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The Children is Halberstam's moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen thru the story of the young people--the Children--who met in the 60s & went on to lead the revolution. Magisterial in scope, with a strong you-are-there quality, The Children is a story one of America's preeminent journalists has waited years to write, a powerful book abou The Children is Halberstam's moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen thru the story of the young people--the Children--who met in the 60s & went on to lead the revolution. Magisterial in scope, with a strong you-are-there quality, The Children is a story one of America's preeminent journalists has waited years to write, a powerful book about one of the most dramatic movements in American history. They came together as part of Rev. James Lawson's workshops on nonviolence, eight idealistic black students whose families had sacrificed much so that they could go to college. They risked it all, & their lives besides, when they joined the growing civil rights movement. Halberstam shows how Martin Luther King Jr recruited Lawson to come to Nashville to train students in Gandhian techniques of nonviolence. We see the strength of the families the Children came from, moving portraits of several generations of the black experience in America. We feel Diane Nash's fear before the first sit-in to protest segregation of Nashville lunch counters. Then we see how Diane Nash & others--John Lewis, Gloria Johnson, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, Curtis Murphy, James Bevel, Rodney Powell--persevered until they ultimately accomplished that goal. After the sit-ins, when the Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate buses were in danger of being stopped because of violence, it was these same young people who led the bitter battle into the Deep South. Halberstam takes us into those buses, lets us witness the violence the students encountered in Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma. He shows what has happened to the Children since the 60s, as they have gone on with their lives.


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The Children is Halberstam's moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen thru the story of the young people--the Children--who met in the 60s & went on to lead the revolution. Magisterial in scope, with a strong you-are-there quality, The Children is a story one of America's preeminent journalists has waited years to write, a powerful book abou The Children is Halberstam's moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen thru the story of the young people--the Children--who met in the 60s & went on to lead the revolution. Magisterial in scope, with a strong you-are-there quality, The Children is a story one of America's preeminent journalists has waited years to write, a powerful book about one of the most dramatic movements in American history. They came together as part of Rev. James Lawson's workshops on nonviolence, eight idealistic black students whose families had sacrificed much so that they could go to college. They risked it all, & their lives besides, when they joined the growing civil rights movement. Halberstam shows how Martin Luther King Jr recruited Lawson to come to Nashville to train students in Gandhian techniques of nonviolence. We see the strength of the families the Children came from, moving portraits of several generations of the black experience in America. We feel Diane Nash's fear before the first sit-in to protest segregation of Nashville lunch counters. Then we see how Diane Nash & others--John Lewis, Gloria Johnson, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, Curtis Murphy, James Bevel, Rodney Powell--persevered until they ultimately accomplished that goal. After the sit-ins, when the Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate buses were in danger of being stopped because of violence, it was these same young people who led the bitter battle into the Deep South. Halberstam takes us into those buses, lets us witness the violence the students encountered in Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma. He shows what has happened to the Children since the 60s, as they have gone on with their lives.

30 review for The Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thomas DeWolf

    A powerful reminder of just how young, and how courageous, the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were; that children in their teens and early twenties truly changed the world. I highly recommend The Children. From the Author's Note at the end: "I can think of no occasion in recent postwar American history when there had been so shining an example of democracy at work because of the courage and nobility of ordinary people – people hardly favored at the time of birth by their circumstances – tha A powerful reminder of just how young, and how courageous, the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were; that children in their teens and early twenties truly changed the world. I highly recommend The Children. From the Author's Note at the end: "I can think of no occasion in recent postwar American history when there had been so shining an example of democracy at work because of the courage and nobility of ordinary people – people hardly favored at the time of birth by their circumstances – than what happened in those days in the South. By that I mean the five years which began in February 1960 with the sit-ins and ended with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 after the Selma protests."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    So, I picked this book up because I know almost nothing about the civil rights movement, I was looking for a longish book (I have been plagued with short stories recently) and I liked the “Pulitzer Prize Winning Author” tag across the top. I did not realize until I had started it that it was non-fiction and that Halberstam is a journalist. As a spoiled little white-girl child of the 1980s, I was less enamored by the thought of a non-fiction 700+ page account of this moment in history; I really wo So, I picked this book up because I know almost nothing about the civil rights movement, I was looking for a longish book (I have been plagued with short stories recently) and I liked the “Pulitzer Prize Winning Author” tag across the top. I did not realize until I had started it that it was non-fiction and that Halberstam is a journalist. As a spoiled little white-girl child of the 1980s, I was less enamored by the thought of a non-fiction 700+ page account of this moment in history; I really would have preferred a historical fiction rendering. So, I learned a lot that I did not know. I did not know many of the details surrounding the sit-ins and the freedom rides. I did not know many of these names (actually I only knew about four of them: ML King, Marion Barry, Stokley Carmicheal, and Malcom X). And so this book was good for me and it was a well organized way to present the material. I wasn’t quite sure about the “cast of characters”; the book is title The Children and so Halberstam begins with the college kids in Nashville and the sit-ins. He then follows them to the Freedom Rides and then (after King’s death) kinda spends the last 200ish pages just summing up their lives. I felt kinda meh about this. If this is the only book I’m going to read about the civil rights movement (and it might be), it would be nice to include some of the other stuff. Rather than hear all the details of Hank Thomas’s acquisitions of McDonald’s restaurants or Chris Murphy’s trouble with too much partying it would have been nice to get bit more about Stokely Carmicheal and Malcolm X. This book is about “the children” and a specific moment that starts with the sit-ins and so it neglects the black power movement and the black separatism that followed. This is kind of okay, but I guess I would have rather had the book end around about ML King’s murder than continue to read about these people and not the development of the movement. I was also a little miffed that Halberstam decided to lump some older folks (Jim Lawson, Kelly Smith) in with “the children” (and so we got their later history), but not others (Julian Bond??) who were arguably children (or at least college age like the rest of them) during the initial sit ins. Overall it was too long for my taste and felt less like a comprehensive historical analysis and more like a spotlight on these 10 lives. They are clearly important lives, but not everything that happened within them were important. As a concluding aside, I have a Great-Grandmother who was born and raised and lived her whole life in small town Mississippi. When I was a kid (80s to early 90s) we went to her house for Thanksgiving every year. It was the smallest town I had ever seen; there was a one block downtown that consisted of a barber shop, gas station, a jeweler’s store, a furniture store, a pawn shop, and a grocery store. As a small girl (probably about 7 or 8), I had more freedom during this long weekend than I did ever at home (in a suburb of Chicago and West Palm Beach FL). I was allowed to walk all the way from my Grandma’s house (her’s was the first just over the railroad tracks outside of down town) three blocks to the grocery store and pick out a treat ALL BY MYSELF. The town was so small that there was virtually no crime (at least not perpetuated against a small white girl visiting her grandma) and everyone knew who I was. They didn’t know me by name, but they would all say, “you must be Ms. Priscilla’s granddaughter” or something to that effect. The sidewalks were made of wood and were raised about 4 feet from the road. People would park their cars in the angled slots along the sidewalk and then walk to the middle of the block where there was a short staircase to come up to the sidewalk. Once when I was walking down to the store (something I did at least 6 times a day to exercise my freedom) an elderly black man using a cane approached from the other direction. When he got to the mid-block staircase, he walked down it and turned so that his back was facing the sidewalk and he was looking directly out into the street. I thought this was odd and watched him as I approached. Once I had passed him, I turned around to look over my shoulder to see if he was still just standing there looking at the street. He was not. As soon as I had passed, he climbed back up the stairs and continued on his way. When I got home, I asked my mom about this and she explained that it was a sign of respect and that there was a time when he could risk being beaten up (or worse) for walking next to me on the sidewalk. Rather than risk this, he climbed down before he reached me and waited for me to pass. I could not (and still really do not) comprehend the kind of society in which an elderly gentleman had to pay deference to a 7 year old child. Clearly, his life in Mississippi was much different than anything I can imagine, but the image of that man standing and staring out into the street has stayed with me these 30+ years and impacted almost every conversation or thought that I have had about racial relations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Graney

    This is a history of the civil rights movement in Nashville. If John Lewis is one of your heroes you'll want to get this. This is a history of the civil rights movement in Nashville. If John Lewis is one of your heroes you'll want to get this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Halberstam is a safe bet. I've liked everything I've read by him, even his book about the auto industry. This title was on my shelves already when the reading of Parting the Waters inspired me to look more into the civil rights movement. While Parting the Waters focuses on MLK and the, mostly church-based, leadership, The Children tells the story of the Nashville activists, mostly students, who led the sit-ins in that town during the early sixties. Although they had been preceded by the students Halberstam is a safe bet. I've liked everything I've read by him, even his book about the auto industry. This title was on my shelves already when the reading of Parting the Waters inspired me to look more into the civil rights movement. While Parting the Waters focuses on MLK and the, mostly church-based, leadership, The Children tells the story of the Nashville activists, mostly students, who led the sit-ins in that town during the early sixties. Although they had been preceded by the students in Greensboro by a few days, they, like the Greensboro kids, were sui generis, self-motived, not directed by the leadership. Similarly, after the first Freedom Ride, organized by CORE, was stymied, it was reorganized by these same Nashville students and run successfully. Again, rather than following the established civil rights organizations, these students created situations that the 'leadership' had to scramble to exploit. These, the individuals involved in the original Nashville actions, are the subjects of what amounts to a series of biographies which carry the principal players into the late nineties. With few exceptions, the stories of these courageous individuals, male and female, are profounding inspiring and often quite moving.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brinda

    Halberstam: maybe the best journalistic writer this country has ever had....

  6. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    Wonderful book about a handful of young people who fought in the Civil Rights movement.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    IQ "The Movement had been predominately black, although its aims were integrationist. Led as it was by black Southern ministers, it was religious, nonviolent, and marvelously and often clumsily democratic. It was ecumenical and above all, for people had often lost sight of this, it was optimistic. It was broad based, and it had constantly had one aim, to appeal to the conscience of America. It was, he decided, probably over; at least the part of it driven primarily by a religious force." Bernard IQ "The Movement had been predominately black, although its aims were integrationist. Led as it was by black Southern ministers, it was religious, nonviolent, and marvelously and often clumsily democratic. It was ecumenical and above all, for people had often lost sight of this, it was optimistic. It was broad based, and it had constantly had one aim, to appeal to the conscience of America. It was, he decided, probably over; at least the part of it driven primarily by a religious force." Bernard Lafayette, 560 After you see SELMA read this book to learn more about the activists briefly mentioned in the movie (such as James Bevel played by Common and Diane Nash played by Tessa Thompson. Side note: Nash is one of my new heroes). Halberstam left no stone unturned. This book focuses on the intersecting lives of the student leaders of the civil rights movement but he also discusses the adults in their lives (both the well known and lesser known) and the approach of various figures of the Kennedy administration. Their stories are inspiring, particularly to me as a college student at the moment but also remind anyone of their own time as a young adult. His writing is excellent, that has an even greater impact because he was there for most of the story. His interviews are vivid and he does a great job extracting information from those he profiles. His book seems particularly timely at the moment because of the movie SELMA and his portrayal of Marion Barry who had only died about a month ago while I was reading this book. I have nothing else to say except READ IT. Please. I really feel that I understand the sacrifices and personalities of those who contributed to the civil rights movement on a deeper level. An exhilarating and galvanizing true story of courageous individuals who seem to be quite rare at this day and age. Some of my favorite quotes are below; "This was is [Jim Lawson's] most crucial lesson: Ordinary people who acted on conscience and took terrible risks were no longer ordinary people. They were by their very actions transformed. They would be heroes, men and women who had been abused and arrested for seeking the most elemental of human rights" 62 "Indeed, he decided years later, everyone ought to have one pure moment in history, one glorious instant which set you apart from everyone else and made you feel that you were not ordinary, that your life was worth something" 130 Paul LaPrad "It was at that moment that John Lewis had an epiphany: Not only did their own parents not want them to make the trip, but now the Nashville ministers felt the same way because over the past year they had become the proxy parents of the students. They had all gotten too close to each other. Because they had been through so much together and come to admire one another so much, human emotions and personal attachments were outweighing what was good for the cause. That was wrong, Lewis believed" (275).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    In 1959, James Lawson, a Methodist minister who spent several years in India studying the methods of Gandhi, organized a group of college students to protest segregation in Nashville through lunch counter sit-ins.. The original group of students attended various local schools including American Baptist College, Fisk University and Tennessee A & I—all primarily black colleges. Among them were the later infamous Marion Barry and John Lewis, who became a Congressman from Georgia. Several of the oth In 1959, James Lawson, a Methodist minister who spent several years in India studying the methods of Gandhi, organized a group of college students to protest segregation in Nashville through lunch counter sit-ins.. The original group of students attended various local schools including American Baptist College, Fisk University and Tennessee A & I—all primarily black colleges. Among them were the later infamous Marion Barry and John Lewis, who became a Congressman from Georgia. Several of the others became prominent in the larger civil rights movement. Many of them were interested in ministry, or came from backgrounds which gave them deep religious convictions. Halberstam tells the story of these individuals and of others who joined them along the way. He reports on and analyzes the development of the non-violent direct action movement during the early 1960s. The largest focus is on the students' involvement in the lunch-counter sit-ins that began in early 1960 and in the Freedom Rides that began somewhat later. The students’ movement started in Nashville--which was a relatively liberal city with regard to segregation—and expanded to cities and towns of the “Deep South” in Alabama and Mississippi. There were relatively peaceful mass arrests in Nashville and vicious beatings sanctioned by the local governments in Alabama and Mississippi. Until the later 1960s, these protesters reacted non-violently, and many of them suffered serious injury. Halberstam comments on the almost complete lack of involvement by the Kennedy administration until confronted with the extreme violence perpetrated on the protestors by law enforcement officials. He discusses the connection between some of the local police and the Ku Klux Klan. He also calls attention to the relatively new phenomenon of television broadcasting these scenes to the average American, and the significant impact on the populace and on the federal government of that visual evidence. Halberstam was a reporter for the Nashville Tennesseean when the sit-ins started and moved to the New York Times in the early 1960s where his emphasis shifted to the Vietnam War. The writing is that of a very good reporter, but it is not a scholarly investigation and analysis. It is based upon anecdote and interviews with participants in the events and can be taken as a well written factual account. My one criticism is that he spends approximately 200 pages at the end of the book briefly recounting what happened afterward to all of the individuals he saw as key players. Since I was reading it for information about the civil rights movement, I was not so interested in the "after" stories. I do, however, highly recommend this very readable book, particularly as one that covers the contributions of the less well known young participants in the early civil rights movement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles Gonzalez

    An extraordinary achievement. I have read much of Halberstam's work, starting with Best and Brightest, but this work, based on his first real reporting in Tennessee is a revelation. ALong with Taylor Branch's trilogy of MLK, this story, made me truly understand the definition of American heroism. It is hard if not impossible to think today of a group of young college kids, poor mostly, first of their families to go to college, out to change their world, in spite of overwhelming danger, and obsta An extraordinary achievement. I have read much of Halberstam's work, starting with Best and Brightest, but this work, based on his first real reporting in Tennessee is a revelation. ALong with Taylor Branch's trilogy of MLK, this story, made me truly understand the definition of American heroism. It is hard if not impossible to think today of a group of young college kids, poor mostly, first of their families to go to college, out to change their world, in spite of overwhelming danger, and obstacles. With no greater armament than their belief in non-violent action, they set out to overwhelm a 400 year legacy in the South and as a by-product light the fuse for the entire 60's ferment. Some of the names are somewhat well known now, though most are forgotten or not known at all. They are my heroes. Heroes of an American history that we can all be proud of,whatever our race, creed or religion. And Halberstam, because he was there, and because he saw and believed in what they were trying to do, communicates with a emotional power and sincerity that is truly amazing. Every American student, every American should read this book. It will be one of my top 25 to give to my grandson when he is ready to read this...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    WHAT a book: a group biography, written as a return to the civil rights beat by Halberstam, late in his life, having covered Nashville sit-ins and the formation of SNCC as a cub reporter. That's where much transpired, and the careers of these notables follow on from there. Their life stories, interwoven, include a "greatest generation" of young leaders: John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, Diane Nash, James Lawson, James Bevel... and Marion Barry. There is a personal resonance in this narrative in Hal WHAT a book: a group biography, written as a return to the civil rights beat by Halberstam, late in his life, having covered Nashville sit-ins and the formation of SNCC as a cub reporter. That's where much transpired, and the careers of these notables follow on from there. Their life stories, interwoven, include a "greatest generation" of young leaders: John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, Diane Nash, James Lawson, James Bevel... and Marion Barry. There is a personal resonance in this narrative in Halberstam's familiarity and fascination with life's highs and lows. Highest recommendation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    October 2007 Nashville book club book. I read half and found it very interesting, but very dense. I don't think I'll go back to finish it. October 2007 Nashville book club book. I read half and found it very interesting, but very dense. I don't think I'll go back to finish it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    There were many many things I liked about this book. In the beginning what I loved the most was having all these figures who I've been so fascinated with and inspired by step into the story of the Nashville sit-ins and then to get there back stories. Towards the end I appreciated getting to learn about the lives of some of these young adults after 1968. I know part of it was simply Halberstan's point of view but it was really cool to see how so many key figures from the southern Black Freedom Mo There were many many things I liked about this book. In the beginning what I loved the most was having all these figures who I've been so fascinated with and inspired by step into the story of the Nashville sit-ins and then to get there back stories. Towards the end I appreciated getting to learn about the lives of some of these young adults after 1968. I know part of it was simply Halberstan's point of view but it was really cool to see how so many key figures from the southern Black Freedom Movement were connected to James Lawson and the Nashville sit ins. This is a LONG book 720 pages, but for the most part I really liked the authors style and format. He uses very short article-like chapters that follow a particular individuals experience for a period of time. The chapters overlap in time, going back to catch one person or another's story up to where the last one left off and then moving us forward in time a little or shifting our geography, from the Nashville sit-ins to the founding of SNCC, to the Freedom Rides, to grassroots work in Missississippi and Alabama, to the Albany Movement (well honestly Halberstam doesn't tell us much about the Albany movement), to the Birmingham Children's Crusade, the March on Washington, to the Pettus Bridge to MLK coming out against the war in Vietnam, to Memphis and beyond. I think one thing that Halberstam's style does really well is present multiplicity of stories about the Movement, which helps to challenge the narrative of a single project and experience directed by SCLC and centered around Martin Luther King. I think it captures the idea that many many ordinary people moved events forward, played key roles and made important historic strategic decisions and personal sacrifices. Especially at this moment where there is such inspiring leadership coming from you Black people under the banner of Black Lives Matter, it was just hopeful to read about three American Baptist students: car pooling to Bernard Lafayette, John Lewis, and Jim Bevel carpooling to Lawson's workshops, Bevel mostly there because he was the one with the car. And it was valuable to remember that Diane Nash was terrified sitting in class waiting for class to be over and for the walk to sit in at Nashville lunch counters to begin. There were a number of things I didn't really like about this book, all of them had to do with Halberstam's bias. At a time in the moment when I as a reader was on the edge of my seat waiting to read about how a courageous group of mostly Black young people would challenge segregation in Nasheville, Halberstam, himself once a Nashville newspaper reporter, takes the reader on a rather long investigation in to the politics and psychology of the white man who owned one of the Nasheville papers. In some parts of the book Halberstam's very personal interest in the relationship between the media and the Movement, is really useful other times it is as if because he was a local reporter in Nashville, everyone must care about the dynamics between the two rival Nashville newspapers. Similarly, often digging into the personalities and politics of white institutions (the Alabama public safety commission for instance) was really informative, but other times I didn't really care that much, for example the chapters about Vanderbilt and its divinity school. More importantly I didn't appreciate Halberstam's treatment of the ideas of Black Nationalism within in SNCC. While I do appreciate that that Halberstam set out to tell the story of the members of SNCC, from Nashville who were shepherded into the movement by Jim Lawson, and in fact appreciate his respect even reverence for that tendency, he completely over simplified other tendencies within SNCC. Whether he meant it to or not his story telling reinforced the dominant narrative of the *good* non-violent civil rights protesters and the *bad* Black Power activists. Despite the limits of the author's exploration of the different tendencies in SNCC I was fascinated to realize that there were early conflicts within SNCC between a more "political" tendency that favored voter registration and a tendency more tied to the original sit-ins that favored direct action and that these conflicts fell along very different line from the split over Black Power. And finally, while I really appreciated learning about the various characters in the book after the Movement, in particular, individual's emotional and psychological struggles, and I was so glad that Halberstam dedicated many pages to Rodney Powell's struggle around his identity as a gay man, I wish the author just hadn't bothered with the chapter on Marion Barry. Maybe it would have been cowardly to just avoid the story of the man who was the first chair of SNCC and the Mayor of Washington, DC. But it just felt like a tired story, that many other writers both more sympathetic to and more antagonistic towards Barry are ready to tell. This book was written in 1998 but in 2015 I just want us to let Marion Rest In Peace. Overall, though these are amazing, inspiring stories, worthy of a 700 plus page book. Who these people are and what they figured out to do, matters so much to me I flew through the hundreds of pages feeling privileged to know about the lives of these folks what as young people took the most inspiring actions! I know that what "the Children" did changed my life and I very much appreciated Halberstam's treatment of how what they did changed their lives!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    Excellent representation of the early Civil Rights movement.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian Stout

    Such a good read. Deeply inspiring: a reminder of why I believe in democracy even in the face of overwhelming challenges. Told with the pacing and insight of a veteran reporter, the empathy and essential humanism of someone who was there with the "children" - so compelling. This one will stay with me. I wish the Civil Rights Movement were better taught in schools. As the story of not just MLK and Selma, but of a thousand efforts large and small, of diverse groups united, of the tremendous courag Such a good read. Deeply inspiring: a reminder of why I believe in democracy even in the face of overwhelming challenges. Told with the pacing and insight of a veteran reporter, the empathy and essential humanism of someone who was there with the "children" - so compelling. This one will stay with me. I wish the Civil Rights Movement were better taught in schools. As the story of not just MLK and Selma, but of a thousand efforts large and small, of diverse groups united, of the tremendous courage of the young. Should be mandatory reading for adults in America.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Porter

    Eyewitness account of the beginnings of the civil rights movement. How nice to have one of the great journalists/historians of the century there at the time. The participants in the early sit-ins and Freedom Rides are largely forgotten today, which is a shame. They're truly American Heroes. Even with the struggles that many of them faced after the early movement changed and imploded, they deserve this book. Eyewitness account of the beginnings of the civil rights movement. How nice to have one of the great journalists/historians of the century there at the time. The participants in the early sit-ins and Freedom Rides are largely forgotten today, which is a shame. They're truly American Heroes. Even with the struggles that many of them faced after the early movement changed and imploded, they deserve this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    This book is a good reminder of the brutality and inhumanity that segregation was. Though it was occurred occurred in my parents' lifetime, it is easy to forget how hard was the struggle to win even basic dignities for blacks in the south: the ability to eat at a downtown lunch counter, use a non-segregated bathroom or bus, or vote as any other citizen in an election. This book is a good reminder of the brutality and inhumanity that segregation was. Though it was occurred occurred in my parents' lifetime, it is easy to forget how hard was the struggle to win even basic dignities for blacks in the south: the ability to eat at a downtown lunch counter, use a non-segregated bathroom or bus, or vote as any other citizen in an election.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    This is one of the best history books I have ever read; I was completely engrossed from page 1 to the finish. Beautifully written, I am moved by the stories of the foot soldiers of the Movement. John Lewis, Jim Lawson, Paul LaPrad, Bernard Lafayette, Curtis Murphy, Hank Thomas,Gloria Johnson and Diane Nash are true American heroes. Their stories were expertly told by Halberstam.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joann

    An must read for anyone interested in American history! This is an absolutely fascinating look at the civil rights movement told through the stories of the extremely young African AMerican students -- including both John Lewis and Marion Barry -- who led the movement.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mac

    Halberstam is a first rate journalist and this is a first rate account of the modern Civil Rights struggle. A must read for anyone interested in recent American history and for anyone who wants to learn about some of America's real heros. Halberstam is a first rate journalist and this is a first rate account of the modern Civil Rights struggle. A must read for anyone interested in recent American history and for anyone who wants to learn about some of America's real heros.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I really loved this book, even though it was huge and took quite a while to read. It was extremely well-written, with clear "fly-on-the-wall" reporting of amazing, terrible events. I knew a little about the freedom riders but not the incredible details described in this book. I really loved this book, even though it was huge and took quite a while to read. It was extremely well-written, with clear "fly-on-the-wall" reporting of amazing, terrible events. I knew a little about the freedom riders but not the incredible details described in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I lent this book out and wish I got it back. Very memorable, fascinating, detailed story of several young people during this time in history.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Amazing story of people who shaped the civil rights movement. Makes you think "what have I done lately?" Amazing story of people who shaped the civil rights movement. Makes you think "what have I done lately?"

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A great book about the kids that made up the civil rights movement. A must read if you are interested in that era.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Very good examination of the civil rights movement centered around young activists. I read it after hearing Bill Walton recommend it in a radio interview.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    Beautiful A beautiful account of American heroism by one of my favorite authors. Well worth reading and hard to put down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Clark

    The best book I have read in 2018. In the Author's Note, Halberstam explains that the initial reporting of that time and of these people was "quite clinical. . . . [W]e did little to try and humanize the demonstrators." More than 30 years later, he seeks in this book to make up for past journalistic sterility by bringing to life some of the fascinating figures in the movement for racial justice. He does so with a sense of dramatic narrative and appreciation for nuance and complexity that moves t The best book I have read in 2018. In the Author's Note, Halberstam explains that the initial reporting of that time and of these people was "quite clinical. . . . [W]e did little to try and humanize the demonstrators." More than 30 years later, he seeks in this book to make up for past journalistic sterility by bringing to life some of the fascinating figures in the movement for racial justice. He does so with a sense of dramatic narrative and appreciation for nuance and complexity that moves the reader to empathy and reflection. And that is exactly what he does- he humanizes these people who are mythical in the minds of some of us. John Lewis, Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, as well as people whom I did not know, such as Gloria Johnson and Hank Thomas. The book looks into their upbringings, as well as their thoughts and friendships during the Movement. Halberstam includes all kinds of stories and anecdotes, in addition narrative descriptions, that made me laugh and cry. For example, during one of the early demonstrations, some whites were threatening to kill some of the students. John Lawson, one of the leaders, asked the man about his leather jacket and they ended up having a conversation about motorcycles, and the students ended up being able to get through unharmed. "The children" was the term used by some clergy, parents and establishment to characterize the "relentless innocence" of the sit-in leaders whose average age was no more than 20. And this book illustrated that relentless innocence, as well as the deep Christian faith and discipline, that many of the students had. I found the discussions of faith fascinating, and how much of that early movement was born out of theological principals, even though the concept was also tied so much to Ghandi. Finally, the book does not end when the 60s are over. It follows the lives of those out of the Movement as they come to terms with an "ordinary" life, and how difficult that transition can be, something that I think is often lost in discussion of people who did such brave things. Anyways, everyone should read this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Quotable: He and the people he was advising needed to end the cycle of violence. They needed to start forgiving their enemies. Just as Jesus and Gandhi would have done. As they accepted themselves, as they accepted that this condition was not their fault, only then would they have the strength to be more tolerant of those who oppressed them. They were to be teachers as well as demonstrators. If they accorded others dignity, there was a great chance in the long run that fair-minded people would acc Quotable: He and the people he was advising needed to end the cycle of violence. They needed to start forgiving their enemies. Just as Jesus and Gandhi would have done. As they accepted themselves, as they accepted that this condition was not their fault, only then would they have the strength to be more tolerant of those who oppressed them. They were to be teachers as well as demonstrators. If they accorded others dignity, there was a great chance in the long run that fair-minded people would accord them theirs. There was a phrase Jim Larson often used in talking about the kind of community they were working to create, and the first time he used the phrase it simply jumped out at John Lewis: the beloved community. It was not a utopia, but it was a place where the barriers between people gradually came down and where the citizenry made a constant effort to address even the most difficult problems of ordinary people. It was above all else an ever idealistic community. When someone who had never been arrested before complained about the ill-fitting nature of the prison clothes they had been handed by the Mississippi authorities, Bevel seemed irritated. This was not a fashion show; Gandhi, he added, had wrapped a rag around his balls and had brought down the entire British empire. [T]he roots of modern black political organization rested, like so much else, in the black Baptist church.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Rankin

    A book I have wanted to read for a very long time and I was not disappointed. The story primarily of 8 young people who became the non-violent face of the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tennessee in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Many of them continued this work in the South and other parts of the country and even on an international level.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    With protests happening all over our country again, this book about the beginnings of the non-violent resistance- (SNAP) is fascinating. These kids were so young and so committed. They knew exactly what they were up against. Their courage astounds.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Excellent book on the formation of SNCC, the early Nashville sit-ins, and what happened in the years after that time written by a great writer who reported on these events as they happened.

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