Swallow Savannah

by Ken Burger

Swallow Savannah is the story of a rural southern community caught between one man’s all-consuming ambition and the dawning reality of civil rights.

Hardcover, Fiction

Available here for for Amazon’s Kindle.
Available here for Barnes & Noble’s Nook.


SKU: 978-0-98-187352-7 Categories: , Tags: ,

Bluff County, S.C. 1950.

While Frank Finklea and his muckmates were sloughing trees out of the primal ooze, engineers in silver safety helmets stood off to the side drawing imaginary lines in the air. There was talk they were building the world’s biggest bomb factory. That’s why there was so much secrecy surrounding the project. The feds had bought up 300 square miles of rural South Carolina so it would have plenty of buffer if anything went wrong.

And there was plenty that could go wrong.

Finklea’s survival instincts drew him out of the swampland to become one of the most powerful men in the state. As he ruthlessly built his empire, Finklea cared little for those he left in his wake: his trusting father-in-law, his beautiful, brutalized wife, his troubled mistress, and his gentle son. He gave no thought to the poor blacks he exploited or the neighbors he humiliated. Yet as time and the Savannah River flow through Bluff County, Finklea's sins were carried out of the swamps and into the open. In a single, violent day, decades of racial conflict and government corruption explode in South Carolina.

Swallow Savannah is the story of a rural southern community caught between one man's all-consuming ambition and the dawning reality of civil rights.

About the Author







Ken Burger says he was an “accidental sports writer” because, coming out of college he had no intention of covering athletic events. He hardly knew which baseball teams were in the National League and which ones were in the American League.

Doug Nye, sports editor of The Columbia (S.C.) Record, said that didn’t matter. He liked Ken’s style and hired him as a 20-something sports reporter in June 1973.

That launched a long and distinguished career in which Ken earned so many S.C. Press Association writing awards that he lost count, a double handful of S.C. Sports Writer of the Year citations from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, three nods from the Associated Press as one of the best sports columnists in the country, the title of South Carolina’s Journalist of the Year in 1996, and a special place in the journalism wing of the S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame.

While writing for the Columbia papers and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., Ken’s bread-and-butter topics included University of South Carolina and Clemson football, basketball and baseball as well as local high school and small-college teams.

Privileged to be writing in what many considered the United States’ heyday of sports journalism, Ken traveled far and wide to file dispatches from a dozen Super Bowls, several Final Fours, and almost every major golf tournament, including more than 20 Masters Tournaments.

Ken’s love of writing landed him a ringside seat in athletic cathedrals that included Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Super Dome, and almost every other major temple of sport from coast to coast. When asked about his favorite sports moment, Ken smiles and says, “All of them.”

Well-armed with an impressive homeboy vocabulary, a keen sense of story, and an empathetic ear for human emotion, Ken consistently gave readers something timely that they could not get anywhere else, something he jokingly called “literature in a hurry.”

Ken also served a few years as the Washington D.C. news correspondent for The Post and Courier and wrote an award- winning metro news column for several years. But he spent more than a quarter-century covering Palmetto State sports.

His first novel, Swallow Savannah, was published in 2008. His second novel, Sister Santee, came out in 2010. Both novels were touted as among the best in Southern fiction by the Independent Publishers Association. Burger’s most recent success, Baptized in Sweet Tea, won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Gift Book in 2011 by the Independent Book Publisher Association. This award-winning compilation of his best columns featured in The Post and Courier commemorates Southern identity and culture and resonates with readers of all ages. Burger previously published Life Through The Earholes Of Our Youth, a collection of sports columns that has become a collector’s item.

Ken Burger died in 2015. He was two days shy of his 66th birthday.