For Natalee


Hearts of Dixie




Alabama Roots


"When Hernando de Sota slashed through what would one day become Alabama, one of the chroniclers wrote of a tribe he christened Alibamu.

In later years this tribe bestowed its name on what would become America's twenty-second state. Today, most believe the name to mean "clearers of the thicket". If Alabama does indeed mean "clearers of the thicket", then it is a name that suits the state well.

Alabama's history, and especially its biographical history, is nothing if not a centuries old, twisted thicket of causes, conflicts and crusades as gnarled and thorny as the personalities of the men and woman who championed and fought them.

When the author set out to write this book, the publishing team thought they should create a testament to fifty of Alabama's best and brightest sons and daughters. But as they plunged further into the thicket of Alabama's history, a sense of unease settled upon them. Who were they to decide who was the best and the brightest?
In the end they decided that the fifty Alabamians profiled in Hearts of Dixie would simply be fifty men and women whose lives and accomplishments, positive or negative, illustrate the thorny thicket of Alabama's history. They certainly do not define that history but they symbolize the blossoms, thorns, and rambunctious confusion of any thicket of honeysuckle and blackberries you might find in the summer along an Alabama backroad. Some may have left Alabama early, some came to Alabama late, but all called her home at one time or another.

The individuals profiled in Hearts of Alabama are no longer with us. However, as demonstrated by the gracious participation of the fifty men and women who offered their introductory perspectives on our profiled Alabamians, their link to their home state remains as strong and compelling as ever."

-Excerpt from the author's introduction

9x12, 210 Pages, No Longer Available - Out of Print


The author, Jim Noles, Jr., with Alabama's First Lady Patsy Riley

Jim Noles is a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, where he is a partner in the Environment & Natural Resources Section of the law firm Balch & Bingham LLP. His previous books include Twenty-Three Minutes to Eternity: The Final Voyage of the Escort Carrier USS Liscome Bay (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004), two books in Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series, Alabama Power Company and Camp Rucker During World War II, and two books in Seacoast Publishing's Alabama Roots series of biographies for young readers, Thomas Martin: Alabama Dynamo and John Pelham: The Gallant Pelham.

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