Tag Archives: author

State Historian Walter Durham Dies, Age 88

Walter Thomas Durham, Tennessee’s state historian for the past decade and author of 24 books on Tennessee history, died on Friday at the age of 88, reports The Tennessean.
Mr. Durham, a longtime Gallatin businessman and a walking encyclopedia of Tennessee and Sumner County history, was appointed state historian in 2002 by then-Gov. Don Sundquist. He had already served as president of the Tennessee Historical Society, founding president of the Tennessee Heritage Alliance (renamed the Tennessee Preservation Trust) and chairman of the Tennessee Historical Commission.
“An awful lot of history passed with him,” said Kenneth Thomson, president of the Sumner County Historical Society, who knew Mr. Durham his whole life and helped him with one of his final projects. “And it’s a good thing he recorded it.”
Mr. Durham never made much money off his books, often giving them away to organizations that would benefit from them.
His award-winning books spanned a wide range of subjects: the Union Army’s occupation of Nashville during the Civil War, Tennesseans’ roles during westward expansion to California in the 1840s and the period before its statehood when Tennessee was part of the vast Southwest Territory.
…Mr. Durham, born Oct. 7, 1924, is survived by his wife of 64 years, Anna Armstrong Coile Durham, as well as four children, four grandchildren, a sister and a niece.
He attended the University of Wisconsin and Vanderbilt University. After graduation, he served in Africa and Italy with the Air Force during World War II.
He was a partner of Durham Building Supply Co. in Gallatin from 1948 to 1973 and was a founding president of Gallatin Aluminum Products Co.

Gore Defends Sale of TV Network to Al-Jazeera

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Al Gore, who takes aim in his new book at the corporate media for “suffocating the free flow of ideas,” on Tuesday defended the sale of his television channel to Al-Jazeera.
The Qatar government-owned news network earlier this month struck a deal to buy Current TV, the cable news network co-founded by the former vice president. The price tag was $500 million.
Gore told The Associated Press that he had no reservations about selling the channel to Al-Jazeera, which has won U.S. journalism prizes but has been criticized by some for an anti-American bias. The new owner plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America.
“They’re commercial-free, they’re hard-hitting,” he said in a phone interview. “They’re very respected and capable, and their climate coverage has been outstanding, in-depth, extensive, far more so than any network currently on the air in the U.S.”

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Government-based Author Better at Fiction Than Non-Fiction

Having read a fair amount of Blake Fontenay’s nonfiction writing — or at least what passes for the factual making of statements in state government circles — I was curious upon learning of his first published attempt at pure fiction.
It’s a novel titled “The Politics of Barbeque.”
Fontenay is the public relations guy for Tennessee’s three constitutional officers — the secretary of state, the state comptroller and the state treasurer. This is three times as many bosses than the typical state government employee assigned to deal with media and leaves him with the taxpayer-funded duty to write news releases on multiple fascinating topics.

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