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

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  28 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)
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George Bradford
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
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.
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
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
Frederick Bingham
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
"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
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
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
Donna Kusuda
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Outstanding - sorry to have finished it. Read it while in Birminghan for the NFL Nationals in speech and debate and used it as a travel guide.
Sep 09, 2013 Kelli marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Jan 17, 2012 Bita added it
This book is really detailed. If you are writing a thesis regarding this subject, you should read this. It is more like a textbook.
It's tough to maintain the momentum as you are reading, but if you're Birmingham it's a "must have read"
A different perspective on the Birmingham bombings and Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement.
Terrance Kutney
A remarkable piece of non-fiction that I couldn't stop reading.
Vry localized and detailed, but fascinating in that detail.
Thorough book great for research!
Apr 16, 2008 Pamela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I used this book heavily when I added the majority of information to the Wikipedia article "Birmingham campaign". I used many sources for that article, but McWhorter's book is more personally written, using a lot of compelling emotion, that I found somewhat difficult to remove in my writing. This is not a complaint. By writing so well, including prose that was alive and moving, I found it inspirational, and it carried over to the content I added to the article. However, Featured Articles on Wiki ...more
Jul 21, 2010 Mariya marked it as to-read
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