Audie Award Winner, History, 2014
Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 2013
Arguably the most important American lawyer of the 20th century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.
In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white 17-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as the "Groveland Boys".
And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as "Mr. Civil Rights", into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the "Florida Terror" at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight - not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.
Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI's unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as "one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice."
©2012 Gilbert King (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
King is an incredible story teller. The people, places, scenes are alive as the book goes thru this case minute by minute and day by day. I felt like I was living in the middle of this horrible geography in American history. Thank goodness we have come so far in America, although there is still a lot to be done. And Thurgood Marshall, unlike the hagiography of so many recent American biographies, has many weaknesses but still emerges as a great historical figure who made a profound difference. Everyone should read this book.
Love history,mystery,true crime,love books especially audio.
This book should be required reading in high school U.S History courses. The sad part is most Americans know very little about this case or Thurgood Marshall's involvement in it. The good part is now they will. Peter Francis James the perfect narrator for this book.
I enjoy historical fiction, humor, and biographies. I listen to my Audible books as I drive in my car or on my IPhone.
This book has a lot of history surrounding the movement and beginning of Civil Rights. I grew up in Florida and was not aware of the many criminal activities that played into Civil Rights that happened here.
I was not impressed with the narrator. Being a native Floridian I was disappointed how Mr. James mis-pronounced several cities in Florida. Umatilla and Tavares are two of them that stick out in my mind. I wish he had researched the proper way to pronounce these names before narrating. Also, when changing characters I think it would have been better to have added another narrator.
The horrible treatment of those that were falsely accused of rape.
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