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The True Story of the Emmett Till Case

by Chris Crowe

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8034-2804-2
Publisher: Putnam

An awkward and problematic beginning gives way to a provocative, if occasionally histrionic, account of the 1955 trial of the murderers of Emmett Till, one of the flashpoint moments in the early civil-rights movement. Crowe, whose Mississippi Trial, 1955 (2002) covered in fictional form much of this same territory, has a difficult time initially with this straight historical account. An imagined “recreation” of Till’s abduction threatens to hamstring the effort before it even gets started. This gives way to a repetitious, poorly edited, and poorly organized description of the state of racial affairs at the time. Once the narrative moves on to the trial, however, the natural drama of the courtroom takes over, and for the most part readers will be drawn in as thoroughly as contemporary Americans were. Neither the contextual citation of primary-source material nor the unannotated bibliography will easily enable readers to source that material; a list of suggested further reading might, however, spark additional research. This work, despite its flaws, does bring to a child audience one of the most egregious instances of American injustice, and thus merits consideration. (Nonfiction. 12+)