Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution” as Want to Read:
Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  479 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
"The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was a cataclysmic turning point in America's long civil rights struggle. That spring, child demonstrators faced down police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches for desegregation. A few months later, Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated by bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killing four young black girls. Diane McWhorter, journ ...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Carry Me Home, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Carry Me Home

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Looming Tower by Lawrence WrightThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanThe Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard RhodesThe Prize by Daniel Yergin
Pulitzer Winners: General Non-fiction
26th out of 62 books — 208 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggNew Yesterdays by Jim L. WrightAll Over But the Shoutin' by Rick BraggForrest Gump by Winston Groom
Alabama Books
27th out of 155 books — 93 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,620)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 13, 2012 Carina rated it liked it
FINALLY. Wow, this book took me forever to read. It's so huge and densely packed with information that I really don't know how to rate it. There were parts I liked a lot and other parts where I just felt overwhelmed by all the names flying at me. I would certainly need to read it more than once to have a chance of absorbing it all.
George Bradford
Mar 08, 2008 George Bradford rated it liked it
Shelves: justice, southern-man
Terrorism -- bombings, murders, assaults, sabotage and other forms of mayhem -- is a coward's business. Only a coward would assemble a group of men to assault a single victim. Only a coward would blow up a residence or church where children were present. Only a coward would wear a white sheet over his face to conceal his identity while committing these crimes.

A coward would also support these atrocities without actually being involved in it.

A coward would also observe this madness, know that it
Jun 15, 2016 Don rated it liked it
McWhorter has written a history of the civil rights movement with particular focus on Birmingham, Alabama, her home town. She grew up during that era and was a contemporary of the 4 girls killed in the infamous church bombing in 1963.

The most interesting part of the book, to me, is the attention paid to the white power structure and government of the city. My recollection of the Taylor Branch monumental trilogy about the civil rights movement is that its focus is almost entirely on the movement
Brian Bess
Feb 15, 2016 Brian Bess rated it really liked it
The Autobiography of Bombingham

Journalist Diane McWhorter is a Birmingham native who was ten at the time that the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing killed four young girls and had her eleventh birthday just a few weeks before the assassination of JFK. She was born into one of the old affluent white families in Birmingham, with a lineage of men who had been influential movers and shakers in the city's history. In this sense, she was born on the wrong side of history, as she says, so this ma
Jan 31, 2016 Brent rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers interested in compelling history
Recommended to Brent by: reviews
This magnum opus tells the life story of Birmingham in the twentieth century, culminating in the events of 1963 and their legacies. Carry Me Home combines biographies of the author, civil rights figures, business, labor, church and nonprofit participants, law enforcement officers, Klansmen, and criminals: who intertwine tortuously, lawmen sharing information with the Klan, nonviolence shadowed by violence, especially bombings, especially the Sixteenth Street Church bombing.

Read this book; I've b
Dec 25, 2007 Kirk rated it really liked it
A sprawling but compelling examination of Birmingham and the events leading up to the 16th Street Church bombing of 1963. The book is both thoroughly researched and yet personal, with the author revealing the degree to which many white suburban "Birminghammers" were completely isolated from the "race problems" of the 1950s and 1960s. If one small criticism is to be had here, it is that the focus is so broad that the dramatic tension gets a bit diluted---only in the pages covering the firehose-an ...more
Meg Petersen
May 26, 2013 Meg Petersen rated it it was amazing
I am so grateful to Diane McWhorter for the incredible volume of research that went into this book, and for the nuanced and complex portrait she paints of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. I want to start reading it again now that I have finished. The book explodes the ideas that the resistance to civil rights rested with a few racist individuals, exposing its systemic reach, and that the movement revolved around the charismatic personality of Martin Luther King. As she writes, "Now that ...more
David A-S
Jan 15, 2016 David A-S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carry Me Home is one of the most significant books that I have read in years. McWhorter provides such an in-depth but broad based historic recording of Birmingham related to Civil Rights climaxing in the early 60s with the SCLC and AMCHR. She puts faces and thoughts into a story that plays in the public like a glossy comicbook in comparison. Heroes like King and Shuttlesworth are human and impressive, children are reluctant stars, and the consequences are deeply felt and ongoing.
Ad Hudler
May 31, 2016 Ad Hudler rated it it was amazing
I think this might be the definitive book on the Civil Rights movement in America. By examining the struggle in Birmingham, her hometown, Diane McWhorter learned that her father played an unsavory role in the famous violent events that made this Alabama city the center of the civil rights the book a more personal feel than most non-fiction books have. Carry Me Home reads more like a novel than a non-fiction work. Dense, yes, but worth every word.
Jill Cordry
May 28, 2015 Jill Cordry rated it did not like it
I cannot believe this book won the Pulitzer Prize. It must have been because of the subject matter. However, the author has taken an important historical era and city and turned it into a convoluted mess. Within a paragraph, she goes back in time, forward in time, and around again in circles. The chapters are divided into very short sections and they are all like this. Twenty years of research led to 602 pages. McWhorter needed a red pencil and a decent editor. I was able to learn a lot from the ...more
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 Frederick Bingham rated it liked it
This book is about the events in Birmingham Alabama in 1961-63. This was the time of the culmination of the civil rights movement. There was a boycott by black residents, the beating up of the freedom riders and the bombing of a church which killed 4 young girls. The author is a daughter of a white family generally opposed to integration. She describes the events, as well as her family's reaction. The book is very well written and footnoted. It is quite long, almost 700 pages, and filled with mo ...more
Susan Jaffe Pober
May 21, 2012 Susan Jaffe Pober rated it really liked it
"Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution" explores the year in the life of Birmingham, Alabama. The year was 1963, a violent and pivotal year in the civil rights movements. McWhorter goes into extensive detail describing the growth of the city and how it came to be what it was in the '60s. Her perspective is interesting, given that it is where she grew up and was exposed to the racism of the community. At 700 pages, the book sometimes slows down in ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Amy marked it as to-read
Recommended by Malcolm Gladwell in David and Goliath
Jan 15, 2009 John rated it it was ok
I was looking for an interesting history of the Civil Rights movement. This wasn't it.

The book is thorough and well written, but it just isn't an interesting read. It often contains too much detail as the author attempts to maintain historical accuracy and enlighten us on the personalities of hundreds of participants.

Having slogged through the first 200 or so pages, I began to skim the chapters. I'd find something interesting and read that section. There are some good parts to this book, they ar
Naomi Krokowski
Aug 15, 2015 Naomi Krokowski rated it it was amazing
Densely packed with information, this book was difficult to finish but quite rewarding. The admiration I gained for Fred Shuttlesworth is immense. Most people have no idea how brave and instrumental he was to the civil rights struggle. McWhorter does her best to keep the narrative moving but it's just so full of people and facts it felt like reading a professional article some days. Total admiration for her and her achievements.
Oct 24, 2014 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Incredibly detailed and human
When the main protagonist in a piece of fiction dies, we call it dramatic. When the main protagonist dies in a piece of non-fiction, we call it history. What do you call it when the main protagonist in a piece of history dies in real-life while you are reading about his history? Fred Shuttlesworth passed away on October 5, 2011, when I was about 100 pages from finishing this book. He, more than just about anyone in this account of Birmingham, Alabama's resistance to ending legalized segregation, ...more
Marti Lewis
I would add another star or two if the writing had more readable. There were so many names, that often I wasn't sure who I was reading about. I realize this is due to my own lack of ability, but I have read a lot of history books and found this one the most difficult. The book is about the very important issue of southern segregation and its history in Birmingham, Alabama. Now and then the author writes a bit about what she was doing at the time that events occur, particularly in 1963.
Donna Kusuda
Sep 14, 2014 Donna Kusuda rated it really liked it
Sobering and well-researched. Even though I was a teenager when the events in Birmingham and Selma occurred, I learned a lot from this book and realize I didn't fully understand the complexities of this part of the civil rights movement. This book is a must read for anyone wanting more information about this sad time in our history. That said, We see similar events even in 2014 in our country STILL including my hometown Ferguson, Mo. We have a lot of work to do.
Jul 18, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
One of the best books my father ever recommended to me and that is a high bar to reach. It is an incredibly comprehensive look at the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham and shed new light on that period of history for me. It introduced me to forgotten heroes of the movement and reminded me of the power of children. I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in that dark period of our nation's past.
Nov 12, 2013 Gina rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I'd love to give this heartfelt and meticulously researched labor of love 5 stars, but I found a description I know to be contradictory to the person involved's memory, and it just knocked it down for me. There is a ton of useful background and history of the Birmingham movement here, though, and McWhorter does elevate Shuttlesworth over King, as should be the case, for his residence in & committment to Birmingham.
Dan Petegorsky
Sep 21, 2008 Dan Petegorsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With so much new history of the civil rights movement, it's hard to pick out favorites - but this one's right up there at the top of my list. One of its many strengths is how, alongside her accounts of the various strands of the movement itself, McWhorter presents a very sharp analysis of the ways in which different segments of the white community responded to the Movement.
Dec 28, 2009 Ginger rated it liked it
A detailed and fascinating look at the politics that resulted in the Birmingham Bus Boycott, wrtitten by the daughter of a privileged white family. Martin Luther King's contribution is questioned; local leaders who preceded him to the struggle are emphasized. Sometimes a little unsettling, an unconscious patronizing seems possible.
Apr 28, 2010 Martine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
When this book came out, it was known in Birmingham Alabama as "The Book". Diane McWhorter lists names of local residents many of whom were business leaders who favored the status quo of segregation in Alabama during the 60s. An excellent read for anyone wanting to read a realistic history of Birmingham and those who opposed change.
Apr 07, 2007 Erin marked it as to-read
This was given to me as a gift from one of my best friends (because she knows I love anything having to do with the civil rights movement) but I've only managed to read the first 10 pages or so. I look forward to being able to read it soon when I have more time on my hands.
May 24, 2015 Cwelshhans rated it really liked it
Really incredible. A history of Birmingham itself during the mid-20th century.
Jul 11, 2016 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
***3.5 stars***

If you're interested--and I mean *really* interested--in Birmingham and the Civil Rights movement, this book is for you. Otherwise, it's a bit of a slog.
Feb 11, 2011 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I'm reading this after seeing the play "The Good Negro" in Chicago at the Goodman Theater. The playwrite used the book to create the story line. The book fills in the pieces.
Jennie Helderman
Nov 18, 2012 Jennie Helderman rated it really liked it
Re-reading. Thoroughly researched. A connect-the-dots book for me when it first came out. Good review now. Can't imagine that this Pulizter Prize work is already out of print.
Aug 20, 2015 Philip rated it did not like it
Rambly, incoherent start meant I stopped less than 5% of the way through. I do not know enough of the background history for this to be accessible to me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 87 88 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter 1 5 Feb 15, 2016 05:06PM  
  • Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris
  • The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
  • Wandering Through Winter: A Naturalist's Record of a 20,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Winter
  • Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White
  • The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism
  • And Their Children After Them: The Legacy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: James Agee, Walker Evans, and the Rise and Fall of Cotton in the South
  • Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery
  • Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land
  • The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
  • Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence
  • So Human an Animal: How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events
  • Children of Crisis: Selections from the Pulitzer Prize-winning five-volume Children of Crisis series
  • Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya
  • Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families
  • Rousseau and Revolution (The Story of Civilization, #10)
  • Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam
  • A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration

Share This Book