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Ocoee, TN (PRWEB) July 12, 2013

This is the biography of Merritt Miller, who bootlegged moonshine and had four wives and twenty-six recorded children. Author Louise Miller Hales fathers life and times were spent as a type of independent businessman unique to the American experience during the Prohibition. In 13 Minutes to Live, Louise Hale puts an understanding eye to a still existing way of life in rural America, where people often make do on semi-arable hillsides and many a village respect their making a living by operating unlicensed whiskey stills at night. She tells a story about crime, punishment and justice that is the stuff of regional legendher father, to her, was always a larger than life figure and it is very well projected in this compelling biography.


Central to the narrative is an unforgettable escapade wherein Miller is jailed along with Mr. Hardy Wiggins after having been unjustly accused of shooting Mr. Phil Phillips of Topton, North Carolina. Louise Hale writes:


“So this is the trial of Merritt Miller and Hardy Wiggins. Public papers and letters have it as from 1915 to 1929, and it happened at 7:20 a.m. of a certain day; the defense is based on failure of identification, testimony offered on behalf of the defendants that two other men were seen at the place the evening before, and the lack of direct evidence connecting them with the corpus delicti, making it inadmissible.”


Merritt Miller, as his daughter first remembers him at the tender age of eight, was an acknowledged womanizer and enemy of the Internal Revenue Services enforcement agents (“revenuers”), who made life difficult for those who, like Merritt Miller, made and distributed (and drank) alcohol during Prohibition. That era saw many a saga of notorious, lionized and fugitive American citizens who were hard put to carve out a living for themselves when the U.S. government decided to put a stop to drinking alcohol in America. In the narration of the locally well-known trial that was a crucial event in her fathers life, Louise Hale then provides direct, riveting human and bare bones drama to their familys history in the context of Prohibition.


Hale makes no excuses about what her father was or for his less than “respectable” life. Merritt Miller himself was unapologetic about it. Matter of factly, 13 Minutes to Live records background history and events related to the trial. Here is a tone of understatement common to rural Tennessee folk who take natural and personal disasters just as matter of factly. It is not fatalism, the stakes were life and death for Merritt Miller, especially during that timehe lost his home, his wife and children. It is all in the way of making a memorable story come to life in their settingHale does it with a quiet flair, a stern but loving eye, and a gift for setting a unique angle to the details that her father perhaps, when he was doing right by his family, taught her. It is all about identity and pride of place. It is the voice of pioneer America, crackling with truth, authenticity and saving grace.


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13 Minutes to Live * by Louise Miller Hale

The Trial of Merritt Miller and Hardy Wiggins in Graham County in the Fall of 1915

Publication Date: July 3, 2013

Trade Paperback; $ 19.99; 112 pages; 978-1-4836-6222-0

Trade Hardback; $ 29.99; 112 pages; 978-1-4836-6223-7

eBook; $ 3.99; 978-1-4836-6224-4


Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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