Cultural Revolutions

Gentle Warrior

Thomas H. Landess died from a sudden illness on January 9, 2012.  He was 80 years old.  His death was a shock to his family and his many friends.  I last heard from Tom two days before his death, an event that was out of mind, so warm and hopeful were his comments.  I had sent him a copy of my unsubmitted review of the movie The Help just to see what he thought of it.  Tom was most complimentary.  In his usual modest and self-effacing fashion, he concluded, “I am going to write about this myself—by comparison with yours, a cowardly piece.”  That was Tom, always the encouraging gentleman.

During the early 1960’s, my good friend the late Haywood Hillyer and I were publishing a little conservative magazine in New Orleans called The Liberator.  By letter dated June 4, 1963, I heard from one “Prof. M.E. Bradford, Chairman, Dept. of English, Hardin-Simmons Univ.”  In it he said that Frank Owsley, Jr., had suggested he send his “brief paper on liberal rhetoric” to us for consideration.  Bradford was 29 years old at the time.  We hoped to publish it, but unfortunately The Liberator went out of business before we could.  Nonetheless, that was the beginning of my friendship with Mel Bradford and, shortly thereafter, with his best friend, Tom Landess.  Neither Mel nor anyone...

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