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Book details
  • SubGenre:Essays
  • Language:English
  • Pages:280
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098338978

The Road to Pickletown

A Southerner Confronts Cowbells, Clowns, Cuba, Christmas, and Mississippi

by William Jeanes

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"The Road to Pickletown," with a foreword by humorist P. J. O'Rourke, is a collection of newspaper and magazine columns by William Jeanes, a former editor-in-chief and publisher of Car and Driver magazine who lives in Mississippi. The book includes an eclectic selection of columns from a Mississippi weekly, the Northside Sun. These range in tone from warmly humorous to serious outrage and cover subjects from progressive politics to prohibition and from cowbells to Cuba. Most but by no means all have a connection to Mississippi and the south—as seen by a native son who spent more than half his life in New York City and Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Other pieces were written for and appeared in national magazines. Wiliam's forty years away from the deep south give him a broad perspective on a country that delivers endless fuel for a writer willing to call out fools, frauds, and feeble thinkers. And to celebrate unusual people who make the USA forever fascinating. 


"The Road to Pickletown" is the work of William Jeanes, a former editor-in-chief and publisher of Car and Driver magazine who lives in Mississippi. But it contains only a few columns on automotive topics. Most pieces are from the Northside Sun, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, and speak of today's south and the south of times past. Most have an element of humor, but none shy from controversy.  Sections include Life In Mississippi, History and Nostalgia, Travel and Leisure, Commentary, and People. Several pieces were written for a national audience and appeared in magazines such as Playboy, Sports Illustrated, the Saturday Evening Post, and Car and Driver. The national-magazine subjects include the joys of driving at night, wartime baseball, the woman who struck out Babe Ruth, the Safari Rally in Kenya, shooting sporting clays, and Elvis Presley as a television critic.  

About the author

WILLIAM JEANES For more than three decades, William was a major figure in automotive journalism. He began as a freelancer in the 1970s, became a staff writer at Car and Driver, and after a ten-year career in the advertising agency business, returned to Car and Driver as editor-in-chief. Under his leadership, the magazine became the world's largest automotive publication. In 1993, he became a senior vice president and group publisher at Hachette Magazines and publisher of both Car and Driver and Road & Track. His advertising career included service as a senior vice president at two major agencies, SSC&B:Lintas and J. Walter Thompson. A 1959 graduate of Millsaps College, he was the school's Alumnus of the Year in 1992 and joined the board of trustees two years later. He served as an adjunct professor of English at Millsaps in 1983, and in 2005 was writer-in-residence at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. His writing has appeared in a score of international automotive publications as well as in Sports Illustrated, Parade, Playboy, American Heritage, The Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Times. His scholarly writing has been published in the Journal of Mississippi History; War, Literature and the Arts; and The Journal of World War I Aviation Historians. He served on active duty with the US Navy and left the service with the rank of lieutenant. A former board member of the Eudora Welty Foundation, he now lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and continues to write.