Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History” as Want to Read:
In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,832 ratings  ·  347 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
...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Viking
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 In the Shadow of Statues, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Luke Johnson The N word appears a few times but I agree this book would be a very good church read as it deals with issues of social justice and racism. It's very…moreThe N word appears a few times but I agree this book would be a very good church read as it deals with issues of social justice and racism. It's very thought provoking as to just what we see and how others may see the same thing. Would probably create some good discussion. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,832 ratings  ·  347 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Shavon
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
...more
Perry
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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..
Stuart
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
...more
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 -
...more
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
Christine
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.
Marjorie
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.
Chris
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
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.
...more
Susan Iannaccone
Perfect

Extremely well written, scholarly and with heart. Love this book about a city I love. Couldn’t have come at a better time.
Denise
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
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
Duncan
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
...more
Jimmy
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.
Cateline
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.

When
...more
Linda
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
Jane
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
...more
Tom
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
Russell
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.
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
...more
Bookworm
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
...more
Maria
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
...more
Dennis Cooper
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
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: https://medium.com/@jpark_21/in-the-s...
John Hammontree
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The South could use more leaders like Mitch Landrieu.
Deb
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
...more
Alison Hardtmann
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
Mitch Landrieu was mayor of New Orleans when the statues came down. His book, In the Shadow of Statues, is about why he decided that he needed to use all of the political capital he'd built up over decades of public service to bring them down and the challenges he faced in doing so. But first the book is about growing up in NOLA, and how he entered politics, what it was like living through Katrina (he was Lieutenant Governor at the time) and what that experience taught him, as well as a bunch of ...more
Danielle Cumberland
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an important book. My enjoyment of this book was not evenly distributed throughout. There was a large section in the middle where my assessment of the book dropped closer to a 3-star. This section was about Hurricane Katrina and I felt there was a substantial amount of political posturing in that chapter. But the last chapter, The Shadow of Robert E. Lee, is the best part of the whole book and was what I expected to read about when I selected the book.

I applaud Mitch Landrieu for follow
...more
Kelly Lynn Thomas
I think this book is an important entry to the national conversation about race, chiefly because it is written by a white man fighting for racial equity. He freely admits that he is not perfect and doesn't know anything, and presents us with many of his "learning moments" on the topic of race.

More importantly, though, it's essential for white people in general to speak out against racism. We have to make it clear that racist ideology and action are not going to be tolerated. People of color hav
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die
  • Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging
  • Why Liberalism Failed
  • Arthur Ashe: A Life
  • Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope
  • The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics
  • As Texas Goes...: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda
  • The New Geography of Jobs
  • The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era
  • What′s the Matter with White People? Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur
  • Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations
  • First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women
  • Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of The Marx Brothers
  • 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today
  • Food: A Cultural Culinary History
  • The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women
  • Masquerade: The Incredible True Story of How George Soros' Father Outsmarted the Gestapo
See similar books…
“Our battlefield is on the street and in the heart. The mass shootings in churches, schools, movie theaters, and malls are the opposite face of the same coin: too many guns, too little preventive intervention. This is a mental health issue, a security issue, and the greatest moral issue in America today. Where are the voices of our religious leaders, calling down the failure of legislators and government to face this blight? If this is not a pro-life issue, what on God’s earth is it?” 3 likes
“The statues were symbols. Symbols matter. We use them in telling the stories of our past and who we are, and we chose them carefully. Once I learned the real history of these statues, I knew there was only path forward, and that meant making straight what was crooked, making right what was wrong. It starts with telling the truth about the past.” 3 likes
More quotes…