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Forrest Carter Books In Order

Publication Order of Josey Wales Books

Gone to Texas (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Watch for Me On the Mountain (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Education of Little Tree (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Forrest Carter was the pen name of Asa Earl Carter, an American segregationist speechwriter, Ku Klux Clan leader turned author of Western novels. Carter was born the second child of Hermione and Ralph Carter in Anniston Alabama in 1925. He attended the Calhoun County High School and went on to serve in the American Navy during the Second World War. He would later study journalism at the University of Colorado and marry his childhood sweetheart India Thelma, while living in Birmingham, Alabama. Given his journalism degree, he found a job in a Birmingham radio station WILD, where he made a name for himself for spewing vile racist and anti-Semitic speeches to a receptive audience. He also served as writer and publisher of The Southerner, a white supremacist magazine. Carter was one of the founding members of the original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy, a white supremacist paramilitary organization. The organization was found responsible for the 1957 castration of a random African-American man from the suburbs, and the 1956 senseless beating of the performer Nat King Cole. While he was not involved in the above infractions, Carter would be charged with shooting two of the Klan over money owed, even though he was eventually found not culpable.

In the 1960s, Carter began working as a speechwriter for the Democrat politician George Wallace. In fact, he is credited with coming up with the now infamous phrase “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. Even as he enjoyed delivering the highly popular white supremacist speeches that Carter wrote for him, Wallace often denied any connection with him in public. Carter would sever ties with the Wallace in 1968, as he believed that the gubernatorial candidate was toning down his racist rhetoric too much for his liking. Carter would later run for the Democratic Party’s governor nomination, but performed dismally in the polls given his thinly veiled racist platform. He only managed a paltry 1.5 percent of the votes as the incumbent and more moderate Wallace won the race and severed all ties with him. After his 1976 novel “The Rebel Outlaw” was republished and made into a film in 1986, Carter came back into national consciousness. The New York Times, among other publications claimed that Forrest Carter was none other than the racist segregationist Asa Earl Carter. His name would also feature heavily in national news after his memoir “The Education of Little Tree” won the American Booksellers Book of the Year award, and topped fiction and nonfiction lists all over the US, after its reissue in paperback.

Post his election defeat in the 1968 gubernatorial elections, Carter moved to Florida, where he adopted the name Forrest Carter. Soon after, he started working on “The Rebel Outlaw, Josey Wales” that would be published as “Gone to Texas” in 1976. The lead character in the novel is a former Confederate soldier named Josey Wales who is also the chief protagonist in the second novel. Through Wales, the novels tell a narrative of revenge and resistance to the government. For the most part, it is about the disillusionment of states’ rights advocates and segregationists that finally have to submit to the authority of the federal government after the Civil War Just like in its film adaptation “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, the novels push the narrative that the protagonists are driven to kill by oppressor forces from outside. In essence, the novels were a rebellion against organized society represented by religious leaders, politicians, and teachers. These are portrayed as monsters that have little understanding of the circumstances of ordinary folk, which forced them to live as they did.

However, while Carter had made his name writing racist hate filled novels, his most accomplished work is a very different type of book. The 1976 published “The Education of Little Tree”, while still critical tone of institutionalized politics and religion has less of the hate-filled rhetoric. The chief protagonist in the series is a young orphaned Cherokee boy named Little Tree, who deals with the deceit and bigotry of politicians and church officials. Overall, the novels that Forrest Carter wrote in the last three years of life had more of a new age take on what it means to be Native American. They had themes such as independence, trust, and friendship with closest comrades and blood kin, and no responsibility outside these frameworks. They also assert that politics is a lie and the governments with all their agencies are irredeemably corrupt. Most of these were heavily borrowed from Native American ideals and beliefs of the time. While Forrest initially asserted the memoir was autobiographical, that assertion has proved false, even though the novel received widespread critical acclaim.

“Josey Wales: Two Westerns” tells the narrative of Josey Wales who happens to be Texas’s most wanted man. He lost his child and wife to the happenings before the Civil war, and now together with other young farmers such as Jesse James have decided to become guerilla fighters against the federal government. The rag-tag militia has no purpose other than revenge and survival during the bleak post-civil war times. Hiking through the dangerous Camanchero territory, Josey Wales and his Cherokee friend Lone Watie travel by night and hide by day. On the road, they rescue an old granny and her granddaughter stuck in a wagon on the road, while picking up a new friend in the Indian woman, who goes by the name Little Moonlight. Their journey to Texas is driven by the thirst to find a new life, which they are determined to attain through honest even if at times brash violence.

“The Education of Little Tree” is the tale of a young Cherokee boy orphaned too early and adopted by his half Cherokee grandfather and Cherokee grandmother who live in the Appalachians during the early 1930s. Living with his grandparents, he is taught the old ways of the Cherokee such as respecting nature, surviving and hunting in the wild, and taking only what you need and letting nature regenerate. From his grandfather’s hilarious vignettes, he learns of how the tax collectors and white businessmen are oftentimes callous, and how to deal with them. His grandmother teaches him the joys if education and reading. But when the white people take him away, we learn that Native American children are taken for the sake of trying to assimilate them into white values in a process of untold cruelty. The novel is a classic novel that is an enduring legacy and a great read for persons of nearly age group.

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