Colonel George M. Chinn's (1902--1987) life story reads more like fiction than the biography of a Kentucky soldier. A smart and fun-loving character, Chinn attended Centre College and played on the famous "Praying Colonels" football team that won the 1921 national championship. After graduation, he returned to his home in Mercer County and partnered with munitions expert "Tunnel" Smith to dynamite a cliff. The resulting hole became Chinn's Cave House -- a diner that also functioned as an underground gambling operation during Prohibition. He even served as Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler's bodyguard before joining the Marine Corps in 1943.
In Kentucky Maverick, Carlton Jackson details the life of a legendary and highly decorated Marine whose career spanned both world wars, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Chinn's service paired a love of history with a special kind of genius: he documented the history of military technology while designing innovative weapons such as the M-19 automatic grenade launcher, which is still used in the armed forces today. After leaving the Corps, Chinn leaned on his many connections to become the director of the Kentucky Historical Society.
Carlton Jackson's entertaining biography weaves together outrageous tales of gunplay and politics while revealing Chinn's sense of humor, unbending will, and a sense of destiny that could only be fulfilled by a true twentieth-century Renaissance man.
A Maverick from a Family of Mavericks
What's in a Name?
Football and Caves
Odds and Ends; or, Here and There
"Whose History Is It, Anyway?"
Back to the Cave
Action at the Kentucky Historical Society, 1959-1973
The Worlding According to Chinn
An Assessment of Colonel George Morgan Chinn
"Chinn exemplified the variegated expertise, even genius, of a twentieth-century Kentucky Renaissance man Chinn's amazingly varied careers as football coach, Mercer County 'character,' political groupie, military adventurer, honored weapons inventor, and controversial public historian inform both a fascinating personal biography and a telling commentary on twentieth-century Kentucky .Chinn's public life is at once compelling, disquieting, and in many ways profound, much like the Commonwealth's history and culture during his years." -- Russell Harris, retired senior associate editor of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
" Kentucky Maverick is well-designed, well-researched, and well-written. Jackson has developed a schema of portraying the "story" of Chinn's life against the backdrop of the 'maverick.'" -- William Ellis, professor emeritus of history at Eastern Kentucky University
"The stories of this Renaissance man will intrigue any Kentuckian." -- Kaintuckeean
"[...] Kentucky Maverick is an incredibly fun read, with Chinn's wit and unapologetic boldness making his personality jump off the page. Colonel George M. Chinn certainly did enough in his 85 years to fill several lifetimes, and the story of his success is sure to make every fellow Centre Colonel proud." -- Centrepiece
"[...]This book is not only a tribute to a great and little known Kentuckian, but also to a tenacious historian who died before its publication.
[...] This biography of one of the most colorful Kentuckians of all time is a joy to possess and read." -- Kentucky Monthly
"[...] [H]istorian Carlton Jackson explores Chinn's life and unique brand of brilliance in an account that reads like a dime store adventure novel -- equal parts action, accomplishment, and humor. Jackson chronicles his upbringing, military career, and contributions to both the nation and Kentucky. His diverse interests and achievements in both technological and historical advancement made him a Renaissance man. His irreverent humor, larger-than-life personality, and non-conformity made him a maverick." -- Northern Kentucky Heritage
"[...] No one has characterized and defined Colonel George M. Chinn better than biographer Carlton Jackson [...][...] In addition to Kentucky Maverick being a pleasure to read, it can be said to belong on every serious military reader's bookshelf." -- Leatherneck