The Ground Breaking: Book summary and reviews of The Ground Breaking by Scott Ellsworth

The Ground Breaking

An American City and Its Search for Justice

by Scott Ellsworth

The Ground Breaking by Scott Ellsworth X
The Ground Breaking by Scott Ellsworth
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Book Summary

More than one-thousand homes and businesses. Restaurants and movie theaters, churches and doctors' offices, a hospital, a public library, a post office. Looted, burned, and bombed from the air.

Over the course of less than twenty-four hours in the spring of 1921, Tulsa's infamous "Black Wall Street" was wiped off the map—and erased from the history books. Official records were disappeared, researchers were threatened, and the worst single incident of racial violence in American history was kept hidden for more than fifty years. But there were some secrets that would not die.

A riveting and essential new book, The Ground Breaking not only tells the long-suppressed story of the notorious Tulsa Race Massacre. It also unearths the lost history of how the massacre was covered up, and of the courageous individuals who fought to keep the story alive. Most importantly, it recounts the ongoing archaeological saga and the search for the unmarked graves of the victims of the massacre, and of the fight to win restitution for the survivors and their families.

Both a forgotten chronicle from the nation's past, and a story ripped from today's headlines, The Ground Breaking is a page-turning reflection on how we, as Americans, must wrestle with the parts of our history that have been buried for far too long.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The author delivers a brilliant update that recounts the events [of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921] with the swiftness of an especially grim crime thriller...An essential historical record surrounding heinous events that have yet to be answered with racial justice." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[R]iveting...Interviews with survivors and reflections on the debate over reparations and the social, economic, and racial divisions of modern-day Tulsa add depth to Ellsworth's portrait of a community attempting to heal from an unimaginable injustice. This eloquent, deeply moving history isn't to be missed." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Immensely readable and thoroughly engaging, The Ground Breaking is a remarkable blend of history and memoir that could not be more timely and informative. Taut, tense, and meticulously composed, Scott Ellsworth's elegant narrative is both mesmerizing and enlightening." - Gilbert King, Pulitzer prizewinning author of Devil in the Grove

"This is a book that fuses history and memory with the unresolved search for justice for the victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. It is also a searing story of Ellsworth's personal journey as he struggles to unearth and come to terms with these events, and the journey of a community as it moves through forgetting, denial, and finally some grudging acceptance of what happened. The horrific events of 1921 have been called a riot, a disaster, a pogrom, and finally a race massacre. Ellsworth shows how each renaming is a direct result of the persistent efforts of those who would dig up what had been carefully and deliberately hidden. This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in an honest grappling with our racial past and with the task of moving forward." - Kenneth W. Mack, Professor of Law, Harvard University

"The persistence, empathy and painstaking research of The Ground Breaking move us much closer to the justice that the victims of Greenwood, and the people of America, deserve. Heartbreaking and inspiring." - Beto O'Rourke

This information about The Ground Breaking shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, 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 the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media 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

Scott Ellsworth

Scott Ellsworth is the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Game, winner of the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He has written about American history for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Formerly a historian at the Smithsonian Institution, he is also the author of The World Beneath Their Feet and Death in a Promised Land, his groundbreaking account of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Scott lives in Ann Arbor, where he teaches in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.

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