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We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi Paperback – April 26, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; Revised edition (April 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258640
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,529,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The infamous murder of three civil rights workers by a Ku Klux Klan mob and Mississippi law-enforcement officers in 1964 takes on the dimensions of a personal, political and national tragedy in this riveting account. The drama of the triocollege students Michael Schwerner and Andy Goodman, both white Northerners, and James Chaney, a young black activist from Mississippipits their faith in nonviolence against a murderous rage fueled by racism. Cagin and Dray, who coauthored Hollywood Films of the Seventies, have done their homework: interviews, news reports, FBI documents and trial transcripts undergird their brilliant re-creation of the incident, interwoven with a full-scale history of the civil rights movement. The search for the bodies turned up many black corpses, purported victims of police/Klan violence; the Klan conspirators were paroled before serving their full sentences; in the aftermath, Lyndon Johnson questionably maneuvered to defuse the situation. This is surely one of the best books on the civil rights movement.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A richly detailed morality tale set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s, this account pits idealistic and courageous civil rights workers against violent and bigoted defenders of segregation. As the central tragedythe murders of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaneyunfolds, federal officials ultimately bring the perpetrators to justice. In spite of its obvious bias and a tendency toward melodrama, this is a fine work by two freelance journalists: the most exhaustively researched, eloquently written, and accessible account of this crucial episode. Exciting and inspiring; highly recommended for most libraries.Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Very worthwhile and carefully done.
Schmerguls
If you don't know this story, you will be reading more about it in upcoming days.
Susan Klopfer
This book recounts the horror of the civil rights movement.
Scouts mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Schmerguls VINE VOICE on December 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Every so often we need to refresh our memory of the bad things that happened in our lifetime. That is why I read books about the Holocaust. It is also why I read this book, telling of what Mississippi was like for black people in the early 1960s. The murder of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney on June 21, 1964, is a defining event in the struggle to bring Mississippi to greater respect for the basic liberties guaranteed to Americans. This book tells the story in some detail, and also covers other events leading up to the murders. And there are some pages telling what has happened since (up to 1988, when the book was published). Very worthwhile and carefully done.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Even if you already know the story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, this book is very detailed and interestingly put together. The background information on the freedom summer project and other activists is insightful, and this book reads like a story, and not just as boring facts. I recommend this book to everyone.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a story of domestic terrorism. In this book we have domestic terrorists posing as police officers, another as a preacher, and other assorted riff-raff making up the police state of Mississippi during the 1960s. I was a college student when the shameful execution of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney took place on June 21, 1964. It's true that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. These three men paid the ultimate price trying to get African Americans registered to vote in Mississippi. To be sure, Mississippi wasn't alone in denying African American citizens their basic civil rights. The authors of this book point out the denial of civil rights in other states as well, namely neighboring Alabama.
Don't be intimidated by the books length, 457 pages. This book is a riveting read exposing Mississippi's as well as America's shame in regard to civil rights. The 1960s was a violent decade marked by political assassinations, the struggle for civil rights for African Americans, race riots, and the Vietnam war. Other than the three gentlemen who grace the cover of this book I feel another hero in the book is President Lyndon Johnson for pushing for passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. American history is filled with events we would like to sweep under the carpet. This book exposes the difficulties African Americans have confronted in gaining their much-deserved equal status in American society. It isn't enough to be embarrassed after reading this book, we, as Americans, need to feel shame and disgust.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Glick on August 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book gives an excellent account of what life was like in the South during the fight for Civil Rights. I was familiar with the case of the Freedom Summer Civil Rights Activist being murdered in Mississippi. This book goes into great detail about that case and other things that were taking place in the Civil Rights Movement at the time. I think this is book is a must read for anyone interested in the Civil Rights Struggle. I felt as if I were there watching the events as the unfolded. They really did their homework for this. It's a great tribute the Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman and all the others who worked along side them to change ideology of the Deep South during this time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan Klopfer on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you don't know this story, you will be reading more about it in upcoming days. So now is the time to get an account of what happened back in 1964 by reading We Are Not Afraid, the most interesting and most complete book written about this cold case that I have read. Three young men, civil rights volunteers, were brutally murdered at the opening of Freedom Summer. And now, 45 years later, the FBI is reopening the case, looking for new leads that could identify new suspects. James Chaney was one of the men murdered. A medical expert who viewed his autopsy photos thinks his body still contains important evidence and wants the FBI to exhume it for reexamination. The expert claims there are two bullets still in Chaney's body that were never removed. Recently it was learned that Edgar Ray Killen, the only man sent to prison for the triple murder, admitted to his former cell mate that he buried evidence from the crime on his property, back in the 1960s. His property has never been searched. When I first read Cagin and Dray's remarkable book, I felt as if I were there in Mississippi--a silent observer to an atrocity that must be remembered and retold. Once I picked up this book and started reading, I could not put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Letheby on May 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easily the best civil rights/Jim Crow book I've ever read and I've got 3-4 dozen in my library. Ironic that I finally got around to reading it as the 50th anniversary of the despicable crime approaches. Also led me to another future read: "Mississippi: The Closed Society."
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. L. Huff on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Of all the books on this brutal story, Cagin and Dray's remains the most in-depth forensic analysis of that sad Midsummer Day of 1964. The aftermath of this sordid murder galvanized the nation and was one of the top events of the entire movement, along with the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, in 1963; the assassination of Medger Evers; and M.L. King's own assassination in 1968. Of interest is how the authors tied the events of a local lynching into broader trends. The Free Speech and anti-war movement, founded at Berkeley later that year, owed its origin to Freedom Summer activist Mario Savio (and this is a clue as to why no comparable anti-war movement has arisen since in the United States.)

The inspiration of sending students into the heartland was, of course, the "going to the people" of the Russian Peoples' Will movement a century before. With the escalation of violence all through the south, these students from elite universities found they had even less civil protection than their predecessors in Tzarist Russia. Ironically, while the backlash - and this tragedy in particular - sparked a revolutionary wave at the grass roots, it also levered the establishment political machinery into both domestic action, and to aid an escalating Vietnam War.

The Kennedy Administration still hoped to "balance" the party's civil rights rhetoric with its practical need of the Solid South to stay in power. Johnson, being a southern insider, was in the better position to influence Democratic senators and governors to see things his way, in passing and enforcing civil rights laws.
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