Keith's Reviews > The Last Thing You Surrender
The Last Thing You Surrender
May 23, 2019
To most American's that are white, that is, not American's of color, Jim Crow is just a term. Often seen as a historical term that represents a distasteful period in American history that was unfair, illegal and unconstitutional, even as others see it as still existing in a more subtle form. Few would argue that American culture hasn't been impacted by that period and that we still live with its heritage but to most people of color, the Jim Crow period was more than just a term, it was a way of life and not just a period of unfairness but decades of danger and humiliation. In this novel, Leonard Pitts brings it all front and center during a time in our history when it should have been buried and gone. World War II brought America face to face with an enemy that was equally shared by all and yet Jim Crow was not only prominent but dominant. During the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, white seaman George Simon faces imminent death but his life is saved by another sailor who is a negro and who loses his own life, yet George can't seem to process his place in that heroic act. His background as a young white man of privilege brought up in Alabama, realizing that he owes his life to a black man of lesser stature sends him down a path of guilt and conflict. As the story continues we're introduced to Thelma Gordy, the widow of the man who saved George and the true heroine of the novel as well as many others living their lives during this time of distress, mayhem, and change. Pitts characters are real people that we respond to emotionally as well as intellectually and their lives hold the reader enthralled from beginning to end.
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May 23, 2019 – Shelved