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The Childrenby David Halberstam
Synopses & Reviews
The Children is David Halberstam's moving evocation of the early days of the civil rights movement, as seen through the story of the young people — the Children — who met in the 1960s and went on to lead the revolution. The Children is a story one of America's preeminent journalists has waited years to write, a powerful book about one of the most dramatic moments in recent American history.
They came together as part of Reverend James Lawson's workshops on nonviolence, eight idealistic black students whose families had sacrificed much so that they could go to college. And they risked it all, and their lives besides, when they joined the growing civil rights movement. David Halberstam shows how Martin Luther King, Jr., recruited Lawson to come to Nashville to train students in Gandhian techniques of nonviolence. We see the strength of the families the Children came from, moving portraits of several generations of the black experience in America. We feel Diane Nash's fear before the first sit-in to protest segregation of Nashville lunch counters, and then see how Diane Nash and others — John Lewis, Gloria Johnson, Bernard Lafayette, Marion Barry, Curtis Murphy, James Bevel, Rodney Powell — persevered until they ultimately accomplished that goal. After the sit-ins, when the Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate buses were in danger of being stopped because of violence, it was these same young people who led the bitter battle into the Deep South. Halberstam takes us into those buses, lets us witness the violence the students encountered in Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma. And he shows what has happened to the Children since the 1960s, as they have gone on with their lives.
"Powerful....Told with such passionate conviction that the reader is transfixed." The New York Times
"David Halberstam is America's Alexis de Tocqueville....The Children is an important book, especially for today's youth, who will read in its moving and revealing pages the remarkable stories of flesh-and-blood people who were the fiber of a social movement." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Unforgettable drama....In Mr. Halberstam's hands, the early days of the civil-rights movement come to life as never before in print....The Children has a rare power." The Wall Street Journal
"It is a large, gripping American story. Halberstam catches a sense of being present at the creation." Lance Morrow, Time
"Stirring....Within this book live stories of timeless heroism....Stories so fraught with hatred and hope, violence and suffering, fear and courage, that one reads the book gripping it with both hands, almost afraid to turn the page." The Washington Post Book World
"The Children is utterly absorbing and contains some of the most moving passages Halberstam has ever written." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"[A] sturdy rebuke to the great-man, single-icon theory of history....Halberstam succeeds in making the point that history is not just about great men but about great women, great comrades and great comings-together of people who might each have been completely ordinary in some other time or without each other's examples to live up to." Barbara Ehrenreich, The Nation
"David Halberstam goes deeper, taking the measure of society's savage currents and treacherous shoals....[A] remarkable and rewarding testament..." Emily Mitchell, People
"A powerful account of a critical time in American history, related in both close-up and wide view." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] wonderfully rich account...crammed with history and humanity." The New Yorker
"[A]t once intimate and monumental....This book need not have been as long as it is. But it is a masterful achievement in reporting, research and understanding. In a concluding author's note, Halberstam writes of his own experiences as a young reporter covering the civil rights beat." Publishers Weekly
"YAs will appreciate the courage and dedication of these young activists. The excellent index will help researchers trace individuals and locations." School Library Journal
"The Children is both a survey of five central years of the civil rights movement and a sterling example of the genre with which Halberstam is most closely identified: collective biography....A powerful story of young people justly seen as heroes because they risked their lives to challenge Jim Crow apartheid." Mary Carroll, Booklist
"Halberstam's finest work....There's more humanity in this book than in anything he's done." Vanity Fair
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Best and the Brightest, The Reckoning, and The Fifties now tells the story of the civil rights movement, as seen through the eyes of the young people — the "Children" — who became early revolutionaries in Nashville in the 1960s.
A remarkable true story of heroism, courage, and faith
Includes bibliographical references (p. -736) and index.
About the Author
DAVID HALBERSTAM graduated from Harvard, where he had served as managing editor of the daily Harvard Crimson. It was 1955, a year after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools. Halberstam went south and began his career as the one reporter on the West Point, Mississippi, Daily Times Leader. He was fired after ten months there and went to work for The Nashville Tennessean. When the sit-ins broke out in Nashville in February 1960, he was assigned to the story as principal reporter. He joined The New York Times later that year, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his early reports from Vietnam. He has received every other major journalistic award, and is a member of the Society of American Historians. His previous nine books have all been bestsellers.
David Halberstam has been called "this generation's equivalent of Theodore White and John Gunther" by The Boston Globe. Of David Halberstam's books, the critics have said about The Best and the Brightest, "a rich, entertaining and profound reading experience" (The New York Times); about The Powers That Be, "moves with all the speed and grace of a fine novel" (Chicago Tribune); about The Reckoning, "Halberstam manages to write business history with an investigator's skill and a novelist's flair" (The Washington Post); about The Fifties, "sinfully entertaining" (Newsweek); about The Breaks of the Game, "the best book [he] has written" (The Washington Post); about The Amateurs, "one of the best books ever written about a sport" (Newsweek); about Summer of '49, "dazzling...a celebration of a heroic age" (The New York Times); about October 1964, "masterful...memorable" (The Washington Post).
From the Hardcover edition.
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History and Social Science » African American Studies » Civil Rights Movement