Corrupt politician Paul Cantrell was in complete control of McMinn County, Tennessee, his whims enforced by the violent Sheriff Pat Mansfield and his deputies. On Election Day, Cantrell and the sheriff seized the ballot boxes and brought them to the jail "to be counted" in secret. Soldiers came home from World War II to find their community in the grips of this corrupt political machine. These veteran soldiers, who became known as "The Fighting Bunch," armed themselves and lay siege to the jail as the National Guard closed in. Led by Bill White, a curmudgeonly marine sergeant who fought through hell in the Pacific and came home to learn his family had been terrorized by corrupt lawmen, these veterans were not to be denied. After six hours of gunfire and dynamite blasts, Boss Cantrell and Sheriff Mansfield fled the state. The deputies surrendered. The ballot boxes were opened and counted. The GI slate was elected, and the story buried. This episode in U. S. history has never been more relevant, but has never been fully told. After years of research, including exclusive interviews with the remaining witnesses and participants of the battle, archival radio broadcast and interview tapes, scrapbooks, letters, diaries, and personal recollections from members of the community, author Chris DeRose has reconstructed one of the seminal-yet untold-events in American election history.
Doggedly researched and briskly narrated, this rousing chronicle testifies to the importance of free and fair elections. --Publishers Weekly This is an especially timely tale in a year of social and political turmoil. The pulse-pounding narrative of The Fighting Bunch takes us to a place in America where the struggle against evil did not end when the war did and once more people of good will had to take a courageous stand. --Tom Clavin, bestselling author of Tombstone and Wild Bill In a remarkable feat of dogged fresh reporting, historical research and narrative aplomb, DeRose breathes new life into the little-remembered saga of the 1946 Battle of Athens, Tennessee, when a force of angry men, led by recent World War II veterans with the ' stamp of combat in their eyes, ' mounted a successful armed rebellion against entrenched municipal corruption and police brutality. --Joe Sharkey, author of Above Suspicion History' s best lessons are sometimes forgotten, and it' s up to authors like Chris DeRose to resurrect them. He does so elegantly in The Fighting Bunch, the astonishing story of how, in August 1946, a band of World War II veterans summoned all their courage and fighting skills to stand up to and destroy a corrupt political machine in McMinn County, Tennessee. It' s likely you never knew about it before - but once you' ve read this book, their act will resonate in your mind forever. --Jeff Guinn, New York Times bestselling author of Manson and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple Men who went overseas to defend the freedom for the world returned home to discover they had lost it here. How they fought to reclaim it is a riveting story that should remind every American of how precious and fragile are the freedoms we too often take for granted. --John Bicknell, author of Lincoln' s Pathfinder: John C. Fremont and the Violent Election of 1856 and America 1844 "In ' The Fighting Bunch, ' Chris DeRose unearths a fascinating and incredibly timely piece of American history. This lively and well-researched account of American GIs and their people-powered revolution, which restored democracy to McMinn County, Tennessee, soon after the war, is a lesson for us all - and a warning for those tempted by power or complacency not to forget the role that justice and fairness play in this country. Or to put it as one of the heroes might have (outside of polite company): Don' t screw with democracy, the ballot box, or angry GIs. It' s another reminder that the men and women who endured World War II were in fact members of the Greatest Generation. " --Jim DeFelice, New York Times best-selling co-author of American Sniper, Every Man a Hero
CHRIS DEROSE is the New York Times bestselling author of Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, the Bill of Rights, and the Election that Saved a Nation, and The Presidents' War: Six American Presidents and the Civil War That Divided Them. He has appeared on over 60 television and radio shows and spoken to audiences around the country, including having recently addressed members of Congress at the U. S. Capitol. A native of Chicago, DeRose lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
|3 May 2022
|St Martin's Press
|St Martin's Press
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