Glenn T. Eskew
:Monday, December 9th:
7: 15 p.m., Decatur Library Auditorium
Johnny Mercer a Georgia native, began writing songs at the age of 15 and eventually became one of the foremost figures of 20th century American popular music. For nearly five decades, Mercer had a prolific career as a lyricist, composer, and performer. He is credited with writing 1,400 songs, was nominated for 18 Academy Awards, and was one of the founders of Capitol Records. Now, as we approach the centenary of his birth, Georgia author Glenn T. Eskew has penned a new biography of Mercer released by UGA Press, Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World. Exhaustively researched, Glenn T. Eskew’s biography, Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World, improves upon earlier popular treatments of the Savannah, Georgia–born songwriter to produce a sophisticated, insightful, evenhanded examination of one of America’s most popular and successful chart-toppers. Charles Reagan Wilson, editor-in-chief of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, writes: ”This engaging biography brims with fresh insights about southern culture and its relationship to American music. Eskew reveals Johnny Mercer as a carrier of the South’s interracial culture to the nation and the world. This book is the most original and carefully documented contribution I have seen to understanding the role of a creative southerner in the global culture. Readers will appreciate Eskew’s re-creation of Mercer’s world that intersected with so many seminal entertainment figures. It is altogether successful in sketching the regional context that produced Mercer’s music.” Glenn T. Eskew is a professor of history at Georgia State University. He is the author of But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle, editor of Labor in the Modern South, and coeditor of Paternalism in a Southern City.