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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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