Lanterns on the Levee; Recollections of a Planter's Son

Front Cover
LSU Press, 1973 - Biography & Autobiography - 347 pages
14 Reviews

Born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi, within the shelter of old traditions, aristocratic in the best sense, William Alexander Percy in his lifetime (1885--1942) was brought face to face with the convulsions of a changing world. Lanterns on the Levee is his memorial to the South of his youth and young manhood. In describing life in the Mississippi Delta, Percy bridges the interval between the semifeudal South of the 1800s and the anxious South of the early 1940s. The rare qualities of this classic memoir lie not in what Will Percy did in his life -- although his life was exciting and varied -- but rather in the intimate, honest, and soul-probing record of how he brought himself to contemplate unflinchingly a new and unstable era. The 1973 introduction by Walker Percy -- Will's nephew and adopted son -- recalls the strong character and easy grace of "the most extraordinary man I have ever known."


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son

User Review  - Jim Jawitz - Goodreads

The parts about the 1927 flood were what I was after. I wasn't looking for genteel and elegant writing, but its presence was enough to hold my interest reading about the South and his early-life. The end of the book, after the flood, sinks into white supremacy and is best skipped. Read full review

Review: Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son

User Review  - Hilarie Ehlert - Goodreads

A book to be read slowly, an autobiography of a southern aristocrat and his philosophies on life, World War I, southern life, slavery, and the future, note originally published in 1941, so the future ... Read full review


I The Delta
n Delta Folks
m Mur and Nain
Mere and Pere
V Playmates
A SideShow Gbtterddmmerung
vn A Small Boys Heroes
Learning from Teachers
At the Harvard Law School
xn The Return of the Native
The Bottom Rail on Top
xvh At the Front
xvni The Ku Klux Klan Comes and Goes

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1973)

William Alexander Percy died the year after his autobiography was published. During World War I he fought in France with the American 37th Division, rose to the rank of captain, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre with gold star. With his father, U.S. Senator LeRoy Percy, he was one of the leaders in the successful 1922 fight against the Ku Klux Klan in Greenville, and he headed the local Red Cross unit during the disastrous Mississippi River flooding of 1927. He was the author of four books of poetry and practiced law in Greenville until his death.

Bibliographic information