Thursday, August 13, 2009

Author, Author: Local men pen books

From the Citizen of East Alabama
By Skip Hansberger | Staff Writer
Aug. 12, 2009

Although it was always something he wanted to do, Kelvin Redd never actually set out to write a book – rather, it was something that just came together.

Redd’s book is titled, Stand Tall, and he said it has two goals: first, to further spread awareness about servant leadership and second, to dispel some of the myths associated with servant leadership.

“Most people think when you talk about servant leadership, we’re going to come together in Kumbaya and hold hands and tell each other how we love each other,” said Redd. “I wanted to show that there are some real-life examples of good leadership and equally that there are some real-life examples of poor leadership.”

His examples all come from his lifetime experiences, from people in his life who made an impression. Aside from the people, Redd began his writing career with an e-newsletter for the Pastoral Institute in Columbus. He was challenged to write 500-word essays and after a while, he grew more and more confident in his ability – so much so that they became the basis of Stand Tall.

Redd, who is a Phenix City native, now works in Columbus as the director of the Center for Servant Leadership at the Pastoral Institute. He said, “being from Phenix City and living in Phenix City, everything I’ve done in Columbus I’ve wanted to duplicate in Phenix City.” He said writing this book is one way he can do that, while also spreading the ideals of servant leadership throughout the world.

“The book is about good leadership, poor leadership, examples of both – people in my life who have exhibited great leadership,” he said. “You don’t have to be a doctor, mayor, lawyer, coach, teacher – it’s all about influence. That’s why I dedicated the book to my grandmother. She always had a great influence on me.”

“Everybody is a leader because they have some influence – It just depends on whether it is good or bad.”

Redd is not the only Phenix City resident writer, however.

Dr. Brion McClanahan is a history professor at Chattahoochee Community College
(CVCC) and he recently wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers.

McClanahan’s book profiles American founders such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and others, traces key issues of the day and shows how they dealt with them, while also detailing their deep faith, commitment to independence, character and visionary political ideals.

“History has always been something I’ve liked and I’ve always been politically active, and they go together,” said McClanahan. “This book has both a political tinge and a historical tinge.”

Unlike Redd, McClanahan set out to write the book and had a few objectives in mind when he did.

“First (objective) is just to inform. There are 20-something biographies and there’s that element that you can use as a textbook for home, school or personal education. Anybody can use this book, from the high school level up to the collegiate level,” he said.

“Then there’s the other element to it, which is the issues,” he continued. “What would the founding fathers say about modern issues? The idea was to resurrect this generation and put them in contemporary society and what they would say about us today.”

He said the political objective of the book is basically to return to the founding tradition of the United States, “which I think is something we’ve strayed a long way from.”

McClanahan was born in Virginia and calls Lewis, Delaware home. After working for a while in sales, got into the Alabama education system and in 2005 made his way to CVCC, where he’s been teaching U.S. History ever since.

His book is just one of 20 in the Politically Incorrect Guide series, written by acclaimed authors from all around. The book came out June 29 and for the first few weeks was a best seller for Regnery Publishing.

He said there was nothing like the feeling he got when he first saw the book after it was finished.

“I was working 16-17 hours per day trying to get this thing done while I was also teaching,” he said. “It was pretty intense but it was a great feeling to get it finished. There’s nothing better than seeing your work in print.”

Redd shared similar sentiments.

“It’s been a rewarding experience and it’s been a lot of fun. I still can’t believe I did it,” he said. “And the doors it has opened have been amazing. I was already doing workshops throughout the country, but I’m going to Pittsburgh in a few weeks and I’m going to Houston soon. It’s been a blessing.”

Redd will hold a book signing at Meritage in Columbus on August 20 and McClanahan will hold a signing at Barnes and Noble in Columbus on September 12.

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