Civil Rights

Bravery, suffering, tragedy, and triumph, with ideals—and lives—on the line.



Parting the Waters:
America in the King Years 1954-63

By Taylor Branch


The first volume of Branch's riveting trilogy delves into the private moments and public declarations of the men and women who propelled the Civil Rights movement, with the most powerful spotlight on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Narrative history at its very finest, Parting the Waters launches an epic which embraces all of the movement's personalities, conflicts, dreams, triumphs, and failures—from the ephemeral to the monumental.



Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights
Letters of Thurgood Marshall

By Michael G. Long


For 20 years before the Montgomery bus boycotts and long before he became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall served as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. These eloquent and revealing missives from that period show the kindling of what would become a blazing legal intellect, sparked by the desperate urgency of the era's injustices.




Rosa Parks: A Life

By Douglas G. Brinkley


Although her act of courage as a bus passenger demanding equal treatment has entered into history, most Americans know little about the life of the woman whose name has become synonymous with principled resistance. Douglas Brinkley's biography sheds much-needed light on Parks's childhood on a farm outside of Montgomery, Alabama, her early work with the NAACP in the 1940s and early '50s, and her life after her role in the movement. Brinkley follows Parks into her years working in Detroit as an aide to Representative John Conyers, and her struggles to make ends meet even as she continued to play the role of cultural icon.




Walking with the Wind:
A Memoir of the Civil Rights Movement

By John Lewis


The son of an Alabama sharecropper, Lewis has represented Georgia in the House of Representatives since 1987 and was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the major battles of the Civil Rights movement, in which he was himself arrested more than 40 times. In this story of his life, Lewis shares his firsthand experience of life as a nearly endless battle.



The Fire Next Time 

By James Baldwin


Consisting of two letters written on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Baldwin's 1963 bestseller set off a profound—if often uneasy—conversation among thousands of readers, and became an intellectual touchstone for a generation's thinking about race in America. Employing an eloquence and fervor that made his meditations on history, faith, and the future of black and white ring out unforgettably, Baldwin penned in these pages a sermon that resounds in the reader's soul.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.