At long last, one of the most fascinating, powerful, and inspiring tales of East Tennessee history is told by a best-selling author whose background as an attorney provides an additional qualification to tell the whole story. The Battle of Athens, Tennessee, took place on election day, August 1, 1946. Veterans who had returned from World War II to find the local power structure and elected officials the opposite of the democratic values they had fought for overseas drew up their own non-partisan slate to challenge the local machine. It responded with violent voter suppression techniques and began to stuff the ballot boxes in the country jail. The GIs responded with a successful armed assault on the jail in the middle of the night and permanently expelled the machine. “In a remarkable feat of dogged fresh reporting, historical research and narrative aplomb, DeRose breathes new life into the little-remembered saga of the 1946 Battle of Athens, Tennessee, when a force of angry men, led by recent World War II veterans with the ‘stamp of combat in their eyes,’ mounted a successful armed rebellion against entrenched municipal corruption and police brutality.” – Joe Sharkey. “History's best lessons are sometimes forgotten, and it's up to authors like Chris DeRose to resurrect them. He does so elegantly in The Fighting Bunch, the astonishing story of how, in August 1946, a band of World War II veterans summoned all their courage and fighting skills to stand up to and destroy a corrupt political machine. It's likely you never knew about it before - but once you've read this book, their act will resonate in your mind forever.” - Jeff Guinn. “Men who went overseas to defend the freedom of the world returned home to discover they had lost it here. How they fought to reclaim it is a riveting story that should remind every American of how precious and fragile are the freedoms we too often take for granted.” – John Bicknel. The author, Chris DeRose, is the author of four books, all of which deal with American struggles for justice. He is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona.
New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2020. 336 pages with an Index, Notes, and photos. Hardback in dust jacket.