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Red Summer

The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America
Narrated by: L.J. Ganser
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A narrative history of America's deadliest episode of race riots and lynchings.

After World War I, black Americans fervently hoped for a new epoch of peace, prosperity, and equality. Black soldiers believed their participation in the fight to make the world safe for democracy finally earned them rights they had been promised since the close of the Civil War.

Instead, an unprecedented wave of anti-black riots and lynchings swept the country for eight months. From April to November of 1919, the racial unrest rolled across the South into the North and the Midwest, even to the nation's capital. Millions of lives were disrupted, and hundreds of lives were lost. Blacks responded by fighting back with an intensity and determination never seen before.

Red Summer is the first narrative history about this epic encounter. Focusing on the worst riots and lynchings - including those in Chicago, Washington, DC, Charleston, Omaha, and Knoxville - Cameron McWhirter chronicles the mayhem, while also exploring the first stirrings of a civil rights movement that would transform American society 40 years later.

©2011 Cameron McWhirter (P)2019 Tantor

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Strongly recommended!

Cameron McWhirter masterfully ties many events that lead to gossip and riots throughout the summer of 1919 in so many locations across the USA on the heels of the Great War. So many black citizens were blamed for crimes and attacked and killed by mobs, and even the court cases were far less than fair justice.. Chances are many readers have not heard of more than a handful of these events. There is a thread of a story that runs through the book that offers a hopeful conclusion. Do consider the possibility of getting younger people (students) connected with this book. Excellent work by this author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • JAS
  • LA, CA
  • 03-27-19

Better Understand 2019 by Looking Closely at 1919

Anyone looking for a clearer understanding of how America has struggled with race relations would benefit from this book. It's sobering, tragic and, at times, almost unbelievable. However, in today's social climate, Red Summer helps shed a huge light on how we got to where we are today.

Cameron McWhirter is, of course, a top tier reporter, and his experience and curiosity matches well with this nearly-forgotten chapter in American history. I was intellectually stimulated and emotionally wrung-out by this treasure trove. Packed with exhaustive research, countless interviews, and insightful historical perspective, Red Summer is a book that delivers more than I could have imagined.

As an audiobook, I must say that I have a few misgivings. I often felt the tone of the narrator was at odds with the book. The 'read' is a little smug, frankly. I felt a more matter-of-fact reading would have benefited the listening experience. Furthermore, there are many audible 'breaths' in this recording, and that's distracting. Not sure why those weren't edited out or toned down. Lastly, at almost exactly the 8 hour mark, I noticed that there was some technical issue - like an interruption or something...right when the book discusses a gentleman whose fear for his own life is sadly justified.

I would still highly recommend Red Summer, in any form. America would learn a lot about 2019 by looking at 1919.

Point of information: Some years ago I knew Cam a bit, and have always followed and enjoyed his work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful