American History

North to Canada

Men and Women Against the Vietnam War

By James L. Dickerson

Non-Fiction | American and Canadian History | Peace Movement

March 29, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. It hardly seems possible that it has been nearly 50 years since the Vietnam War was at its zenith. In 1998 author James L. Dickerson went to Canada to meet with and interview Americans who had gone to Canada in opposition to the war in Vietnam. This is a revised and updated edition of the book that was published in 1999, made even more poignant by the realization that today America’s crumbling democracy is likely to send a new wave of Americans to Canada in search of freedom and a better way of life.

While we may never know the exact number of Americans who chose Canada over Vietnam, an estimated half-million men and women went north as a result of their opposition to the war. Despite President Ford’s amnesty and President Carter’s pardon some of these exiles never returned. This book, which focuses on those who remained in Canada, offers a resister’s eye view of the most traumatic war in American history. Dickerson blends resister interviews with an account of the historical events that served as watersheds for these young Americans.

Library Journal: “(An) excellent inquiry…His anger and that of the seven resisters who are the main characters of this book make for a highly charged story. Rather than an oral history of their lives, this is a most readable reconstruction of events…Recommended for public libraries and highly recommended for Vietnam-era and peace collections.”

Choice: “The output of books on the Vietnam War seems endless, but this one is different. It focuses on the issue of draft resisters, particularly resisters who fled the US for Canada…Although this is a journalistic rather than an academic account…undergraduates should find it interesting.”

Devil’s Sanctuary

An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes

By James L. Dickerson and Alex A. Alston, Jr.

Non-Fiction | American History | Civil Rights

“A moving book, part history, part memoir, of a hard time in a cursed land redeemed by small but deeply meaningful acts of courage. There were dark days indeed for Mississippi, but Alston and Dickerson let in the light.” – Author Evan Thomas

The African-American struggle for freedom has brought attention to the violence that historically has terrorized the descendants of slaves for generations. The beatings, the lynching, shootings, the rapes, have occurred all across America, but nowhere have they been more notorious than in the State of Mississippi. And nowhere have the perpetrators of such violence been granted such long-standing immunity to prosecution than in Mississippi.
Devil’s Sanctuary examines the shocking history of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a secret spy agency that operated as a secret police agency, the racist leanings of state institutions and the news media, the state’s use of waterboarding to get convictions from blacks who refused to confess, and the deplorable actions of the state’s churches, some of which provided hitmen to the KKK—all in the name of preventing blacks from voting and having a say in government. Mississippi, which has the largest percentage of blacks of any state in the union, has made some progress, such as the 2020 decision to remove the Confederate flag from the state flag, but one thing has not changed: White supremacists have blocked Mississippi blacks from holding any statewide office for 145 years. Because presidential elections in Mississippi are “winner take all,” votes cast by blacks are turned over to white Electoral College members to case for the candidate of their choice. Just imagine being black and having your vote for president not counted for over 100 years.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Dixie’s Dirty Secret

How the Government, the Media, and the Mob
Reshaped the Modern Republican Party into the Image of the Old Confederacy

By James L. Dickerson

Non-Fiction | American History | Terrorism

Inspired by Mississippi’s stubborn refusal to officially ratify the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery until 2012, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump opened campaign headquarters in Mississippi to learn how the state has “handled” its blacks. Was the idea to take the Mississippi Plan nationwide? In this book, learn how the state’s white leadership, has blocked blacks from being elected to statewide offices for 138 years, how they have used the winner-take-all provision of the Electoral College to nullify black votes for president, and how through legal and social pressures they have created reservations for blacks similar to the ones created in another century for Native Americans. Mississippi has more black elected officials than any other state, but none of them are empowered to govern beyond their reservations.

Dixie’s Dirty Secret exposes the longest running political gambit in American history and paints a frightful picture of the future of the United States if the current trend in politics continues. How did the populist Democratic Party lose its blue collar and Southern base? How did the elitist, stiff-upper-lip Republican Party become a vehicle for racism and right-wing political anarchy?

“Bound to rekindle anger over recent American history, this tersely written investigative account attempts to show how such forces as the so-called Dixie Mafia, together with such high-level institutions as Hoover’s FBI, sought to halt integration in the South after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954” – Publishers Weekly

“In this astounding presidential election year (2016), James L. Dickerson’s “Dixie’s Dirty Secret” explains what went wrong with the current GOP. It’s not a sudden transformation with a nominee racking national support for policies, words, and stands that have been described as xenophobic, misogynist, and racist. But, as Dickerson details in exhaustive detail, the fruits of this Republican phenomenon is a concerted effort over half a century stemming from relationships between Southern U.S. Senate and House politicians, the Dixie Mafia, state spy agencies in collusion with the FBI, and white supremacist organizations backed by state and small-town politicians and power brokers . . . As Dickerson chronicles, these relationships have broadened outside of the South, reinforced by code words and dog whistles to a supportive national audience.” – Jim Ewing, Clarion-Ledger

Available formats: Hardcover, paperback, and eBook

Selling Americans on America

By Gerry and Janet Souter

Non-Fiction | American History

Selling Americans on America” tells of another turbulent era—Post World War II— when a phenomenon called the “Freedom Train” reignited citizens’ faith in a country that was then riddled with dissent, anxiety and mistrust in the country’s leadership. The train traveled America with 130 priceless documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation. Combined with a media blitz of songs, operettas, radio shows, and local festivities, the train reminded Americans that “Freedom is Everybody’s Job.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Inside America’s Concentration Camps

Two Centuries of Internment and Torture

By James L. Dickerson

Non-Fiction | United States History

America has a long history of imprisoning individuals for political reasons or because they are aliens (refugees), thus meeting the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of a concentration camp.

Racism and xenophobia have long challenged democracy, a battle played out dramatically in the concentration camps built, staffed, and filled with adults and children under the orders of the U.S. Government. The camps first appeared in the nineteenth century with the imprisonment of Native Americans, then returned during World War II with the roundup of Japanese Americans (most of them citizens of the United States), German Americans, Italian Americans, and Jews fleeing the cruelty and death camps associated with Nazi Germany.

The issue resurfaced during the George Bush administration with the construction of twenty-two new concentration camps and secret plans to build up to 800 additional facilities. And the policy continued during the Donald Trump administration which has imprisoned tens of thousands of Hispanic refugees fleeing persecution in their homelands. Especially heinous has been the Trump Administration’s willingness to imprison thousands of children in horrendous conditions in which the children are often deprived of humane living conditions, receiving inadequate food and water, crowded living conditions, and substandard medical treatment.

“Author James L. Dickerson’s voice and vision are crystal clear; he pulls no punches in the writing of his skillful narratives of the past and present horrors many ethnic Americans and innocent refugees faced in America’s concentration camps.” – Mayumi Nakazawa, author of Yuri: The Life and Times of Yuri Kochiyama.

Available formats: Paperback and eBook

Of Mudcat, Boo, The Rope and Oil Can

An Informal History of Mississippians in Major League Baseball

By Michael Christensen

Non-Fiction | Baseball History

“From Sport McAllister to Billy Hamilton, this is the definitive book on Mississippians in the Major Leagues. I am really glad Mike Christensen, who knows the sport inside and out, wrote this splendid narrative.” – Rick Cleveland, Executive Director, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Mississippi’s contributions to music are well known, whether the focus is on Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Bobbie Gentry or Jimmy Buffet, or on the creation of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Not so well known are the state’s contributions to Major League Baseball. Drawing on more than a hundred sources, including personal interviews, this work chronicles the roles, large and small, played by Mississippians throughout five different eras of Major League Baseball.

Michael Christensen is a former newspaper sportswriter who lives near Jackson, Mississippi.