CUPS UP
 
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ABOUT

GEORGE T. MALVANEY

 
  George Malvaney (center front) and the other nine mercenaries involved with the Bayou of Pigs plot entering the Orleans Parish Prison, April 1981. AP Photo/Jack Thornell.

George Malvaney (center front) and the other nine mercenaries involved with the Bayou of Pigs plot entering the Orleans Parish Prison, April 1981. AP Photo/Jack Thornell.

 

George Malvaney’s life epitomizes the old maxim that “You cannot make this stuff up.” Combine a young Klansman from Mississippi, an armed coup attempt in the Caribbean, a stay in prison, and a life-changing epiphany, and you have but half of this swashbuckling tale. Throw in the worst man-made ecological disaster in the history of the United States, and you have unleashed Malvaney’s full life story. The Klansman, the soldier of fortune, the wild-eyed prisoner transforms into a renowned leader of the Mississippi Gulf Coast cleanup effort in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

 

In his too-crazy-not-to-be-true memoir, Malvaney chronicles what easily should be several lifetimes of adventure—and misadventure. Growing up in a close-knit family in Jackson, Mississippi, the young Malvaney preferred woods and swamps to the drudgery of high school. He dropped out, enlisted in the Navy and shortly afterwards joined the KKK.

 

It chronicles the roller coaster life of a high school dropout, ex-Klansman, ex-mercenary, ex-felon, and ex-con, who went on to become a college graduate, a hard-nosed environmental regulator, and a widely respected top executive in a company with more than a thousand employees.

 
  George Malvaney (center front), Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (right), and BP’s Kenny Spriggs exiting a Blackhawk helicopter after a tour of the BP oil slick off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, May 2010.

George Malvaney (center front), Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (right), and BP’s Kenny Spriggs exiting a Blackhawk helicopter after a tour of the BP oil slick off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, May 2010.

While on board, he organized a branch of the Klan, corrupting and endangering his crewmen. After his discharge, he answered a mercenary call to take part in an invasion of Dominica, a Caribbean fiasco known as the “Bayou of Pigs.” That madness landed him in a federal penitentiary. And there, somehow, he vowed to turn his life around. 

Cups Up, a title drawn from the demeaning command shouted at thirsty prisoners, is a story of perseverance, cleansing, and redemption.