OK, bookaroos, we have before us two locally produced books well worth our reading time: "Mr. Lincoln's Gold" by Norris "Piggie" Caldwell, and "Lost and Found: Recovering Our Values, Reclaiming Our Dreams" by Rob Baggett.

Mr. Lincoln's Gold'

Let us consider first "Mr. Lincoln's Gold," Brother Caldwell's second journey along the literary path. His first venture into the world of publishing resulted in "War and Home," a memoir of his youthful days in Tupelo during World War II.

Let's be honest, here: While "War and Home" was an interesting and insightful study of Tupelo during a very troubling era, and a collection of stories shared in Caldwell's delightful down-home style, there were far too many grammatical errors to make it an easy read. I'm glad I read it, but some editors were asleep at the publishing wheel the day it rolled off the presses.

That was then, "Mr. Lincoln's Gold" is now. A Civil War novel, it's not only a very good story but it's much, much better from a nit-picking standpoint.

Published by 1stbooks, a print-on-demand and E-book company (1stbooks.com), "Mr. Lincoln's Gold" follows Union soldier Marcus Wade, a young Illinois farm boy, as his regiment moves south to the Battle of Shiloh and for 50 years afterward.

It's at Shiloh where Wade realizes killing other people is not what he's cut out to do, so he escapes in what appears to be an abandoned wagon. Much to his surprise, he discovers the wagon actually has $500,000 in gold coins, the entire payroll for Gen. U.S. Grant's army.

While the war scenes are interesting, let's face it, there's not much new that can be written about the actual combat. But it's what Wade does after the realization that he has a half-million bucks is what makes "Mr. Lincoln's Gold" so interesting.

Caldwell, a longtime Tupelo businessman and civic leader, will sign copies of "Mr. Lincoln's Gold" at 1:30 p.m., July 30 at Reed's Gum Tree Book Store in Downtown Tupelo.

Lost and Found'

Now for Baggett's "Lost and Found." The author is B.B. Baggett's son who grew up in Tupelo and now holds forth in Blythewood, S.C., where he is a middle school guidance counselor.

"Lost and Found" is a collection of morality essays, but don't let that scare you away. It's not a collection of sermons, rather it's a collection of really clever musings on such values as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, and a whole lot of other things that many think our society has lost touch with.

Published by the print-on-demand company Heart Springs Publishing, "Lost and Found" is an enjoyable look at small town life, a book that is as funny as it is personal.

"Lost and Found" is on sale at The Village Book Store on West Main Street in Tupelo ... and I'd be willing to bet his mama would sell us one, too.


Coming to Square Books in Oxford this week are authors Jeanne Ray and Michael Griffith.

Ray will sign copies of "Eat Cake" at 5 p.m. Thursday, and Griffith will sign copies of "Bibliophilia" at 5 p.m. Friday.

Danny McKenzie is associate editor at the Daily Journal.

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