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Publisher's Summary

Forsyth County, Georgia, at the turn of the 20th century was home to a large African American community that included ministers and teachers, farmers and field hands, tradesmen, servants, and children. Many black residents were poor sharecroppers, but others owned their own farms and the land on which they'd founded the county's thriving black churches.

But then, in September of 1912, three young black laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. One man was dragged from a jail cell and lynched on the town square, two teenagers were hung after a one-day trial, and soon bands of white "night riders" launched a coordinated campaign of arson and terror, driving all 1,098 black citizens out of the county. In the wake of the expulsions, whites harvested the crops and took over the livestock of their former neighbors and quietly laid claim to "abandoned" land. The charred ruins of homes and churches disappeared into the weeds until the people and places of black Forsyth were forgotten.

National Book Award finalist Patrick Phillips tells Forsyth's tragic story in vivid detail and traces its long history of racial violence all the way back to antebellum Georgia. Recalling his own childhood in the 1970s and '80s, Phillips sheds light on the communal crimes of his hometown and the violent means by which locals kept Forsyth all white well into the 1990s.

Blood at the Root is a sweeping American tale that spans the Cherokee removals of the 1830s, the hope and promise of Reconstruction, and the crushing injustice of Forsyth's racial cleansing. With bold storytelling and lyrical prose, Phillips breaks a century-long silence and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the 21st century.

©2016 Patrick Philips (P)2016 Random House Audio

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must read -

must read - especially with trump. ascension. Helps clarify the social base for fascism in this country. its up to us to stop it

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • Grand Prairie, TX, United States
  • 12-14-17

horrific story told with care

I was shocked, angered, and saddened by the terror created. America's past is really not so far away. it leads me to believe that if we are not vigilant we can lose all that we have gained.

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Required reading for anyone who wants to understand racial history

I have lived in Georgia for 20 years and this book is the first clear telling I have had of the history of white terrorism that has had such an impact on 20th century Georgia. The issues outlined here are not isolated to Forsyth County, of course, but understanding that microcosm and the ripple effects that it had more broadly is essential for white people in particular to understand where we are today in our country. Highly recommended.

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Riveting and upsetting

It is hard to believe that the events described in this book happened during my lifetime. Many of these citizens are still alive today. where do these deeply rooted feelings go when polite society and culture says it is no longer appropriate to say you don't want the blacks in your neighborhood or town...underground...waiting for the right time to when it will be ok...

really thought provoking given the current political climate, especially our attorney general....he fits right in with the elected officials covered in this book. I feel like I van better understand Mr. Sessions inclinations.

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  • KBoch
  • Cumming, GA USA
  • 12-02-16

Those who fail to understand history…

I moved with my family to for side county into thousand and two, unaware of its history. I was mortified to learn that I had moved to the same county I had seen on Oprah's anniversary special that had aired just months prior. I am happy to say that things have definitely improved. But I believe this is an important book for people who truly want to understand what has happened here in the past. It is difficult to think about these things that I can't imagine. Hearing the names of familiar streets as these horrific events are described is unsettling. This book will stay with me for a long time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A moving read

I enjoyed this book immensely. It has provided a new insight to me on the county that I live in.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful