Bill Merritt Books


Crackers is a book about being Southern – unrepentantly, obstinately Southern, remembering The Confederacy, the battles of the Civil War, and Reconstruction – regardless of what we Yankees may think. Merritt tells that story in a Southern voice, comically and lyrically so, with a touch of the good ole boy in it. Crackers is a beautifully written, totally engaging book – Sam Hynes, author of The Unsubstantial Air

You will grin, laugh out loud, then suddenly find yourself taken aback, then realize you understand humanity a little better – David Clarke, author of They Can’t Find Anything Wrong


Winner of the prestigious Will D Campbell Award, Crackers is a story of growing up in Atlanta during the turbulent years between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War. A joyously unreconstructed Southerner, Merritt looks on in amazement as Atlanta changes from a sleepy Southern town into the City too Busy to Hate. This was the time of Martin Luther King and Ivan Allen, but also the time of Lester Maddox, the Temple Bombing, great moral certainties, Elvis, Klan rallies, the Cuban Missile Crisis, a corrupt political system keeping some of America’s finest statesmen in office (some since the time of the Teddy Roosevelt administration), and a man named Armstrong walking upon the moon.

It is the story of the way the Civil Rights Revolution looked to Southerners, to decent people trying to honor their heritage while realizing the time had come to let go of parts of that heritage. This is the story the way Southerners remember it – and tell each other.