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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Mystery & History in Georgia by R. Olin Jackson is the first volume in the author's catalog of all things Georgia, beginning the reader's journey with an introduction to the state's incredibly deep history, for better and for worse. Jackson offers a massive compilation, the result of exhaustive research on the history of the state and a number of unexplained events that some will have certainly heard of and others that I dare say nobody outside the immediate area would have. Jackson's inclusions range from the notorious, such as the home and history of the infamous early 20th-century bank robber, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, to the sad demise of the largely forgotten Tallulah Falls Railroad, and on to The Whistle Stop Cafe, the famed locale in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes that is still open.
I love history and I love mysteries, and I am a person who selects places I travel to by what they signify and not what most tourists want to see, which made Mystery & History in Georgia by R. Olin Jackson a really good fit for my reading rotation. I half expected a stodgy narrative with maybe a few good photographs, but was absolutely blown away by the almost conversational nature of the backstory and narrative and, my word, the photographs are incredible! The work is comprehensive and there is definitely something for everybody. The standout tale to me was the details of a flood that hit a rural Georgian mill village over 140 years ago, wiping out all but one sole resident and, sadly, also being wiped away from modern memory. It is for reasons such as this that the work of Jackson is so important, and why this book matters. We have a responsibility to the legacy of all who came before us, whether it was last year or last century, and I am so grateful to have found this fantastic historical volume.