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Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy
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Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  159 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
They stand as unselfconscious as if the photograph were being taken at a church picnic and not during one of the pitched battles of the civil rights struggle. None of them knows that the image will appear in Life magazine or that it will become an icon of its era. The year is 1962, and these seven white Mississippi lawmen have gathered to stop James Meredith from integrati ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Vintage (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 337)
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Charles Matthews
Dec 06, 2009 Charles Matthews rated it really liked it
In February 1995, Washington Post reporter Paul Hendrickson was browsing in a bookstore in Berkeley, where he came across a book of photographs by Charles Moore from the civil rights era.

In one photo, a group of white men has focused its attention on a man gripping a wooden stick as if it were a baseball bat. He has a cigarette clenched in his teeth as he demonstrates, with evident amusement, how he intends to use this stick. Meanwhile, the man to his left, whose cigarette is dangling from his u
...more
Jay Wigley
Oct 31, 2008 Jay Wigley rated it really liked it
I'm never written a book. But if I could choose one book that I wish I had written instead of the actual author, this would be the one. Everything in history that I've ever cared deeply about is in this book--Mississippi, the South, Civil Rights stuff, everything.
James Blatter
Apr 02, 2011 James Blatter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a riviting account of the intergration of Ole Miss and the banality of common everyday evil and our willingness to just let it pass or even participate. And of of who we might be today in that continuing struggle
Mary Drew
Jul 03, 2012 Mary Drew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, history
The author uses a picture by famed Civil-Rights photographer Charles Moore and riffs on it. He follows each one of the seven men in the photo, interviews peers and descendants, traces history of the towns where they each served as Sheriff or Deputy-Sheriff, and tries to tease out what the legacy of these seven actually is in today's world.

This is a tough narrative to glue together because he takes so many tangents - I am curious to see how he'll stick them all together at the end.

I like this boo
...more
Catherine
Apr 28, 2012 Catherine rated it it was ok
In concept, this book was interesting. It tells the story of seven Mississippi sheriffs, captured in a Life Magazine photo, shortly before the race riot over the integration of the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss"). The author examines the lives of each racist sheriff (some in more detail than others), and then traces the evolution of their racist attitudes forward through the next generations of their families.

Unfortunately, in execution, this book falls short. As an initial matter, the li
...more
Willis
Nov 15, 2012 Willis rated it it was ok
This is a book related to the Civil Rights movement of the Sixties in the deep South of Mississippi where James Meredith was the first black to enroll at the University of Mississippi. I was expecting to learn more about the story and its context within the broader Civil Rights movement so I was a little dissapointed. In a different twist, the author focuses on the lives of 7 individuals who appear in the photograph on the front cover of the book. They were all Mississippi lawmen and in a way re ...more
Jim
May 26, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
As a newcomer to the US, I am perhaps more aware of the role of race here than I am in the UK. However, despite living here 2 years, was still at a loss a loss as to its' origins and why it occured here.

This book helped me see the American "South" in a new light. Gone are my perceptions that large sections of the old confederate south are your typical "KKK style bigots", but it has been replaced with a recognition that the racism that the African-American community experienced may well still be
...more
Ryan
Jul 27, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Very solid historical research with a unique and engaging approach to capturing an important event in the history of Civil Rights in America.
Brittany
Feb 04, 2014 Brittany rated it liked it
I am not a huge fan of nonfiction, but this was a good book to read. It is about the civil rights but through a different perspective. I liked it mainly because it look at the children and grandchildren of the men that were involved in the civil rights movement.
Denise Gee
Oct 14, 2012 Denise Gee rated it it was amazing


This is a powerfully woven story about a group of virulently racist Mississippi sheriffs (one being my neighbor in Natchez) who went to Ole Miss to oppose James Meredith's admittance -- and how their sons, and in some cases their sons, have dealt with the legacy of having the sheriffs' arrogant and angry stance captured for posterity in a Life magazine photo by Charles Moore. That said, the writing of this book is simply superb. I started underlining passages and expressions in pencil so that I
...more
Carmen
Jan 27, 2008 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book took a famous picture from Time magazine where you see a group of sherrifs standing in a circle with a billy club. The story behind the photo is that they are there to stop the integration of the University of Mississippi.

Well, the book isn't about the actual event. What it does is take each sherrif in the photo and tell their story, along with the story of the photographer and the man who first integrated UM.

Even better, the author follows the story of the children of each of these m
...more
Adam
Jun 01, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
in case you needed reminding that the South was a terribly racist place.
Robert Bean
May 03, 2016 Robert Bean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I found this to be an intriguing way to approach a historical event. It was well worth the read (and the $1 price tag at Big Lots). We all hear the stories that surround an event in history, but we rarely hear how those events affect events for years to come, and that's why this book is worth reading. It's an interesting look at a group of law men and their descendants, and how the choices they made at the time the photo was taken helped to shape all of the events that followed in their lives. I ...more
Jimmy
Apr 17, 2012 Jimmy marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-has-it
This is not a proper review, just a note to myself that I abandoned this at page 127, in case I want to return to it later. The concept behind this book was really great. Unfortunately, the execution was way too tedious. Really a pity, since I wanted to love this book so much. He seemed to prefer including too much information even when that information is not all that interesting. The really interesting stuff gets lost in a sea of trivial details. A good editor could've cut this book down by ab ...more
Holly
Jan 31, 2013 Holly rated it liked it
Historical subject matter but not really a historical book (ie something written by a historian). I really didnt enjoy this book at first but as I got more into it it was a lot better. I really enjoyed the way the author went through the different elements of the one cover image, each explanation adding a new layer of meaning to his narrative. If I could I would give it a 3.5/5 but I don't think it merits a 4 from me.
Barbara Neumann
Nov 22, 2009 Barbara Neumann rated it liked it
The author uses the 1962 Life photo of several sheriffs from around Mississippi at the Ole Miss campus when James Meredith was trying to register and integrate the school. He researched each person in the photo and the legacy of hate that they handed down to their childrenand grandchildren. In addition, he researched the photographer and James Meredith's family. This is an interesting read.
Kelly
Aug 09, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it
What would have made an excellent essay was instead turned into an endless book(by endless I mean I didn't finish it) that starts out morally superior and bitter, shifts tones to add more perspective and give some background on other famous pictures and people of that era, then sort of rambles on. That's where I left it. I think I got what I needed from it.
Elaine
Nov 02, 2010 Elaine rated it really liked it
I really liked the subject matter of this book. Using a photo taken by Civil RIghts photographer, Charles Moore, Paul Hendrickson tries to link the impact of the civil rights movement on the next two generations.
The conclusions he finds are startling. Change does not happen quickly. Great book for discussion.
Tom
Dec 06, 2012 Tom rated it really liked it
One of the better insights into the contemporary Deep South. The lives and thoughts of ordinary people who are the children of bigotry was a good read. It's also somewhat fascinating to follow the premise: the analysis of the lives behind a single photograph and how Mississippi changed in response to the times.
kirk
Jul 05, 2011 kirk rated it liked it
Good book information-wise, but it's written by a news journalist so I felt it got kind of boring in parts. Really sad to be reminded what happened in one of my favorite states. :(
Carol
Oct 26, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it
I learned so much from this book that if hadn't known about that era in Mississippi. I would have given it a 5 (for content) but the organization was confusing.
Wisteria Leigh
non-fiction,Mississippi,civil rights history,race relations,American history,racism,20th century South,race riots,bigotry
Steve P
Mar 23, 2009 Steve P rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2008
I picked this book up for a buck in a Big Lots in Virginia and it was one of the best books I read last year.
Danielle
Mar 21, 2013 Danielle rated it liked it
Very interesting read from a unique perspective. Not a survey course on the Civil Rights Movement, fyi.
Elizabeth
Jul 21, 2012 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
As recommended by Ed from the U of C alumni bookclub.
Jeff
Apr 21, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it
The man can turn a hell of a phrase.
Dennis Williams
Aug 21, 2010 Dennis Williams rated it it was amazing
Excellent and well researched account
Weavre
Nov 04, 2008 Weavre marked it as to-read
OST NON-FICTION ADULT STK 305.8 HEN
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 Beth Shields-Szostak marked it as to-read
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed by author
Jason Wilson
Outstanding
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