Books are available
Accordion War
A Fortune Teller's Blessing
I Walk Toward the Sound of My Days: Poems of John Allen Adams
The German Spy

Autographed copies can be obtained post-paid from the author by sending a check or money order for $20 for one or $35 for two (either or both books) to:

Charles Hughes
PO Box 1112
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
(870) 246 8557

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Book Summaries

Summary:  A Fortune Teller’s Blessing: The Story of John Allen Adams
March 2010, by Charles Hughes

In 1936 during the depths of the Great Depression a handsome and gifted seventeen-year-old high school athlete saw his promising future shattered when his neck was broken in a football game.  His injury was so severe few at the time thought the honor student, Eagle Scout, editor of his school paper, and president of his class every year since the seventh grade would survive.  But with the dedicated care of his iron-willed Aunt Bessie, the outpouring of support from his home town and his own determination John Allen Adams did survive and was able over time to adapt to his severe handicap and go on to lead a remarkably successful life. Though left a quadriplegic, he proved to be a man of extraordinary inner resources, one who found freedom while bound to a wheelchair and independence while almost totally dependent on those around him.  He made his way in the world as a businessman dealing in the products he loved most—books; and, while confined for forty-six years to two houses two blocks apart, he found success as a poet and purpose as a defender of the environment and an anti-war activist whose influence reached across the country and beyond.

John Allen’s story, woven from important strands of Arkansas and American history, reaches far beyond the community of Arkadelphia in which he lived.  It is a dramatic story replete with accomplished citizens and colorful characters.   His mother, a carnival fortune teller, was the misfit daughter of the Horton family whose history can be traced back to the Revolutionary War.  Her grandfather, W.S. Horton, the patriarch, was a Forty-Niner who returned from the gold fields of California to Dallas County Arkansas where he married Elizabeth Scott, daughter of Major J.D. Scott and niece of General Winfield Scott of Mexican War fame. There they began their family on the cotton plantation they named Fairview and prospered until Horton rode away with the Arkansas Volunteers during the Civil War where, according to family memories, he took part in the nearby battles of Poison Spring, Marks’ Mills and Jenkins Ferry.  John Allen could count among his relatives and forebears soldiers, teachers, professors, physicians, and college presidents, although there are dark shadows and mysteries in the family as well. 

But while family history provides a fascinating backdrop for his story it cannot account for the remarkable character of John Allen Adams.  All who knew him recognized his singular nature—his compassion, his courage, his wisdom and wit.  The newspaper where his Aunt Bessie worked boasted on its masthead that Arkadelphia was “The Athens of Arkansas,” and considering the constellation of friends who surrounded him throughout his life, that boast seems not without merit.  He earned his place in the Greatest Generation even though he lay paralyzed while his classmates went off to fight in World War II.  After that conflict, in addition to establishing Adams Book Store which became a cultural oasis for his home town, he enjoyed life-long discourses with accomplished friends who provided him windows to exciting worlds, to Ivy League universities, the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, performances at the Metropolitan Opera, and to incisive Socratic dialogs with a philosopher friend who lived near Walden Pond. 

John Allen Adams, a skilled poet and a tireless worker for world peace, was a man who found within himself the resources to build a life that made a difference, a difference reflected in the testimonies and memories of those whose lives he touched.

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