E. Culpepper Clark's book is a well-researched and crisply written narrative that draws its energy from the drama of the desegregation crisis in the postwar South...The first part of the story, covering the period 1943-57, centers on the admission to and expulsion from the University of Alabama of Autherine Lucy in 1956. In retrospect this appears as an opportunity for peaceful change that was tragically lost by inept university administrators and trustees, who stalled until Alabama's populist New Deal politics shifted sharply toward segregationist defiance following the bus boycott in Montgomery in 1955-56. The second part centers on the events culminating in Wallace's spectacular stand at Foster Auditorium in June 1963. The flagship at Tuscaloosa, threatened by the research pace of the branch campuses at Birmingham and Huntsville, unable to keep or recruit superior faculty during the post-Sputnik boom years, weakly led by strong politicians like John Patterson and Wallace, emerged from the drama as a badly mauled institution, notable chiefly for its football team and Coach Paul 'Bear' Bryant.
E. Culpepper Clark is Dean Emeritus of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama and author of Francis Warrington Dawson and the Politics of Restoration: South Carolina, 1874-1889 and A Sense of Place: Survivors on the Land.