and no longer appearing before the court I can say that no book I have ever read captures with greater writing skill the color and humor of our courtroom dramas."
"A masterful portrait of our culture as viewed through the peculiar lens that is Mississippi. Hailman is a gifted raconteur and a writer of rare strength and talent. He has produced the most fascinating and informative book I've read in years."
As a federal prosecutor in Mississippi for over thirty years, John Hailman worked with federal agents, lawyers, judges, and criminals of every stripe. In From Midnight to Guntown, he recounts amazing trials and bad guy antics from the darkly humorous to the needlessly tragic.
In addition to bank robbers--generally the dumbest criminals--Hailman describes scam artists, hit men, protected witnesses, colorful informants, corrupt officials, bad guys with funny nicknames, over-the-top investigators, and those defendants who had a certain roguish charm. Several of his defendants and victims have since had whole books written about them: Dickie Scruggs, Emmett Till, Chicago gang leader Jeff Fort, and Paddy Mitchell, leader of the most successful bank robbery gang of the twentieth century. But Hailman delivers the inside story no one else can. He also recounts his scary experiences after 9/11 when he prosecuted terrorism cases.
John Hailman, Oxford, Mississippi, was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's office in Oxford for thirty-three years, was an inaugural Overby Fellow in journalism, and is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thomas Jefferson on Wine from University Press of Mississippi.
416 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 40 b&w photographs, bibliography, index