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Bombingham

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
From the war-torn rice fields of Vietnam to the riot-filled streets of Birmingham, Alabama, "Bombingham is the affecting story of a middle-class black family riven by its personal chaos. When Walter Burke is faced with writing a letter to the parents of a fallen friend and fellow soldier, he is taken back to his childhood amidst the Civil Rights Movement. From it, he recal ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2001 by Free Press (first published 2001)
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Kari
Nov 21, 2008 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a thought provoking story and a hard to put down book. I feel like I was mislead by a quote in praise of the book that was on the front cover. It stated that, "Groom reimagines....the infamous 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church." That event was only a small part of the story. It was about the atmosphere between white and black as well as the role that children played in the Civil Rights movement, Walter's homelife, the illness of his mother and the relationships he has ...more
Patrick
Feb 03, 2012 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is a well written piece of historical fiction. The text delivers the reader into the one of the most volatile places in the Civil Rights Movement. The author brings glimpses of MLK, Jr. and Reverend Shuttlesworth. The story follows Walter Burke as he is reflecting upon growing up in Birmingham, Alabama. Walter is in Vietnam reflecting upon his life, this angle is the thread that weaves the story together. Much of the story left me wanting. Only towards the end of the novel does author ...more
John David
This book was about a boy named Walter Burke that reminisces his Civil Rights experience in Birmingham, Alabama after one of his friends was killed right next to him in Vietnam. The book starts out when Walter is in Vietnam and his friend Haywood Jackson is killed in a firefight with the VC. With the challenge of writing a letter to Haywood's parents, Walter starts remembering his childhood in Birmingham. The book then switches prespectives to Walter as a kid. One afternoon, Walter's father tell ...more
Emily K.
I read this for ENGL379C (Literature & Film of the Civil Rights Movement), and currently we have been learning about the Birmingham Children's Movement. This book tells the story of Walter, a middle school student who suddenly finds himself at a crossroads of his father's beliefs and his mother's beliefs, which influence his decision to join the Children's Movement and fight against segregation.

Although this book is set during the 60s of the CRM, Grooms delves into topics such as religion v
...more
Gina
Jan 23, 2010 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really puts in your face the reality of living in the Jim Crow south in the sixties through the eyes of a child. I think it's easy as a white person living in the 2000s to sometimes think lunch counters, water fountains, blah blah. To just kind of gloss over it. But there was no glossing over it for the people who lived it and had to somehow explain to themselves and their children the hundred ways they were belittled and dehumanized every day. It's harrowing to think this happened in ...more
Isaac Marshall
People who might be interesred in this book is anyone who likes history, or likes the Vietnam War time period. Or who have never heard of the Bombing that happened in Alabama in a church that killed 4 children.

I give this book a 3 stars because it was a great story but it was confusing at times when he would be talking about the bombing or the war because both were very hard and horrific times to him. Also because you would have to go into the book knowing what the actual Bombingham thing is abo
...more
Cporra
Apr 07, 2010 Cporra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bombingham is a book written by Anthony Grooms about the continual bombings in Birmingham during racial segregation, ultimately causing the city to be referred to as "Bombingham." The book follows the life of an individual named Walter Burke, who fought in Vietnam and had countless memories about it. The book itself wasn't well written, the language conveyed in the book had a lot of cursing making it unsuitable for kids. Also there were constant fade-ins from Vietnam to Birmingham, making it har ...more
Alex Dennis
Bombingham was a good book about a young boy named Walter. when he was growing up, and during his time in the military. Most of the book takes place during a spring and summer of one of his middle school years. It is during the beginning of the civil rights movement. The story revolves around the movement and the relationship between Walter and his father and cancer stricken mother. It is a good book and it was easy to follow in the beginning, but towards the end of the story the meaning becomes ...more
Paulo
Apr 08, 2010 Paulo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is based off the continual bombings in Birmingham Alabama, during the Civil Rights Movement. Giving the name Bombingham to the city. It focuses on the life of a Vietnamese soldier named Walter Burke, who was a child in Birmingham when the racial protests were going on. As one of his close friends dies in battle, Walter feels the necessity to write a letter back home to his family describing to them how heroic and an a admirable person he was. Upon doing so all he can recollect was his ...more
Jordan Parrish
After reading this book I thought that it was a really amazing book. I'd never read a civil rights book so this was an experience. The way Anthony Grooms wrote this book made me understand racism at a different level, more in a first person view through the eyes of someone who is supposed to be innocent. It was really realistic and it didn't hold back, which gave me the full experience of someone during that time period. I would recommend this to anybody who is in need of a civil rights book.
Logan
Apr 19, 2011 Logan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religous
this book is a tale of sad strange events in birmingham alabama. this one boy in vietnam had a comrade die and is writing a letter to that comrade's parents, but all he can think about is his sad struggles in his childhood. the book continues to go on about walter and his role in the civil rights movement. he's been through everything and when you think he's had enough his mom gets sick.
Heather
Feb 04, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is structured beautifully. Though I wasn't entirely interested in the subject matter, I cannot help but appreciate the quality of writing and framing. The retrogression from a Vietnam setting to the civil rights movement of the south is thought-provoking and flawless. Even if you aren't interested in the time period, it is still a great read.
Demetric
This was a very well written and in a since inspirational book, It reminded me of what my mom and grandma had to deal with growing up in the south. Towards the end of the book the message became very sorrowful, a drunk father and a mom on her death bed.

To me this was more of a one time read though.
Adam Scarmuzzi
Apr 22, 2013 Adam Scarmuzzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book extremely eye-opening. It really went into extreme detail about the horrors that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement. Some people might think the way the book was set up is difficult to understand, but not for me. I loved it and would highly recommend it to anybody who wants to learn a little bit more about how America became what it is today.
Robin
I'm impressed by all this book is trying to do -- a soldier in Vietnam reflecting back on his childhood in segregated Birmingham. A lot of profanity, so much so that I can only see it in high school. (Of course there is a lot of profanity -- how could there not be and have it be an authentic human reaction to the circumstances?) Very promising.
Lynn Kanter
Jun 03, 2014 Lynn Kanter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A young African American man serving in the military in Vietnam reflects on his childhood in Birmingham, Alabama during the violent height of the civil rights movement. Beautifully written, this novel takes you inside the day-to-day reality of living through a revolution. I don’t know how I missed this book, which was published in 2001. Go read it right now.
Kylie
This book is about Walter Burke. He is the main character and through out the book, the author/ main character bounces back and forth between what he is currently going through (which is writing a letter to his best friend's, who is now dead, parents) and his childhood memories growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during the break of the Civil Rights movement.
Becky
Nov 22, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
This book has been on my "list" since it came out ten years ago, and I can't believe I didn't get around to it until now. It has a moving story and great characters. It's based on actual events in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1960s, and I love books based on actual events. It was a scary time in the south, and Grooms' young narrator is trying to make sense of it all. I highly recommend this book.
Linda Stewart
Jun 11, 2009 Linda Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So glad I finally read Tony Grooms book. Walter's family is one I will remember for a long time. This novel reminded me that fiction is often the most powerful way into the truth of a historical period. I learned much race, assumptions, and activism in reading Walter Burke's coming of age story set in Birmingham, AL.
John Bartman
Apr 14, 2012 John Bartman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


This book was very good. It described what life was like during the civil rights era. Not only was it descriptive, it was highly entertaining. Bombingham included all aspects I a great novel.
Ann
Aug 03, 2009 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story beginning in the muddy, bloody fields of Vietnam with flashbacks to the civil rights struggle in Birmingham. Hard to read about, harder still to live through. I was inspired to read it after visiting the Civil Rights Institute here in B'ham.
Blaise
Oct 25, 2007 Blaise rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction
This was a really good book...It's set in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights movement and the protagonist is a young boy about 12 years old. I don't want to give away the story but I would highly recommend it--it was one of those that was hard for me to put down.
Lovisa
Jan 03, 2012 Lovisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
At first I didn't like this book because it had a lot of very disgusting descriptions of scenes from a war. Later, the book was about the narrator when he was 11 years old and it was very interesting. I had to read this for school but I'm glad I did it. I really think more people should read it!
Karen Chandler
Oct 20, 2009 Karen Chandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was impressed by the book's handling of the protagonist Walter's family and the backdrop of the civil rights struggle.
Joe Starnes
Nov 15, 2011 Joe Starnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a truly marvelous novel -- both quiet and beautiful -- set amidst the violence of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. More people should know about this book.
Amy
Apr 24, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my common book for my freshman year of college. And I really enjoyed the writing style of this particular author. He can really take you to Birmingham.
Martella Nelson
Aug 15, 2013 Martella Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One would think that the author is a native of B'ham, but he is not. Birminghamians would love reading about familiar places...time warp (1960's civil rights movement)
ABC Group
A pretty gut wrenching story of young boy and his family during the civil rights movement. A stellar debut novel.
Cindy Holmberg
Mar 10, 2014 Cindy Holmberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book. A family and a community in crisis. The characters or so full and vivid. A must read.
Michelle Feldman
Michelle Feldman rated it liked it
Apr 10, 2013
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