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Reviews Reader-to-Reader: Capsule Reviews Mimi Schwartz This column invites readers to share their favorite nonfiction books in print. Memoirs, travel writing, nature writing, essay collections, biography, adventure stories—all are welcome here as mini-reviews ofnew books and oldfavorites that are still available. Our aim is to keep the best nonfiction alive in a reader-to-reader kind ofway. Penelope Dugan Memoirs from the Civil Rights movement have proliferated in the past ten years as a generation of activists reaches their sixties. The two books below, however, are written by members ofa later generation in search ofthe truth of stories incompletely or incorrectly told about three white activists in the Civil Rights movement From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death ofViola Liuzzo, by Mary Stanton. University of Georgia Press, 1998. 250 pages, paper, $16.95. Mary Stanton asks, "Do the dead really haunt us? Do they drive us to teU their stories?" Her search for the truth about a woman—Viola Liuzzo—who lost her Ufe for a cause and her reputation to an FBI cover-up is a resounding yes. Viola Liuzzo is the only white woman whose name is inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial. At the age of thirty-nine, she left her husband and five children in Detroit to participate in a voting rights march in Selma, Alabama. On the night ofMarch 25, 1965, after the march, while driving a 253 254Fourth Genre young black man from Selma to Montgomery, she was shot to death by Ku Klux Klansmen. Among those Klansmen was a paid FBI informant who abetted the violence. In the days foUowing her murder, Viola Liuzzo was transformed from civil rights martyr to unstable victim ofher own neuroses who got herselfkiUed. The victim of a capital crime, she was treated by the FBI as ifshe had been a criminal herself. They used the same message to discredit her that the Klan wanted to send in killing her: white women should stay in their homes; they should not agitate for social change; they should not ally themselves with black people. Stanton unearths the buried and fragmented disinformation campaign againstViola Liuzzo. She also brings to life the working-class woman who came into her own inteUectuaUy and politicaUy in her thirties as a part-time coUege student resolved to live her life with meaning. While doing the research for From Selma to Sorrow, Mary Stanton found that black people over forty rememberViola Liuzzo and white people over forty don't know who she is. I hope that this beautifuUy realized book introduces this brave and committed woman to Americans of every age. The Bluffton Charge, by Stephen S. Howie. Mammoth Books, 2000. 237 pages, paper, $14.95. Stephen S. Howie begins his book, "This is a story about two people I never knew: my parents, a decade before they were parents. It is a story about a time before they were careful, before they invested their beliefs in their children, when they were eager to challenge the most basic aspects of the culture that had raised them both." Howie bases his story on family stories told and retold, on notes taken by his parents when young, on recoUections prodded from memories no longer young, and on his own imaginative creation of the two young people he wants to know. In die summer of 1955, twenty-two-year-old Bev Howie from Tennessee and twenty-five-year-oldJohn Howie from Mississippi, married for one year, went to the low country of South Carolina where John had been given his first appointment—"charge"—as a Methodist minister, with Bluffton, Hardeevüle, and Pritchard as his three towns. The "Secessionist Oak" stfll stood in Bluffton then, as did a past too close to consider social progress anything other than an attack. John thought his words would change things. What he came to reaUze was that "if anything was going to change in Bluffton, it was going to be the preacher." Book Reviews255 The Howies deliberately befriended two local black teachers, Sadie Berger and John Lawyer, under attack for their NAACP membership. The couples double dated, knowing the dangers of simply being seen together in South...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1544-1733
Print ISSN
1522-3868
Pages
pp. 253-255
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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