Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex, and Murder in the South

Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex, and Murder in the South

by Carole Townsend


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Blood in the Soil: A True Tale of Racism, Sex, and Murder in the South by Carole Townsend

Blood in the Soil is the first book about the investigation into the shooting of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and his country attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 1978. But this book is not primarily about Larry Flynt, or even his shooter (the serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin), though both men are of course important characters in the story.

This true account is told alternately from the perspective of Detective J. Michael Cowart and by following Franklin’s life from childhood through his execution. The monster that was Joseph Paul Franklin was the result of a perfect storm of circumstances, which included poverty, cruel abuse as a child, the detestation and mistrust between blacks and whites, integration, and the hate groups that operated and recruited openly. Detective Cowart tells the story of his first introduction to Franklin, and the cat-and-mouse game that ensued. A self-proclaimed truth-seeker, the detective had to appear to befriend Franklin to get him to provide enough information to prosecute him in the Flynt shooting. In the course of developing this rapport, Cowart gains astonishing insight into many of Franklin’s other cold-blooded killings and crimes, and his twisted justification for them.

This book tells of a very real struggle between right and wrong. It details with stark honesty the terrible truths that characterized the South during the volatility of the sixties and seventies, and of the ugly reality that lies just beneath the veneer of a beautiful region known for its warm hospitality. Along the way, it examines some hard lessons about life, trust, and compromise.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634507516
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 823,592
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Carole Townsend is a correspondent and columnist for the Gwinnett Citizen newspaper and the author of Magnolias, Sweet Tea, and Exhaust. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue xiii

Chapter 1 Jesus Christ Takes Care of Business (1978) 1

Chapter 2 Opening the Box (2014) 5

Chapter 3 Preparing for Judgment Day (1978) 9

Chapter 4 The Letter (1983) 18

Chapter 5 The Alabama Soil (1950s and 1960s) 24

Chapter 6 Inside the Belly of the Beast (1983) 35

Chapter 7 The Disappearing Boy, the Emerging Man (mid 1960s-1970s) 45

Chapter 8 A Friend in Need (early 1980s) 62

Chapter 9 Peaches, Vengeance and the Head of the Snake (1978) 67

Chapter 10 The Trial 76

Chapter 11 Fertile Soil 86

Chapter 12 Blood and Justice 91

Chapter 13 Dancing with the Devil (1983) 101

Chapter 14 Smoke, Mirrors, and Conspiracies 110

Chapter 15 Up is Down, and Down is Up (1984) 123

Chapter 16 The Stumble (1980) 129

Chapter 17 Making Good on a Promise (1983-1984) 146

Chapter 18 A Second Visit (1984) 160

Chapter 19 The Fall (1980) 165

Chapter 20 A Tangled Web (1983) 174

Chapter 21 Our Sins Come Home to Roost 180

Chapter 22 Put to Rest (2013) 185

Chapter 23 Back to the Basement (2014) 198

Epilogue 203

Research Sources 208

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