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In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,519 ratings  ·  448 reviews
The New Orleans mayor who removed the Confederate statues confronts the racism that shapes us and argues for white America to reckon with its past. A passionate, personal, urgent book from the man who sparked a national debate.

"There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it." When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in May 2017 abo
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Viking
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Elizabeth Barrie The other two answers are spot on here. I would only add that the N word appears as "the N word." It seemed like it was included to be accurate to wha…moreThe other two answers are spot on here. I would only add that the N word appears as "the N word." It seemed like it was included to be accurate to what happened while trying to avoid being offensive. (less)

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Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
People are somehow reading this history book and getting distracted by the fact that the author is a politician. But let's not be so cynical that we overlook the issue of race solely because someone in the public square is raising it. A white politician is an ideal messenger for an historical account of race relations in the Deep South and the rest of the U.S.

This is a book review of the content of Mayor Landrieu's message and the manner of his delivery. I love the fact that Landrieu chose to d
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trumpus-amunus
From the courageous former mayor of New Orleans who suffered scathing attacks and physical threats for removing the Confederate statues in the city, an admirable and frank memoir that is quite uneven in the telling. I wish he'd hired a professional to help him write it. Plus, it lacked that deeper reflection I have read in similar quasi-memoirs.. ...more
Stuart Rodriguez
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
There’s a lot to like about this book. Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, gives, I think, an honest and down-to-earth account of his life, from his youth growing up in New Orleans, to his early tangles in state legislature with neo-Nazi David Duke, to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and finally, to the removal of the four Confederate monuments from New Orleans in 2017.

I appreciated that Landrieu’s recollections felt clear-eyed, and he doesn’t mince words—he is vocal in his admonition of
Jill Meyer
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm trying to read up on possible Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential race. Mitch Landrieu, currently mayor of New Orleans and formerly Lt Governor of Louisiana, has been mentioned as a dark horse, lurking on the edges of the political landscape. Landrieu's new book, "In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History", is a good look at three major issues that he has handled in his time in the two major offices he has held in Louisiana.

Landrieu writes about his family -
Sean Chick
Apr 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
A brief book commissioned by a mayor (there is no way he wrote this) who was vaulted to moderate political stardom for defeating inanimate objects. The truth is under Landrieu New Orleans has rapidly gentrified, with its black population declining and forced to the West Bank. The culture is actively diluted as residents are forced out by AirBNB. I live across from the Faubourg Treme, birthplace of Jazz and America's oldest integrated neighborhood. Beauregard of statue fame once lived there. It i ...more
If you are following or taking part in the debate over the Confederate Statues, this book is a must read. Landrieu not only provides some autobiographic details, but he also removed the statues in New Orleans. His story about how he reached that decision and how he learned the history of the statues as well how they are seen by people of color.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was too much like a political campaign ad for my taste.
Jeri Rowe
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: pleasure-read
I grew up in the cradle of the Civil War, a city where Fort Sumter is part of who we are -- and always will be.

I'm from Charleston., S.C. Do love that city with all its flaws. When I was young, my family attended a church downtown that had a gym right across from the slave market. I always walked through that place because it was a like a maze for me. It stretched for a few blocks, had a concrete floor, a low roof and oppressively hot in the summer even with it open to the street on both sides.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Part memoir, part, political history, and part expose on race relations in Louisiana. I loved hearing Mitch Landrieu's side of the story about the controversial decision to take down the confederate monuments in New Orleans. Having lived in Louisiana (as an out of stater, better able to objectively view the social and political landscapes that shape the state), I understand how important those statues were to the identity of the city and empathize with the struggle he went through as Mayor. Indu ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One can’t help but wonder if this book will be a launching pad to the presidency as Obama’s “Dreams of My Father” was. It’s sincere and passionate. Mitch comes off as the next Bill Clinton but without the sleaze. He tells his life story as well as the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. If you read the acknowledgments at the end of the book you might question how much of the book he actually wrote with thanks to speech writers and journalists. However, if you have seen him on television speaking about ...more
Susan Iannaccone

Extremely well written, scholarly and with heart. Love this book about a city I love. Couldn’t have come at a better time.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I have often heard it said by elders that you can’t know how a man feels until you walk in his shoes. It has taken me the better part of forty years to find those shoes. This is what I have come to call transformative awareness. We are all capable of it; but we come kicking and screaming to a sudden shift in thinking about the past. To get there we have to acknowledge that we were inattentive, insensitive, myopic, or God forbid, hateful in our earlier view. This is one of the hardest things for ...more
Scott Martin
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is memoir from the mayor of New Orleans and his role in taking down a series of statues honoring Confederate figures in the city and igniting a controversy that sparked intensive debate across the nation. The work starts as an autobiography of a Louisiana politician, whose experience with race started early on, as his father was mayor of New Orleans at the height of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. As he moves through life, Landrieu discusses how he always seems to come back to ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mitch Landrieu, potentially a rising Democratic star, has taken his first real step toward a national run. This book, while commenting on his battle with New Orleans’ Confederate statues really shines as a look at his form of governing. Mr. Landrieu provides a hopeful message for all Americans and a positive way to look at how local and federal government can assist the most vulnerable around our great nation.

While choppy and disconnected at times I couldn’t put it down and would recommend this
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The evolution of Mr. Landrieu’s thoughts on the statues and their cumulative effect on society is really a journey of discovery. It is one that all Americans would profit from, I believe. Being a white Southerner of a certain age myself, I’d not given much thought to the presence of the Civil War statues, or their reason(s) for being. I merely thought of them as having been there all my life, and took their presence for granted. I didn’t realize the true reasoning behind their installation.

Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's important to understand WHY we think and feel the way we do. Current events led me to reexamine my own beliefs and to then do a 180 turn regarding the Confederacy and the Civil War. My great great grandfather fought for the South, and I was raised to be proud of him and to honor Lee, Stonewall, Beauregard, etc. I now know that he and they were on the wrong side of history and they were wrong. Landrieu helped me come to terms with several issues that Americans are facing in our quest for a b ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Things I learned and understand better because of this book:

1. Schools in southern states teach that the "war between the states" was fought for state's rights and had nothing to do with slavery.
I have friends from the south who whole-heartedly believe this and will not listen to any discussion about the Civil War being about slavery. I've always been so confused about that; now I know why.

2. The cult of the Lost Cause. This is an organization started by wealthy white southerners around the tur
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of how Mitch Landrieu the mayor of New Orleans came to realization and conviction that four Civil War monuments commemorating the Confederacy should be taken down. The evolution to this end came from family experiences ,the perspectives of African American friends, a Jesuit education and finally a reexamination of History. What became for him the right move caused a firestorm as racism reared it's ugly head. An enlightening look at how race is the dark shadow cast over American life. 4 ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for anyone who still believes, in the 21st century, that the Civil War was fought over "states' rights" or that removing Confederate monuments means "forgetting history." ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mitch Landrieu was mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. His memoir, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, was published in 2018. I recently learned of the book when a radio talk show host mentioned it on air. Landrieu's claim to fame is that he removed the Confederate statues in New Orleans a couple of years before destroying statues became international news in 2020.
Mitch's father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans from 1970 to 1978 and Mitch grew up in a home
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I couldn't read this book fast enough. As a southerner, I related on so many levels to this book. I think folks need to come to terms that the South was WRONG. We must acknowledge it, before we can move forward in healing the divisions in our country. I even tweeted Mitch Landrieu and gave him my support/vote for a presidential run in 2020. I think he would do an awesome job. If he governed the U.S. as he did New Orleans, we would all be better off. ...more
Shevon Quijano
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

In The Shadow of Statues was part memoir and part history of New Orleans. It opened my eyes to the shadow that slavery still has over the people of Louisiana and other areas of the south. Having grown up in a time and physical location that did not suffer so much from our country’s history of slavery, it’s hard to imagine that places still exist where overt and direct racism are a normal part of the culture. Prior to reading this my uninformed opinion on removing the confederate statue
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
In the ongoing news cycle about removing statues that commemorate Confederate Civil War figures, we get a memoir from Mitch Landrieu, the now former mayor of New Orleans to how he got to this point and his role in getting them removed. We begin and end the book with book ends about the process of the statue removal and in between we get his biography and political career.

I was disappointed. Don't quite remember how this caught my eye but like others I watched his speech about the statues and tho
Landrieu, resident of New Orleans, Catholic, Democrat, and politician, weaves the story of his life and his city. Touching on the War on Poverty, David Duke, Hurricane Katrina, and the removal of Lost Cause statues, Landrieu reflects on what New Orleans is, was and could be.

Why I started this book: I was eager to read about the statues being taken down... and while Landrieu teases it in the beginning, he saves it for his grand finale.

Why I finished it: This was more of a biography than I was ex
Dennis Cooper
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I discovered this on Obama’s 2018 summer reading list, and decided to read it because I was feeling nostalgic about when we had a President who read books. This book was largely autobiographical, but also included many interesting historical, social and political insights. It was a quick read, and gave me a shot of hope in these troubled times.
Tina Panik
This isn’t solely about Confederate statues—it’s about race, class, and the intersection of the history we think we know with its actual veracity. Landrieu contextualizes Hurricane Katrina, David Duke, and the Lost Cause to create a better understanding of modern America.
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political
Well worth reading to learn more about politics in Louisiana and New Orleans. Split into five essays, only number one and five actually deal with the statues to any length. I learned a lot about the state.
Jason Park
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-in-2018, arcs
An honorable memoir in many ways that still fails in its execution. My full review: ...more
John Hammontree
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The South could use more leaders like Mitch Landrieu.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a fascinating look at race and the history of the American South, from slavery to Civil War to Civil Rights. As the title indicates, the book is about how three confederate monuments were taken down in New Orleans. But as it turns out, much of the book is not about that particular action, but the events and ideas that led up to it.

Landrieu starts this book with his childhood, and recounts his steps towards racial awareness. Landrieu goes from his own upbringing and career choices to
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