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Carry ME Home
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Journalist McWhorter (the New York Times) offers a three-part chronicle of Birmingham, AL, the crucial battleground of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. A daughter of privilege, she puts her homefolk's resistance to black civil rights in a national context. But her signal contribution is her account of life inside Fortress Segregation. She reveals the intimate workings and absolutism of segregation, which she dubs "a civilization more peculiar than slavery." Her detailed portrait of white intransigence and retaliation climaxes in 1963 with Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor's dogs and the September 15 dynamiting that killed four black girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. McWhorter's literate, often barbed, well-referenced local history with a family twist is a feat of reporting that belongs alongside David Halberstam's The Children (LJ 2/15/98), Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 (LJ 1/89. o.p.), and such works on Birmingham as John Walton Cotman's Birmingham, JFK, and the Civil Rights Act of 1963 (1989). Recommended for all collections on civil rights and U.S. or Southern history. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/00.] Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Francine Prose

"O MagazineHer narrative takes on the suspense of a detective novel...."Carry Me Home is an ambitious, panoramic history with enough personal memoir to make us see why Diane McWhorter cannot forget -- and wants us to remember -- the momentous events that took place during one historic year in one Alabama city.
Craig Flournoy

"The Dallas Morning News"The product of nineteen years of research, "Carry Me Home" is a brilliant work of history.
Jon Wiener

"The Nation"The most important book on the movement since Taylor Branch's "Parting the Waters." It should become a classic.
"The New Yorker"

McWhorter's own involvement in the story...reenergizes the struggle, serving as a reminder that history is always personal.
"The Washington Post Book World"

"Carry Me Home" is a case study in how the privileged and powerful can operate behind the scenes to control and, when it is in their interests, undermine and corrupt the social fabric.
David Herbert Donald

Author of "Lincoln"A tour de force, comparable in importance to J. Anthony Lukas's "Common Ground" and Taylor Branch's "Parting the Waters." "Carry Me Home" is destined to become a classic in the history of the civil rights revolution.
Ellen Dahnke

"The Tennessean"Birmingham's story will strike a chord with every Southerner who lived through that crucible, but it is as much a tribute to McWhorter's gifts that readers will feel as if they walk Birmingham's streets during that period as if through their own hometown.
Francine Prose

"O Magazine"Her narrative takes on the suspense of a detective novel...."Carry Me Home" is an ambitious, panoramic history with enough personal memoir to make us see why Diane McWhorter cannot forget -- and wants us to remember -- the momentous events that took place during one historic year in one Alabama city.
Paul Rosenberg

"The Denver Post"McWhorter's remarkable clarity and candor, her relentless focus on the enormous forces of stasis, reaction and accommodation that defined life in Birmingham, illuminate this past so vividly we cannot avoid the unspoken challenge to finally come to terms with it, however difficult that may yet be.Paul Rosenberg
"Publishers Weekly" (starred)

The story of civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama, has been told before -- from the unspeakable violence to the simple, courageous decencies -- but fresh, sometimes startling details distinguish this doorstop page-turner told by a daughter of the city's white elite. [McWhorter] brings a gripping pace and an unusual, twofold perspective to her account, incorporating her viewpoint as a child...as well as her adult viewpoint as an avid scholar and journalist.
Harper Barnes

"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"Diane McWhorter's powerful moral epic about the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, contains all the elements of first-rate history, including dauntingly thorough research, a sure grasp of the big picture as well as the tiny details that illuminate it, evocative writing that brings action and character springing off the page, and a novelist's sense of how to mold a compelling narrative arc out of the innumerable molecules of historical fact.
David Herbert Donald author of "Lincoln" A tour de force, comparable in importance to J. Anthony Lukas's "Common Ground" and Taylor Branch's "Parting the Waters."

"Carry Me Home" is destined to become a classic in the history of the civil rights revolution.

The story of civil rights in Birmingham, Ala., has been told before from the unspeakable violence to the simple, courageous decencies but fresh, sometimes startling details distinguish this doorstop page-turner told by a daughter of the city's white elite. McWhorter, a regular New York Times contributor, focuses on two shattering moments in Birmingham in 1963 that led to "the end of apartheid in America": when "Bull Connor's police dogs and fire hoses" attacked "school age witnesses for justice," and when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Church, killing four black girls. Yet she brings a gripping pace and an unusual, two-fold perspective to her account, incorporating her viewpoint as a child (she was largely ignorant of what was going on "downtown," even as her father took an increasingly active role in opposing the civil rights movement), as well as her adult viewpoint as an avid scholar and journalist. Surveying figures both major and minor civil rights leaders, politicians, clergy, political organizers of all stripes her panoramic study unmasks prominent members of Birmingham in collusion with the Klan, revealing behind-the-scenes machinations of "terrorists on the payroll at U.S. Steel" and men like Sid Smyer, McWhorter's distant cousin, who "bankrolled... one of the city's most rabid klansmen." McWhorter binds it all together with the strong thread of a family saga, fueled by a passion to understand the father about whom she had long harbored "vague but sinister visions" and other men of his class and clan. (Mar. 15) Forecast: McWhorter's prominence and her willingness to name names as well as her exhaustive research and skillful narrative virtually guarantee major review attention. Bolstered by an eight-city tour and a pre-pub excerpt in Talk in February, the 50,000-copy first printing should move fast. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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