Jackson, 1964: Book summary and reviews of Jackson, 1964 by Calvin Trillin

Jackson, 1964

And Other Dispatches from Fifty Years of Reporting on Race in America

by Calvin Trillin

Jackson, 1964 by Calvin Trillin X
Jackson, 1964 by Calvin Trillin
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  • Published Jun 2016
    304 pages
    Genre: Essays

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Book Summary

From bestselling author and beloved New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin, a deeply resonant, career-spanning collection of articles on race and racism, from the 1960s to the present.

In the early sixties, Calvin Trillin got his start as a journalist covering the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Over the next five decades of reporting, he often returned to scenes of racial tension. Now, for the first time, the best of Trillin's pieces on race in America have been collected in one volume.

In the title essay of Jackson, 1964, we experience Trillin's riveting coverage of the pathbreaking voter registration drive known as the Mississippi Summer Project - coverage that includes an unforgettable airplane conversation between Martin Luther King, Jr., and a young white man sitting across the aisle. ("I'd like to be loved by everyone," King tells him, "but we can't always wait for love.")

In the years that follow, Trillin rides along with the National Guard units assigned to patrol black neighborhoods in Wilmington, Delaware; reports on the case of a black homeowner accused of manslaughter in the death of a white teenager in an overwhelmingly white Long Island suburb; and chronicles the remarkable fortunes of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a black carnival krewe in New Orleans whose members parade on Mardi Gras in blackface.

He takes on issues that are as relevant today as they were when he wrote about them. Excessive sentencing is examined in a 1970 piece about a black militant in Houston serving thirty years in prison for giving away one marijuana cigarette. The role of race in the use of deadly force by police is highlighted in a 1975 article about an African American shot by a white policeman in Seattle.

Uniting all these pieces are Trillin's unflinching eye and graceful prose. Jackson, 1964 is an indispensable account of a half-century of race and racism in America, through the lens of a master journalist and writer who was there to bear witness.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. What's shocking is how topical and relatively undated many of these essays seem today." - Publishers Weekly

"Haunting pieces that show how our window on the past is often a mirror." - Kirkus

"This book is supposedly a contribution to the current "volcanic national conversation about race and racism," but it makes one wonder whether or not more relevant analysis can be offered on this crucially important topic than rehashed essays from a prolific white writer." - Library Journal

This information about Jackson, 1964 was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Calvin Trillin

Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1963, when the magazine published "An Education in Georgia," his account of the desegregation of the University of Georgia. He is the author of thirty books. His nonfiction includes About Alice, Remembering Denny, and Killings. His humor writing includes books of political verse, comic novels, books on eating, and the collection Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin.

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