About the book:
Today's Memphis is a big, thriving, modern city, not without problems to be sure, but nevertheless a city with a bright and secure future. For most of us, Memphis is a lovely place to live. It wasn't always thus. Because of her superior location, Memphis has always been a good place to make money. But old Memphis was not a place to stay for very long unless you had to. By the winter of 1879-80, our Memphis, already bankrupt for several years, had confirmed as well as her national reputation as a cesspool of pestilence in the wake of three devastating yellow fever epidemics. Indeed, that bleak winter, Memphis didn't seem to have much of a future at all. Who in his right mind would choose to build a business or a family in a squalid, lethal, boom-and-bust town, burdened with a mountain of public debt and confiscatory taxes? A change had to be made, but how?
This is the story of the remarkable generation of Memphians to whom we owe our present city. Mostly self-made men and thoroughly embedded in their place in and time, they were certainly no angels. But they did embody the essential traits of Victorian capitalism: relentless drive, confident optimism, the ambition to build and to civilize, a willingness to take risks, and, in the best of them, a sense of duty and honor.
About the author:
Lucius McGehee is a retired physician and a fourth-generation Memphian. He has a good deal of affection for Memphis andhas always been interested in the city's past. He devoted many pleasant hours to researching and writing this, his first (and very likely last) book. In addition to reading and writing (and yard work), he is also one of Memphis's less skillful avid golfers. He and his wife, Holley, are the parents of two grown sons, of whom they are both very proud, but neither of whom lives in Memphis, at least not yet.