Set in a small community between Montgomery and Birmingham, this first novel brings home the historic struggle for civil rights through the personal story of one man and his family from the 1950s onward. Brewster McAtee hears all about the political ferment of the times--the protests, sit-ins, and assassinations--but he just wants to buy his own land, make a success of his woodcraft business, and raise his family: "He had plenty to keep himself busy here in his... own shed." But when he registers to vote, his business is set on fire. The KKK is always there, even in the next generation, still a menace right next door, and Brewster's racist neighbor, "bent with age and cruelty," comes for Brewster's brilliant, gifted son. That gorgeous son is just too saintly to be true, but then we are seeing him through his father's eyes, in adoration and anguish. It's the truth of Brewster's viewpoint, the daily details of work and family, that gives this docu-novel its searing power. Winner of the James Jones First Novel Award.
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