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Writing to Save a Life
When Emmett Till was murdered aged fourteen for allegedly whistling at a white woman, photographs of his destroyed face became a flashpoint in the civil rights movement. A decade earlier Emmett's father, Louis, had also been killed - court-martialled and hanged. Though the circumstances could hardly have been more different, behind both deaths stood the same crime, of being black.
In Writing to Save a Life, John Edgar Wideman, born the same year as Emmett Till, investigates the tragic fates of father and son. Mixing research, memoir and imagination, this book is an essential commentary on racism in America - illuminating, humane and profound.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
At times melancholy, at others raw and rippling with rage, Wideman masterfully weaves together memory, history and archival documents . . . Haunting, provocative, and inspired * * Washington Post * * A mercurial coupling of fact and fiction from a profound writer -- RICHARD FORD A quietly harrowing postscript to the tragedy of Emmett Till . . . A searching account * * New York Times Book Review * * A great American writer -- JOY WILLIAMS A genre-defying mix of history, biography, and memoir * * Philadelphia Inquirer * * Haunting * * New York Magazine * * A book seething with the passion and sense of outrage behind the Black Lives Matter movement that also traces specific roots of the movement's genealogy * * Kirkus Reviews * *