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Dec 21, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: America's race wars seem to be on the rise again, as the general populace is asked to reaffirm that certain lives matter.

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While the imagery is horrible and the bloodshed excessive, it pales in comparison to some of the clashes that became weekly occurrences in the South for decades. The Civil War sought to rectify some of these issues, but only exacerbated them, allowing the rise of white supremacy in its many forms, the most prevalent and wide-spread being the Ku Klux Klan.

Leamer seeks not onl America's race wars seem to be on the rise again, as the general populace is asked to reaffirm that certain lives matter. Leamer seeks not only to explore Klan life in America, particularly throughout Alabama, but also a criminal case that might have snuffed out the power Klan politics had over the state and across America. In March , members of Klavern of the United Klans of America pondered how to lash out against a jury that refused to find a black bank robber guilty of shooting a white police officer.

Hatred filled their speech and the only solution would be to commit an act so outrageous that everyone would take notice. Klansmen focussed on nineteen year-old Michael Donald, walking through Mobile late at night. What follows is an act so depraved and horrible that it does not bear detailing here. Needless to say, Donald was lynched and his dead body left dangling from a tree at the courthouse. After some investigating and witness statements, a member of the Klan was brought to justice and sentenced for the crime.

Leamer then takes a significant amount of time in the middle of this book to explore the rise of racial hatred in Alabama, particularly under the watchful eye of George Wallace, its segregationist governor. Wallace welcomed the help of the Klan in preserving order in the state and ensuring that he would not have to bend to the wave of integration, which he felt would sully his state.

Civil rights leaders found much of their time spent in the state dedicated to marching and peacefully protesting, though they were met with clubs, bottles, and water cannons. Still, their resolve did not bend and Wallace's invectives were soon diluted, at times with the help of the Oval Office. His smooth writing style and ability to cut to the chase had him a sought after commodity by politicians throughout the South. However, Leamer depicts him as the man who would stop at nothing to bring down the Klan, after seeing all its actions throughout the s and 70s. Returning th narrative to the mids, Leamer discusses that Dees took the opportunity to approach Michael Donald's mother and agreed to take her case to civil court for wrongful death.

This was Dees' opportunity to pull all the key figures in the Klan onto the carpet, in an Alabama courtroom, from the lowly men who committed the lynching to the Imperial Wizard of the Klan, Robert Shelton, and the entire United Klans of America. Fighting and taking no prisoners, Dees sought justice for a people as well as a nation, hoping to put the heinous past of segregation, black suppression, and white supremacist violence by the wayside. It was an epic fight, the true David versus Goliath, though its end result was anything but certain.

Leamer does a fascinating job at pulling the heartstrings of the reader, even those who did not suffer through the era. His powerful story will resonate in the minds and hearts of anyone courageous enough to take the time and learn how Michael Donald became a lasting symbol of the fight for equality in Alabama. Leamer does a masterful job of depicting the Klan, the state of racial unrest in Alabama, and the overall sentiment of the movement in a short time.

While I have always been looking for an overarching book to explore the roots and depths of the Klan in America, Leamer has surely whet my appetite to learn a little more. I tend to turn towards things about which I know little, in hopes of learning more and being able to adequately represent myself in discussions.

The two outer parts of the book flow so well that one might sometimes wonder if these are pieces of historical fiction. It is listed under non-fiction, which supports that the horrors and battles found therein are at least mostly true. The power of his writing and the depths of despair that the reader can find themselves, should they be open to learning, is amazing.

The middle section, a true history of hate and the rise of George Wallace, proves even more telling, as Leamer sets the basis of Alabama as a cesspool of hatred, though surely the rhetoric of the times did not help. Does Leamer go too far? I would venture to say no, in that he is trying to illustrate just how poorly things got and how horrible the nightly walks could have been for blacks or those who sympathised with their cause.

I was enthralled with the story, the narrative, and the overall rawness of what Leamer had to tell.

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One can only hope many others will take the time to learn about this before dismissing if any set of lives matter more than others. Leamer for pulling me in so effectively. I will be sure to find some more of your work in the near future. An ever-growing collection of others appears at: View all 22 comments.

Jun 19, Kristy K rated it liked it Shelves: View all 5 comments. Apr 11, Kimba Tichenor rated it liked it Shelves: The crime committed by two young UKA United Klans of America members was conceived by the Mobile Klavern as a response to the failure of a largely black jury to reach a verdict in the murder of a white man by a black man.

The night of the verdict the two young men hunted down a random young black man, whose only offense was b 3. The night of the verdict the two young men hunted down a random young black man, whose only offense was being at the wrong isolated place at the wrong time. The two Klavern members brutally beat Michael Donald and slit his throat; after killing him, they tied him to a tree using a knot hangman's noose and then burned a cross not far away.

The first 15 chapters offer a gripping account of the murder, arrest, and criminal trial. However, the book subsequently loses its momentum when it takes a roughly chapter historic detour of the KKK's history in the South and of the Civil Rights movement before returning to the civil trial.

Certainly some background information would have been appropriate and provided context for the lynching and later trials, but it could have easily been accomplished in a single chapter, perhaps creating space for a more balanced narrative -- one in which the "white" story white Southerners struggle to come to terms with changing race relations in their communities and the "black" story the victim, his family, and the black community are given equal weight. Sadly, as it reads now the latter story tends to recede into the background, so that Michael's mother -- the woman who beat the clan, winning a 7 million dollar judgment against it -- hardly figures in this narrative.

Jun 18, Carlos rated it really liked it. What a great book, if you want to understand a little bit more about the Civil Rights movement and the impact it had Highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about a time where racial integration was an issue with could decide wether you lived or die in America. Feb 29, Beverly rated it it was amazing Shelves: Engrossing, spellbinding, heartfelt are the words that came to mind when I finished this grippingly readable true crime narrative. This book is narrative non-fiction at its best in the same vein as Devil in the Grove: This time the spotlight is shining on Alabama, specifically Mobile as it looks at two different trials; one trial of a revenge-based killing that lead to a crusade to legally challenge the UKA United A Must read!

This time the spotlight is shining on Alabama, specifically Mobile as it looks at two different trials; one trial of a revenge-based killing that lead to a crusade to legally challenge the UKA United Klans of America — name of the KKK during the Civil Rights era. One of the strong points of this book is the author effectively writing of the everyday lives of this place in this time — the fear and oppression inflicted by the white supremacist environment leaps off the pages. Nov 06, Tom Mathews rated it really liked it Shelves: But Leamer casts an even wider net.

Leamer also chronicled the founding of the Southern Poverty Law Center and its growth from a brainchild of its controversial founder to the powerhouse of civil rights litigation that it is today. It is essentially a biography of Dees who, while an important part of this story, should not be treated as its subject. Dec 27, YupIReadIt rated it it was amazing. Needs to be required reading in school!


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You can also check out my review of this book here. Jun 07, Jean rated it it was amazing. The Lynching was not what I expected, which was a longer and possibly sensational court trial. Instead, it is a very readable history of the civil rights movement in Alabama. Yes, it reports the murder of an African-American teen in Mobile in the 's and how justice was finally accomplished and how that led to the demise of the Klan. It does so much more than that because it recounts the fear the white supremacists caused and the struggles of the movement in the 's, thus putting the murde The Lynching was not what I expected, which was a longer and possibly sensational court trial.

It does so much more than that because it recounts the fear the white supremacists caused and the struggles of the movement in the 's, thus putting the murder in context. Parts of this book reminded me of today's political environment. It may shed some light on the appeal of a certain kind of political machinations. I would hope that those whose knowledge of this part of U. As racial tension still is with us, we owe it to our country and to each other to be well-informed about what has gone before us. This book is a rather painless way to learn for the book holds the reader's attention.

The audio version is well narrated. Jun 01, Christopher Lawson rated it it was amazing. Clever Legal Strategy - but Will it Work? This book is not actually about the criminal trial; rather, it's how attorney Morris Dees used a novel legal approach in a CIVIL trial to completely destroy the organization: Klan members Henry Hays and James Knowles were looking for someone black--almost anyone--to use as an example.

After the two young ne'er do wells committed the dead, they publicly displayed the body as a horrific example: They "knew the body had to hang high up so everyone could see it. United Klans of America. Can an organization be held accountable for criminal acts of its members?

To succeed at court, Dees would have to cross several legal hurdles. For one thing, "Dees would have to show a pattern of violence involving the United Klans of America. He persuaded the jury that the Clan didn't merely dislike black people--it was a lot more than that: That's not the way the system is supposed to work, they told the jury: It would be bad if we did. In an astonishing turn, one of the defendants--one of the original two murderers--appealed to the jury during final arguments.

A repentant Knowles pleaded for the jury to find against himself! And also make the Klan responsible: I do hope that you find a judgment against me and everyone involved.


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  • Because we are guilty. Donald graciously accepted Knowles plea: Of course, this award financially wiped out the organization--the Klan had nowhere near that sum. More than that, however, this trial set a precedent for legal strategy against other hate groups. The events described here are a sad, but important part of our history. The outcome of this trial figured prominently in future cases against hate groups. I was not aware of the legal strategy used against the Klan by Mr. Aug 31, Andie rated it really liked it. This is a powerful book about a lynching in Mobile, Alabama that took place in and the trial that linked this crime to the United Klans of America.

    It is also the story of Morris Dees who evolved from being a supporter of George Wallace to founding the Southern Poverty Law Center and who successfully prosecuted the case as a civil suit. The beginning of the book that covers the actual crime is especially powerful. On the one hand, the Klan, the peope who are members and it's "secret rituals" This is a powerful book about a lynching in Mobile, Alabama that took place in and the trial that linked this crime to the United Klans of America. On the one hand, the Klan, the peope who are members and it's "secret rituals" with Imperial Wizards, Klaverns, Klegals, Grand Cyclopse and Klokans are laughable because they are so ignorant, but on the other, their amoral violence that was tolerated by the ruling elites of Southern society even as those elites looked down on Klan members as "white trash.

    One has to admire Morris Dees who, after an epiphany and turned his back on racial politics and the society they supported, did not care about being ostracized in Mobile, shunned by his family, or receiving death threats from right wing groups across the country. In a year when political campaigns are exploiting people's worst racial fears, this is an important book to read. Sep 03, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: Why didn't I remember this event?

    I thought back I was working plenty of overtime during the trial. Being so tired, I did not listen to the news, I just went right to bed. This subject is topical because of the resurgence of the Neo-Nazis and the Klan. Michael Donald, a nineteen year old black man was killed by two Klansman in Mobile, Alabama.

    He was unarmed, had not The Lynching: He was unarmed, had nothing to defend himself. He did nothing to provoke them. They picked him out to kill totally at random. The Klansman were trying to get recognition with the local Klan. They beat him until he could not move, slit his throat and then hung him up so it killing looked like a lynching. The story focuses on the two men who did the killing, the attorneys and George Wallace.

    I recalled interviews with him in the past, all his failed runs for president and his terms as governor. There were details that I did not know like George Wallace insisted that she run for governor of Alabama when he could not. He and her doctor kept the diagnosis of cancer from her and later it came back and she died in office. There are lots of details about George Wallace that I was not aware of. More importantly was the tremendous amount of research that the author covered in the re-telling of the events and the trial.

    There were some places that could have been edited more but overall it is a dramatic retelling of an important trial. The judgment and publicity deal a giant blow to the Klan. However, it is not over, there have been changes but the organization still persists. Jul 01, Lois rated it it was ok.

    Such an awful crime and the fact that it happened so 'relatively recently' was very hard for me when I first learned about it while living in Mobile, AL. A faculty member at my prior institution is quoted and had worked on the Nightline discussion of the case and some of the commemorative activities depicted in photographs were things I followed. That didn't save the fact that this book is just terribly written and edited: And one could really not care any less about who he was sleeping with during the SPLC's takedown of the Klan. He doesn't understand the criminal justice system OR the civil justice system very well and he's abysmal at details.

    Michael Donald and Buelah Donald deserved far better. May they rest in peace. And, photo alert, you really don't need to see the first one used mid book. Jul 17, gnarlyhiker rated it did not like it. The Lynching is a prime example of how not to write a book. Leamer tells you everything, but fails to show you anything: Set in medieval Sweden, it is a revenge tale about a father's merciless response to the rape and murder of his young daughter.

    The film contains a number of themes that question morals, justice, and religious beliefs, and was considered controversial when first released due to its infamous rape scene. Unrated 90 min Horror, Thriller. Things go horribly wrong when Catherine and Rebecca, two Catholic school girls, knock on the wrong door while selling religious paraphernalia. The film Run! R 84 min Horror, Thriller. Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday.

    While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts. A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

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