Synopses & Reviews
The Children is David Halberstam's brilliant and 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. Magisterial in scope, with a strong you-are-there quality, 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 movements in 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 we 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.
The Children bears the trademark qualities that have made David Halberstam one of the leading nonfiction writers of our era. The Children is his most personal book since The Best and the Brightest, a magnificent re-creation of a unique period in America, and of the lives of the ordinary people whose courage and vision changed history.two
"The Children is utterly absorbing and contains some of the most moving passages Halberstam has ever written." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"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
"Halberstam's finest work....There's more humanity in this book than in anything he's done." Vanity Fair
"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
"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
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).