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Category: Eden Rise

Robert Norrell’s Eden Rise offers real picture of 1960s civil rights struggle

Praise for civil rights scholar Robert Norrell’s first novel Eden Rise includes reviews from StarNews, the Montgomery Advertiser, the Tuscaloosa News, and the Island Packet, whose Don McKinney notes that Norrell “has been compared with both Harper Lee and John Grisham, which is pretty impressive company, and he has a keen eye for the details of the places he writes about” …

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Knopf Editor Ashbel Green remembered by author Robert J. Norrell

Robert J. Norrell, author of Eden Rise, sent this remembrance of former Alfred A. Knopf editor Ashbel Green: Ashbel Green accepted my dissertation for publication at Knopf six weeks after four professors at the University of Virginia in 1983 said the manuscript was worthy of the doctor of philosophy and not far from being ready for publication. Paul Gaston, my mentor, had unbounded confidence in his judgment, and that of Ashbel Green at Knopf, and he thought the two of them would merge on agreement that my little dissertation about the civil rights movement in an Alabama town should be a book. Paul was right, at least about the consanguinity of his and Ash’s viewpoint. I had no idea at the time of how unusual this was as the fate for a dissertation. Almost thirty years later, I can say for a certainty that no subsequent book found a home so readily. Ash’s critique of my manuscript was, shall we say, lean. “Needs a new ending.” No more direction than that, and I said, all right, yes sir, and a new ending I wrote …

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