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A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption
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A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  149 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
An extraordinary account of how a small Texas town struggled to come to grips with its racist past in the aftermath of the brutal murder of James Byrd, Jr.

On June 7, 1998, a forty-nine-year-old black man named James Byrd, Jr., was chained to the bumper of a truck and dragged three miles down a country road by a trio of young white men. It didn't take long for the residents
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ebook, 336 pages
Published January 2nd 2003 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2001)
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 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
The cover of this book was correct when it said that many people hadn't heard of Jasper, Texas until the Byrd killing. I had never heard of that town nor of this murder. It became one of the most gruesome murders I have ever read about.

It's hard for me to fathom that in this day and age racism of this kind still exists. It is very troubling and sad. There are no words to even try to excuse what these 3 men did to Mr. Byrd. I could not be a defense lawyer for any of the three. I didn't buy any o
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Dan Chance
Feb 15, 2012 Dan Chance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
I had heard of the murder of a black man by dragging him behind a pick up but I didn't know the details before reading this book. I was horrified to learn that the black man's head had popped off his body at one point. The town was complicit in the values that nurtured the inhumanity and casual violence that might have been passed off as roughhousing and forgotten if the black man had survived. As time passed the two (or was it more) convictions were forgotten and the town went back to sleep in ...more
Elizabeth C L
Being from the area where this murder took place, I felt Ms. Temple-Raston's view a bit skewed. I found myself being annoyed at times by the martyrdom of the man who suffered a horrendous death at the hands of some ignorant racists. There is still a lot of hate both in Southeast Texas as well as most places in the 'bible belt' and it that was evident in the book. It was interesting to have an outsider's perspective.
LucidStyle
After recently spending time learning about Emmett Till's murder in 1955, I stumbled by complete happenstance across this book and felt pulled to it. Till is referenced in the book more than once. One wonders, just how long is 43 years?

This work displays excellent objective and sensitive writing. The flowing narrative is pleasantly descriptive and when it needs to be, stark. The author focuses on the connection the townspeople have with their history and landscape in an attempt to reveal an und
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April
Aug 24, 2009 April rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was in the mood for a true crime book at the library the other day so I grabbed this one off the shelf as I thought I remembered hearing about this crime when it happened. It’s the story of a small town in Texas where 3 white men dragged a black man to death not that long ago (just over 10 years ago now).
I finished reading this one feeling like it had just skimmed the surface. The story just didn’t seem complete. I felt that I barely knew more about the case than what I had already known going
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Kirsti
An account of the horrific dragging death of James Byrd Jr. The author is an NPR reporter who has worked as a foreign correspondent and for Bloomberg Business News. Not surprisingly, she is earnest and sincere in reporting this story, rather than overemotional and self-aggrandizing, as many reporters would have been in her place. She also treats the piney woods of East Texas as if they were a foreign country.

"Death has a way of making even slow people hurry. It scares them into seeing things the
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Catten
Dec 04, 2008 Catten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was living in Houston in 1998 when I heard about the dragging death in Jasper, 125 miles away in East Texas. That it was a race-related crime was clear, but the aftermath that Jasper's citizens went through rarely even made news in Houston. This book brings it all into sharp focus.

Early the morning of June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd, Jr. left a friend's house to walk home from a night of partying. "You watch. James Byrd, he's going out in style," Byrd said as he left the party. "The name
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Fishface
The story of the horrible dragging death of a small-town hard-luck case, by a bunch of drunken idiots. Treated as a racial hate crime by the media, but this book casts a lot of doubt on that idea.
Patty Mar
Jun 03, 2014 Patty Mar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Total non-fiction account of race and murder in small town Texas. Published in 2002; forces one to think about racial prejudice, even now.
Abigail
May 07, 2008 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another of my favorite true crime books. Extensively researched, very well-written about the highly-publicized dragging death of a black man by 3 white men in Texas. This book delves into the problem of gangs (especially white supremacist gangs) in prison, and is extremely provocative in terms of race relations. The town where this happened still had (has?) segragated cemetaries in 2000!
Molly
Feb 09, 2010 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I taught creative nonfiction, I think I would include this book, or one a great deal like it, in my course list. The story is well paced, with just enough flash-forwards and flash-backs, cleverly placed, to reveal the whole of the story--or the whole that any outsider can tell. Her use of other voices is also prime for class discussion.
Andy
Feb 25, 2009 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty even-handed account of the Jasper case. The author does a good job of detailing how various politicians used this event as a tool. I liked the parts of the book describing the people involved in the crime most of all, and wished the book had more of that.
Brian
Jun 26, 2007 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just awful. Bad writing by someone who, it seemed, should never have flown down there to look around. Her outsider perspective did not help in the telling, and I wasn't convinced of her respect for her subject(s).
Victoria
Sep 16, 2007 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all americans
A must read for every American. Frightening, and embarassing, part of our history that could teach us all a lesson in some way.
Cassie
Oct 27, 2012 Cassie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting history of a racial hate crime in Jaspar, TX. Well worth the read.
Ginger
Feb 10, 2008 Ginger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible and heartbreaking!
Brandelyn
Feb 04, 2009 Brandelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this very moving and scary.
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