The Lynching: Book summary and reviews of The Lynching by Laurence Leamer

The Lynching

The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan

by Laurence Leamer

The Lynching by Laurence Leamer X
The Lynching by Laurence Leamer
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Book Summary

The powerful and spellbinding true story of a brutal race-based killing in 1981 and subsequent trials that undid one of the most pernicious organizations in American history - the Ku Klux Klan.

On a Friday night in March 1981 Henry Hays and James Knowles scoured the streets of Mobile in their car, hunting for a black man. The young men were members of Klavern 900 of the United Klans of America. They were seeking to retaliate after a largely black jury could not reach a verdict in a trial involving a black man accused of the murder of a white man. The two Klansmen found nineteen-year-old Michael Donald walking home alone. Hays and Knowles abducted him, beat him, cut his throat, and left his body hanging from a tree branch in a racially mixed residential neighborhood.

Arrested, charged, and convicted, Hays was sentenced to death - the first time in more than half a century that the state of Alabama sentenced a white man to death for killing a black man. On behalf of Michael's grieving mother, Morris Dees, the legendary civil rights lawyer and cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a civil suit against the members of the local Klan unit involved and the UKA, the largest Klan organization. Charging them with conspiracy, Dees put the Klan on trial, resulting in a verdict that would level a deadly blow to its organization.

Based on numerous interviews and extensive archival research, The Lynching brings to life two dramatic trials, during which the Alabama Klan's motives and philosophy were exposed for the evil they represent. In addition to telling a gripping and consequential story, Laurence Leamer chronicles the KKK and its activities in the second half the twentieth century, and illuminates its lingering effect on race relations in America today.

This book is published by an imprint of HarperCollins. Members of the HC union have been on strike since mid-Nov, fighting for a living wage. More than 650 authors and literary agents have committed to not submitting books to the company until the strike is resolved. Recent news articles
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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Powerful... engrossing... and a pertinent reminder of the consequences of organized hatred." - Kirkus

"This well-written, suspense-filled book vividly evokes themes from the ugly, not-so-distant past." - Publishers Weekly

"Leamer (The Price of Justice; The Kennedy Women) explores the tragic murder, drawing sad and telling details from interviews and court records." - Library Journal

"America's unaddressed history of lynching and racial violence has left this nation vulnerable to horrific hate crimes, none more devastating than what is documented in this compelling book. We ignore Laurence Leamer's account at our peril." - Bryan Stevenson, author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

"For decades, Morris Dees has fearlessly demolished White Supremacist hate groups with his legal cunning. Laurence Leamer does a wonderful job in The Lynching describing how Dees put the KKK out of business. This legal thriller is destined to become a major motion picture. Highly recommended." - Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

"Leamer has deftly told the tragic story of the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald and the long campaign of civil rights activist Morris Dees to use unprecedented legal tactics to cripple the modern Ku Klux Klan. A narrative as powerful as any novelist could imagine." - Dan T. Carter, author of The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism and the Transformation of American Politics

"The Lynching reveals truths that few people know and everyone should. The extraordinary story of Morris Dees, a uniquely American hero, fighting for and winning vengeance and justice in the courts." - Arthur Bryant, Chairman, Public Justice

This information about The Lynching 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

Laurence Leamer Author Biography

Photo Credit: Author Grace

Laurence Leamer is a best-selling author and journalist. Leamer is a former Ford Fellow in International Development at the University of Oregon and a former International Fellow at Columbia University. He is regarded as an expert on the Kennedy family and has appeared in numerous media outlets discussing American politics. Leamer has also written best-selling biographies of other American icons, including Johnny Carson, the Reagan family, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Price of Justice: A True Story of Corruption and Greed in Coal Country (2013) is his most recent work

Leamer was on the staff at Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Playboy, and many other publications. He lives in Palm Beach and Washington, D.C.

Author Interview
Link to Laurence Leamer's Website

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