At once horrifying and inspiring, engaging and thought-provoking, this is a definitive must-read about the Charleston...

GRACE WILL LEAD US HOME

THE CHARLESTON CHURCH MASSACRE AND THE HARD, INSPIRING JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS

An award-winning journalist delves into the events surrounding the 2015 massacre of nine people at Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Emanuel AME Church—and how the community recovered after the horror.

Hawes, who writes for the Charleston-based Post and Courier and has won the Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award, among other honors, begins with the heart-rending details of Roof’s crime, describing the victims, the church, and the fateful night during which the perpetrator infamously completed his plan to create a sensation of racist violence. Though often difficult to read due to the emotional magnitude of the material, Hawes’ book describes the crime in compassionate, detailed, and engaging prose. Shockingly, even after the crime, the pain for survivors and victims’ families was far from over. Inept church leadership would make a mockery of Emanuel’s story through poor pastoral choices, questionable use of donations, and an utter disregard for the needs of those most closely connected to the tragedy. In addition to the bungling next steps of their beloved church, survivors had to endure Roof’s trial, a lengthy and painful reminder of the horrors of that day. Hawes is a talented storyteller, recounting every phase of this saga while focusing on the individual tales of survivors and family members. She also examines the forgiveness some parishioners offered to Roof, which captured the nation’s imagination in the weeks following his crime, and she paints an impressively detailed portrait of the shallow criminal, whom she memorably describes at one point as “a gargoyle come to life.” Hawes dispassionately examines the larger issues surrounding the tragedy, including the debate over the Confederate flag, fringe white supremacist groups, and urban racial tensions, all against the backdrop of one man’s evil choice. Perhaps most impressively, the author does not let her subject drag her into pontificating; instead, she maintains her journalistic poise and balance amid a highly emotional storyline.

At once horrifying and inspiring, engaging and thought-provoking, this is a definitive must-read about the Charleston tragedy.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-11776-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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