Monica's Reviews > The Last Thing You Surrender

The Last Thing You Surrender by Leonard Pitts Jr.
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical

The story follows three main characters through the years of WWII. George Simon is a marine, son of a successful and prosperous Mobile lawyer. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, his life is saved by a low ranked black crewman who dies in the process. When he recovers from his injuries he goes back to Mobile to meet the widow of the man who saved him and tell her how her husband died. The Armed Forces want them to go on a tour together to promote black enlistment, but George refuses to be used in that fashion. He becomes a friend of Thelma, the widow and they write to each other when he is sent back to the Pacific theater. Thelma’s brother Luther is a drinker who was traumatized by seeing their parents brutally lynched and burned when he was a young boy. Luther evades the draft and is about to be sent to prison but George convinces his father to defend him from the charges and Luther joins the Army and is sent to the European theater in the tank corps. Thelma gives up her job as a domestic and goes to work in an aircraft factory.
The story is rich with details about life on both war fronts, and about the changes in the lives of women and black people employed by defense industries for the first time. It is both encouraging and tragic – the advancements that are made and the underlying horrific, violent racist and sexist behavior that is everywhere at home and in the war. Pitts has done massive research, and it pays off. He is also a great storyteller who has created a diverse group of memorable characters.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 10, 2019 – Shelved
December 10, 2019 – Shelved as: historical
December 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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