- The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer (2010)
- Dixie: a Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped The Modern South (2001)
- Arkansas Mischief: The Birth of a National Scandal co-written with Jim McDougal (1998)
by Bryan Butler (SHS)
Veteran reporter and journalist Curtis Wilkie lived with his mother, a school teacher, as a young man because his father was an alcoholic who died from severe burning when Wilkie was young. Wilkie was fourteen years old when the Supreme Court announced integration in 1954. As integration began, Wilkie himself saw the first African American student enter the University of Mississippi. Wilkie was a student of the University at the time, but he did not take part in the rioting that plagued James Meredith or Medgar Evers. Wilkie was a very involved young man. He helped in the campaign of Mary Cain and helped write the Summit Sun. Wilkie and some of his Mississippi friends, writers Eudora Welty and Willie Morris, got together later on to discuss the treatment of Medgar Evers and the unbelievably racist politics of the South.
Wilkie also rode out the Freedom Summer of 1964 and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Wilkie graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963. Shortly after graduating, he gained a job with the Clarksdale Press Register, which he kept through the rest of the 1960’s. After completing his career at the Clarksdale Press Register he became a national and foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe, which he did for the over twenty-six years, living for a time in Israel. Although he is semi-retired, he is currently a professor of writing for the University of Mississippi, in Oxford, Mississippi. He also writes occasionally for the The Boston Globe when he is at home in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
UPDATE 2010: Curtis Wilkie has now written two additional non-fiction works.The first, Arkansas Mischief: The Birth of a National Scandal, was co-written with Jim McDougal. The second, published in 2010, is entitled The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer, and is the story of the career of lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, known as the King of Tort.
Wilkie has served as visiting professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi since 2002. He was appointed to become the first Overby Fellow with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi in 2007. Wilkie and his wife Nancy reside in Oxford, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana. He has three grown children, Carter, Leighton and Stuart.
A Review of Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events that Shaped the Modern South
by Bryan Butler (SHS)
Curtis Wilkie, a native Mississippian, has written a book entitled Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped The Modern South. Wilkie has grown up and experienced the change of the modern South. Although many people disagree about the changes of the South, Wilkie states it plain and simple in his book. In this novel he relives some of the most horrid memories of his past and blends them with the events of the South at the time. Wilkie exposes the real culprits of racism by examining their hating personalities. As Wilkie talks you through the changing South, you also learn a little about him, like Wilkie was a great friend of Eudora Welty and Willie Morris Wilkie beautifully blends his autobiography along with the historical events that occur. Wilkie, experienced the riots at the University of Mississippi, and describes them as shameful to the state and the college. In his novel he also covers the Freedom Summer of 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976, and the conviction of Byron De La Beckwith in 1994, and Sam Bowers in 1998. I would highly recommend this book if you like learning about Southern heritage. I do not recommend this book if you do not have a long attention span because there are some parts of the book where he refers back to his younger years, and they get somewhat verbose. Overall, I think that this book is a top seller, and one of the greatest I have read on the history of the South.
- A short biography and book review from bookreporter.com
- Willie Morris: The Prankster is the subject of this Wilkie article for theSoutherner, 1999.
- A new biography finds a solid achiever who embellishes when none is needed, says Curtis Wilkie, The Boston Globe, 9/3/00
- Wilkie, Curtis. Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Changed The Modern South. New York: Scribner, 2001
- Review of Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Changed The Modern South. <http://bookreporter.com/authors/au-wilkie-curtis.asp>