Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement” as Want to Read:
Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,657 Ratings  ·  201 Reviews
An eloquent, epic firsthand account of the civil rights movement by a man who lived it-an American hero whose courage, vision, and dedication helped change history. The son of an Alabama sharecropper, and now a sixth-term United States Congressman, John Lewis has led an extraordinary life, one that found him at the epicenter of the civil rights movement in the late '50s an ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 18th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published 1998)
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 Walking with the Wind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Walking with the Wind

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

There are precious few figures in American politics with anything like the moral authority of John Lewis. Out of the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, he is one of the survivors of the marches, of the police beatings, of the long fight for personal freedom and equality under the law.

The subtitle, 'A Memoir of the Movement', is apt. Lewis spends only a little time recounting his childhood (sharecropper parents, rural Alabama, dreams of being a priest), and barely a chapter on his po
Some people think John Lewis is "all talk" and has "never done anything" but those people are idiots and should be treated as such.

John Lewis is a Congressman, Civil-Rights Icon, Husband, Father, and Servant For Justice.
John Lewis did more before the age of 25 than most people will do if they live to be 125. As a college student Congressman Lewis led efforts to desegregate Nashville through sit-ins. His guidelines became the rules by which all other nonviolent activists in the civil rights move
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dad-recommended
Want to know more about the Civil Rights movement? Want to hear about
it from a perspective other than Martin Luther King Jr.s? This is the
book! Reading this book I realized how little I really know about the
Civil Rights movement. I don't remember huge discussions about this
life changing and country changing movement in school. That should change!

John Lewis is a contemporary of MLK. He is the son of sharecroppers
and part of a very large family all of whom worked in the fields
starting at 5 or 6 ye
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best movement memoir (from any movement) that I have ever read. John Lewis is just the kind of solid person that every movement needs more of: principled but not dogmatic; combining patience for the people with impatience for injustice; focused on getting results more than getting credit; stodgy rather than flashy; deeply aware that it is the masses who actually make history; always prioritizing organizing over getting mass media publicity. He is not without pride, and he is ...more
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was amazing and a great history lesson. I'm a congressional staffer and I've always had to contain my excitement whenever I passed Rep. John Lewis in the hallway. I knew that he marched with MLK during the civil rights movement and that was enough to earn my eternal respect and admiration. I finally got around to reading his book and was even more amazed. He began working in the civil rights movement when he was a sophomore in college. He was literally at every major event in the civil ...more
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for everybody, especially students and those with power. The Beloved Community should be the goal of all people. John Lewis is an amazing man and it is a wonder that he is not better known in today's world. He is a hero and should be treated as such.
Dewin Anguas Barnette
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are not enough words in the English language for me to describe how wonderful this book is. It is not only, by far, the best book on the Civil Rights Movement I have read as of yet, it is the best book I have read. The best thing about it is that it is completely honest. It is straightforward and does not cast a dreamy glow over everyone involved as the majority of other books do. I learned about the differences in opinion among the different organizations, and how they were all necessary ...more
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a great history of the civil rights movement from an atypical perspective, but a really important one. John Lewis was there for a lot of the important moments, but wasn't swept up and held on to as one of the shining stars of the civil rights movement - a central grunt worker who maybe didn't get to take enough bows for it all.

I liked that the narrative connected pieces of the civil rights movement I had only ever understood in their separate parts, for example how the Black Panther Part
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was on my summer reading list going into my freshman year. It was the "mandatory" book. When I actually got to school, I found I was one of only a handful of kids who actually read the book cover to cover, and the English teacher didn't actually mind: "I think when they were picking out the books for the summer reading, they didn't realize how long-winded this one is." Aside from being a little annoyed that I wouldn't actually get any credit for reading the book, I felt it was a shame ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I've never read anything like this before, a history of the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of someone who was on the front lines (but who we don't hear much about). I was literally holding my breath in suspense/shock at several moments in the book, in particular when the first group attempts to march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, Alabama. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to gain a better understanding of a very important segment of our nation's history. So ...more
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
On a meandering around Alabama along with small sections of Alabama and Mississippi, I discovered that a story that peppered my youth was much deeper and sadder than what I remembered hearing/reading about. First hand accounts enrich any chapter in our nation's history and this one is no exception. Because those voices in the spotlight are the typical standard of how we learn our history, the windows we become familiar with, the perspective we eventually internalize, we miss out on an understand ...more
Cathy Allen
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-leaders
A colleague of Congressman John Lewis once called him "the only man who was already a great man before he arrived in Congress." And that is certainly true. I do not believe there is a greater living American. John Lewis's story is of fundamental importance to all of us who love our country and all the people in it. His memoir is compellingly told and beautifully written. A must read! I have never met Congressman Lewis personally, but a cherished friend gave me an autographed copy of this book in ...more
William Shank
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If ever there was a true hero, John Lewis is surely one of them. Humility, commitment, courage and perseverance. This book gives one of the best accounts of the Civil Right movement available...and from the first hand experience of one who was on the front lines. Outstanding!
Christine Luong
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
John Lewis is a national treasure. For anyone to question what he's done for this country is just astounding. His account of the civil rights movement and his role in it was inspirational, heartbreaking, and horrifying. To still believe in the principles of nonviolence and the Beloved Community after all of the injustice and violence he endured is a testament to his strength of character. For the people who question the Black Lives Matter movement and why it's not called All Lives Matter, this b ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Lewis is a national treasure, and the last living member of the "Big 6" civil rights leaders behind the 1963 March on Washington. In this day and age, as we face a regime that aims to undo the progress made towards justice in multiple areas, it is more important than ever to hear his voice. His writing made me feel as if I was there with him and all the brave souls that were part of the movement. His warnings and observations about Newt Gingrich could easily be written about the current cro ...more
Charles Gonzalez
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What can I say, but that this was an amazing experience, from the moment I opened it to the last words that I just finished 5 minutes ago. Like alot of boomers who lived through the civil rights period, I had a glancing understanding and knowledge of that central struggle in American history. However, like most Americans, white and black I believe, I did not have a real, emotional connection to the spirit that guided those American heroes, of which John Lewis is one of the major actors. I first ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I assigned this book in one of my college classes a couple years ago. Lewis presents an amazing account of his childhood in Alabama, his work with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lewis is an ordained Baptist Minister and believes deeply in non-violent protest as a means of social change.

My favorite part of this book is Lewis's accounting of his first meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lewis, who was quite a bit y
Sep 16, 2015 added it
Categories: Book over 500 pages (Book Riot 2016 List)
Political Memoir (Popsugar 2016 List)
Book You've Been Meaning to Read (Teacher 2016 List)

Wow! Being born in the 1980's, this is a period in history that I neither lived through nor learned about in History class. There are so many reason to read this book-- the detailed accounts of not only this atrocities and events of the Civil Rights movement, but also the politics and background players that lead to them. On one hand, it is horrifying to r
Elizabeth Huff
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This week has been incredibly humbling, and finishing this book was certainly part of that. John Lewis's words really hit me. He has lived a tremendous life, an exemplary one at that, actually doing what he says and staying true to himself in the face of mounting pressure to behave otherwise. In spite of all the killings recently, I'm left wondering how we proceed. The things that need to be fixed now are much harder than the things that the civil rights movement accomplished, and yet it can be ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10-star-perfect
One of the most moving books I've ever read in my life. Tragic and inspirational. I can't believe some of the things that happened so recently in our country's history. When you're young and have very little concept of time, something that happened 60 years ago might as well have happened 6,000 years ago. But to understand that less than 50 years ago, people of differing skin colors were not allowed to use the same bathroom or eat at the same table as others in many parts of this country, well, ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am now reading this book from our library, but I have to have it. I want to yell from the roof tops for everyone to read it. John Lewis carefully details the decisions, the people the choices made and his part in the initial years of the Civil Rights Movement and his amazing part in SNCC. He describes his journey through the years and how he came to the decision to run for Congress from the 5th district in Georgia. I am happy to say he honorably still holds that position today.

I want to be sur
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Conventional Wisdom says that John Lewis is a Secular Saint...and for once,Conventional Wisdom is right...Lewis has chosen to work out his salvation in the realm of politics where saints are thin on the ground and I would not defend every political decision he has made but this book gives much evidence that he is an exemplary human being;brave,intelligent,idealistic and the kind of man we see all too infrequently in Public Life...
Keith Weir
All I can say is WOW! An amazing man, a powerful story, and an incredible challenge for us today. We can, and must, fight for what is right. We must stand up to injustice. This was very well written, and was incredibly informative.
Winter Sophia Rose
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Patriotic, Brilliant & Inspiring! An Excellent Read!
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A true American hero.
Nicholas Nagykery
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up from a counter in my mother-in-law's apartment and fell in love with it in the first few pages. I was moved to tears on more than once by Congessman John Lewis' personal account of the civil rights movement. In the end, I took my highlighter to mark passages that I wanted to remember and help guide me in my own action and help build what he calls the "Beloved Community." The only other book I have done that with was the Bible.

This book is a riveting description of the horro
Maribel Wadsworth
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was tough to get through at times, so vivid is the picture Lewis paints of the horrors that took place during the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 60s. One can't help but wince, feel pain even, at the atrocities committed - and often condoned - by our fellow Americans. The courage of men and women such as Lewis and Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and countless others is matched by their stubborn optimism and hope that the ideals of our democracy - of freedom and equality - would ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
As John Lewis and his co-author Michael D'Orso tell the story of non-violent resistance, I can feel the force of compassion and determination. From his early days on an Alabama farm to his 30-year (and still ongoing) term in Congress, Lewis stays the course of love, agitation, faith, and dedication to the ideal of a beloved community. The story never falters, and the conflicts (with ordinary citizens, local police and government officials, George Wallace, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jimmy Cart ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent read for a very important part of history. Rep. John Lewis has been in the news more and more recently, especially with the election and the new president. With the end of Black History month it seemed like a good time to read his book. 
Most of the book chronicles his work in the Civil Rights Movement. We get introduced to his early life and growing up and we gradually see him move into working with the CRM. These early parts were really interesting to me. It really hit home that i
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
Congressman John Lewis’s autobiography of his childhood, time in the Civil Rights Movement, and life thereafter is a powerful story. Lewis’s autobiography is one of the best I’ve ever had the chance to read. This is true for a number of reasons. It certainly helps that Lewis’s life is fascinating, but it also helps that Lewis is a wonderful storyteller. Readers can feel the anguish in the difficult parts of Lewis’s life, and can feel the joy in the victories whether they be small or large.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Children
  • Whittaker Chambers: A Biography
  • Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Pivotal Moments in American History)
  • Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity
  • Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality
  • Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)
  • Man of the House: The Life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O'Neill .
  • Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970
  • In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s
  • American Journeys
  • Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
  • Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65
  • Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America
  • Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin
  • Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
  • Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
  • Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, JR., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power
John Robert Lewis is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987 and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is one of the m ...more
More about John Lewis...

Share This Book

“I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that we have an obligation to condemn speech that is racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, or hateful.” 17 likes
“Rioting is not a movement. It is not an act of civil disobedience. I think it is a mistake for people to consider disorganized action, mayhem, and attacks on other people and property as an extension of any kind of movement. It is not. It is simply an explosion of emotion. That's all. There is nothing constructive about it. It is destructive.” 8 likes
More quotes…