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The Courting of Marcus Dupree [Hardcover]

Willie Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1983
At the time of Marcus Dupree’s birth, when Deep South racism was about to crest and shatter against the Civil Rights Movement, Willie Morris journeyed north in a circular transit peculiar to southern writers. His memoir of those years, North Toward Home, became a modern classic. In The Courting of Marcus Dupree he turned again home to Mississippi to write about the small town of Philadelphia and its favorite son, a black high-school quarterback. In Marcus Dupree, Morris found a living emblem of that baroque strain in the American character called “southern.”

Beginning on the summer practice fields, Morris follows Marcus Dupree through each game of his senior varsity year. He talks with the Dupree family, the college recruiters, the coach and the school principal, some of the teachers and townspeople, and, of course, with the young man himself. As the season progresses and the seventeen-year-old Dupree attracts a degree of national attention to Philadelphia neither known

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On this hot September night, Number 22 walked through the door of the gymnasium with his fifty or so teammates. Read the first page
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In "North Towards Home" Mississippi born author Willie Morris suggested that he was able to fully understand his home state only after he had lived for a time away from it. In "The Courting of Marcus Dupree", the inimitable Morris returns to his beloved Mississippi, acutely and painfully aware of both the greatness and the terrible tragedy of the place which has basically made Morris the writer and person he is.
Morris returned in 1980 to a radically changed and changing place, and although the locale for 80% of the book is Philadelphia, a Central Mississippi "hill" town, rather than the edge-of-the-Delta Yazoo City of his boyhood, Morris, as usual, evocatively captures the scenes, images, and activity of this town and the state as a whole, in his account of a high school senior All-State running-back and the nationwide recruiting for his talents. Actually, I remember firsthand the media sensation surrounding Marcus Dupree from Philadelphia High School in the fall of 1981, partly because I was a sophomore in high school in another Mississippi town about 150 miles away. In his descriptions of the high school and town itself, the students, the often uneasy yet usually unaffected black-white relationships by that time, and the fervor of high school athletics itself, especially fall football was all, to me, right-on-target and accurate. Morris' eye for detail in the area of social interaction; the picking up of the subtle look or gesture, or offhand comment, reported as indeed, non-fiction, rather than creating fictional characters, is one of his strong suits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story line Oct. 9 2001
I recently read "The Courting of Marcus Dupree" and found it to be exciting and spell binding. My entire family was caught up in it. The book is an excellent tale of the birth of a young Black male in a troubling time for the South. The way Willie Morris related Marcus' birth and powerful strength to the struggle of his town and state was awesome, he should be the Mayor of Philadelphia or the Governor of Mississippi. I expected the book to be totally about football but it proved to be much more. It made you laugh and cry at times because of the tremendous pressure on Marcus Dupree, the 17 year old athlete that was blessed with such miraculous skills. The book made you feel like you were at the games when he made some of the beautiful plays. It was so intense that you wanted to get to the next page, but never wanted the book to end. I wish it was reprinted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Really Know Him? May 20 1999
By A Customer
I had the chance to read, "The Courting of Marcus Dupree." It is an excellent book.
I must agree, Marcus is witty, funny and a charm. He has a majestic technique that steals your soul. I know when we first met that I was mesmerized. And I was intrigued by his smooth talk. However, I learned that not everything that looks good is good.
In response to the comment, on February 28, 1999, "Marcus Dupree, the man, the myth, the legend," I wonder do you really know him? To meet someone for the very first time and think you know them is very premature. Well, I thought, I knew him. But unto my beliefs, I was mistaken. I found out that because you are intimate with someone is not justification to really knowing him. Yes, I was blinded. But I am no longer.
In the future, I hope you really get to know him, before you make such a statement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read even if you are not a football fan Nov. 9 2000
As an OU fan and a person who remember Marcus Dupree light up Norman during his brief time, I was very excited to have a little bit more background on this fascinating person.
The book hits several different topics. Obviously his recruitment of many football schools at times take center stage. But much of the book also discusses the effect of a black athlete becoming a state hero in Mississippi and gaining fans of all races. The foil of Dupree's time to that of two decades earlier when three cival rights activists were brutally murdered by the Klan. And the author, Willie Morris, contrasting and comparing his life with what he sees around him while following Dupree.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great personal account that takes you back to 1981 Mississippi, civil rights, and the power of football.
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