“I knew that I was chronicling a vanishing part of Georgia history, a slower and simpler time, and preserving some distinctive voices.”
-Charles Salter, The Georgia Rambler
“Welcome, we’re glad Georgia’s on your mind,” read highway welcome signs just inside the borders of a state ripe with the histories of a forgotten time. What happens when you combine effusive Georgian characters and a roving state news editor with a penchant for quirk?
In the busy hub of Atlanta, and with a strong conviction that everybody has a story to tell, Charles Salter forged a new kind of journalism for the readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I wanted to capture a way of life that many of the newspaper’s readers in Atlanta knew little about. Beyond the suburbs, far from modern city life, there were Georgians who still farmed using a horse-drawn plow instead of a tractor…Who were aware of history in a way that the new arrivals to Atlanta weren’t,” Salter said.
Salter thus found himself tasked with discovering unique tales across Georgia—histories that had been kept alive because of their extraordinary nature. It was time for everyday people, fascinatingly shaped by their ties to a bygone era, to be known.
Among a multitude of other lucky encounters, Salter met a woman who had witnessed a younger, antisocial Lee Harvey Oswald train at a Marine Corps rifle range. From tall tales of the Okefenokee Swamp to treasure hunters of Duluth and ex-moonshiners of North Georgia, Salter’s stories were as eclectic and extraordinary as the people he interviewed.
The Georgia Rambler presents small-town characters with larger-than-life personalities, coloring each story in an unforgettable way. Salter encapsulates the nostalgia of communities all over Georgia in tales infused with humor, emotion and surprise. He presents his best work in this exclusive compilation, taking the reader through a Georgia history as varied and offbeat as his travels.
The story is complete with original photography taken from the columns when they ran in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Read more on Ira Glass, The Georgia Rambler, and the Coca-Cola recipe here (May 2012, Atlanta Journal-Constitution).