Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The final volume of congressman and civil rights crusader Lewis's memoir, produced with cowriter Aydin, gives a perfect balance of clarity and passion, drawing readers into the emotions of civil rights struggles, while carefully providing context and information, as well as empathy, even for the worst of the movement's foes. Beginning with the church bombing at Birmingham, Ala.; moving through the blood-soaked years from 1963 to 1965; and ending with the signing of the Voting Rights Act, Lewis's on-the-ground viewpoint puts many human faces on the historic battles. The narrative reveals the real work of revolution, focusing not just on the well-known events but the behind-the-scenes decision making, compromises, personal battles, sacrifices, and overall political landscape. It's a dense and informative work propelled by Powell's fluid layouts and vivid depictions of violence and emotion, as well as a personal passion that helps make this memoir timely and relevant, drawing a straight line between decades to compare the modern iterations of a struggle that still continues. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Heroism and steadiness of purpose continue to light up Lewis' frank, harrowing account of the civil rights movement's climactic dayshere, from cafeteria sit-ins in Nashville to the March on Washington.As in the opener, Powell's dark, monochrome ink-and-wash scenes add further drama to already-dramatic events. Interspersed in Aydin's script with flashes forward to President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, Lewis' first-person account begins with small-scale protests and goes on to cover his experiences as a Freedom Rider amid escalating violence in the South, his many arrests, and his involvement in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's formation and later internal strife. With the expectation that readers will already have a general grasp of the struggle's course, he doesn't try for a comprehensive overview but offers personal memories and insightsrecalling, for instance, Martin Luther King Jr.'s weak refusal to join the Freedom Riders and, with respect, dismissing Malcolm X: "I never felt he was a part of the movement." This middle volume builds to the fiery manifesto the 23-year-old Lewis delivered just before Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech and closes with the September 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The contrast between the dignified marchers and the vicious, hate-filled actions and expressions of their tormentors will leave a deep impression on readers. Lewis' commitment to nonviolentbut far from unimpassionedprotest will leave a deeper one. Backmatter includes the original draft of Lewis' speech. "We're gonna march"oh, yes. (Graphic memoir. 11 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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