Synopses & Reviews
Forty years ago, James Meredith tried to integrate the University of Mississippi, and ignited an armed white rebellion in the nation’s heartland. This riveting book re-creates the day the country went to war against itself.
An American Insurrection is the true story of the worst constitutional crisis since the Civil War and a major turning point in American history. It takes readers into the eye of the chaotic and ferocious white uprising that occurred when air force veteran James Meredith tried to become the first black student to register at the University of Mississippi, only to be physically blocked by radical segregationist Governor Ross Barnett, hundreds of state police, and thousands of student and civilian “volunteers” from across the South. The revolt climaxed in a fourteen-hour battle and the lightning invasion of the state by 30,000 combat troops ordered in by President John F. Kennedy.
Based on years of intensive research, including more than 500 interviews with witnesses and key players in the drama, recently unsealed FBI files, and on JFK’s Oval Office and Cabinet Room tapes recorded during the crisis, An American Insurrection unearths the unsung heroes–and more than a few villains–of a dark and violent event that has remained buried in the historical shadows until now. It is the unforgettable account of a governor in rebellion, a president in crisis, soldiers on a perilous mission, a state sliding into civil war, and a battle that crushed forever the Southern strategy of massive resistance. What Black Hawk Down was to the American mission in Somalia, An American Insurrection is destined to become to the epic struggle for civil rights.
In An American Insurrection, William Doyle dramatically re-creates a landmark conflict in the civil rights battles of the 1960s, when federal troops had to be called in to quell a violent segregationist uprising.
Based on intensive research, including over five hundred interviews, this is the compelling story of Air Force veteran James Meredith's struggle to desegregate the University of Mississippi. Resisted by everyone from the state's governor to thousands of white civilians, Meredith's efforts provoked a fourteen-hour battle on the university campus and the invasion of the state by more than 20,000 U.S. Army troops called up by President John F. Kennedy. Doyle brings this largely forgotten crisis to life in all its drama and historical importance.
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
About the Author
William Doyle’s previous book, Inside the Oval Office: The White House Tapes from FDR to Clinton (1999), was a New York Times Notable Book. In 1998 he won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best TV Documentary for the A&E special The Secret White House Tapes, which he co-wrote and co-produced. He lives in New York City.