Stories of His Life and Legend
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This wonderfully entertaining book brings together selections from interviews with a score of Knoxvillians, various newspaper accounts, Walker's own autobiography, and other sources to present a colorful mosaic of Walker's life. The stories range from his flamboyant advertising schemes-as when he buried a man alive outside one of his stores-to memories of his inimitable managerial style-as when he infamously canned the Everly Brothers because he didn't like it when they began performing rock 'n' roll. Further recollections call to mind Walker's peculiar brand of bare-knuckle politics, his generosity to people in need, his stance on civil rights, and his lifelong love of coon hunting (and coon dogs). The book also traces his decline, hastened in part by a successful libel suit brought against his muckraking weekly newspaper, the Watchdog.
It's said that any Knoxvillian born before 1980 has a Cas Walker story. In relating many of those stories in the voices of those who still remember him, this book not only offers an engaging portrait of the man himself and his checkered legacy, but also opens a new window into the history and culture of the city in which he lived and thrived.