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Crossing the Lines: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, June 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After 25 years in advertising, Richard Doster, editor of byFaith, a publication of the Presbyterian Church, brings his rich Mississippi upbringing to the written page. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Sally, and while he's been published by the Atlanta Constitution Journal, this is his first novel.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434799840
  • ASIN: B003E7EXW2
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,597,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Flannery O'Connor once said that fiction is a plunge into reality and a shock to the system. Her stories, and I hope mine, provide a true glimpse of a broken world--not merely to shock--but to inspire.

My books are, as one reviewer said of Safe at Home, part "comfort food, history lesson, social retrospective, and personal challenge." As you read them I hope you'll take the advice once given by Sir Frances Bacon: "Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nora A. Stlaurent on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Richard Doster pens a heartfelt, powerful, thought provoking book that gives a broad view of when things started to forever change in the South. It was as much of a surprise to Martin Luther King, Jr. as it was to the rest of the world when a group voted him to lead a fight of justice, for all! Martin Luther tells a reporter, "There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation."

Martin Luther tries to explain that this movement is not about desegregation - it's about community. "We want the same things. We might come at it from a different direction; might see things from a slightly different angel, but we both want a place were people thrive, where they're free, where everybody loves his neighbor." Jack Hall, reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, doesn't see this happening in a peaceful way--he's scared to be part any of this movement--what will his neighbors and friends think?

To Jack, Martin Luther King says, "Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love. .... True peace--the kind the Bible talks about--has got to be more than the absence of hostility. It's got to be the presence of something good. You can't have peace until you've got justice and goodwill and honest-to-goodness brotherhood," Jack starts to think about life in a new way after hearing Martin Luther's speeches and his pastor's sermons. He thinks God just might want to use him to get Martin Luther's story out to the world.

Richard Doster has a section in the back of the book called "Fact or Fiction," In it he describes what is real in the book and what he's changed to help the story along. I found this helpful since I haven't done an in-depth study of Martin Luther King Jr. or that time period before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Seybert on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a kid growing up in a quiet northern California suburb, the early days of the civil rights movement in the late 1950s came only as close as our black & white TV screen and the occasional photo-spread in LIFE magazine. Richard Doster brings those images to real life in Crossing The Lines, his second novel set in the south.

Crossing The Lines continues the story of newspaper reporter Jack Hall whose big break comes when he is asked to join the sports writing team of a major Atlanta daily. Because he had some experience reporting on the "negro" community at his previous paper, Hall's editor sends him to Montgomery, Alabama to report on a minor incident involving a woman who refused give up her seat in a WHITES ONLY section of a city bus.

There's news out of Montgomery that there might be a short-lived bus boycott and Hall agrees to go, despite the protestations of his wife.

"I seem to possess an unusual background; I guess I'm one of the few reporters in the world who's actually seen a boycott, who's been to a Negro church, and interviewed a Negro pastor."

Hall meets a young Martin King, a young pastor who impresses the cynical newspaperman with his faith and quiet demeanor. The two form a relationship built on mutual benefit and Hall becomes an eye witness to some of the civil rights movement's most pivotal events.

Doster weaves his fictional characters into stories of actual events so seamlessly that it is difficult to know where reality ends and fiction begins. The dialog given King and others is historically accurate based on the author's exhaustive research.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Curtis on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's what I like: to be thoroughly entertained while I learn something worth knowing.

Crossing the Lines provided me with that experience. I heartily recommend it to several populations: 1) boomers happy to relive that era when "our" music and other cultural phenomena began hitting the scene; 2) younger readers who might not know the background of the birth of rock 'n' roll, country music, blues and other sounds the South contributed so mightily in the 1950s and '60s; 3) Southerners (and wannabes) nostalgic for a period when the South rose again to take leadership in important ways, including literature, music and -- certainly -- social justice and opportunity for all; 4) both black and white readers interested in reviewing incredible events and the brave people behind them in an era when America was on the cusp of major change in race relations; 5) all readers who enjoy a fabulous yarn, a literary masterpiece and a novel whose characters, events and settings stay with you long after you reluctantly finish the last page.

Did I leave anyone out? Hope not...Crossing the Lines is really THAT good! It's fiction that matters, which -- let's face it -- can't be said about all novels.

Carolyn Curtis
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on June 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Crossing the Lines by Richard Doster is the sequel to Safe at Home, but it's not necessary to have read that volume in order to fall in love with this rich characterization of the South in the 1950s. Jack Hall is moving with his wife Rose Marie and son Chris to Atlanta after their home was bombed because of their association with a black baseball player. Jack initially takes a position at a newspaper but then begins a magazine with two friends to emphasize the South that the world isn't seeing. In the midst of Civil Rights movement, relations between black and white are strained in the deep South and in the Hall household. Jack meets various important figures, including Martin Luther King Jr, of the movement which opens his eyes to the injustice facing blacks and makes him question what's right and what should a good man do. I loved this book and didn't want it to ever end. By introducing the concept of a magazine, Doster is able to include fascinating stories about the birth of Rock and Roll and Nascar and an essay by Flannery O'Connor about Southern literature. Jack and his friends begin the magazine because they realize that the North and the rest of the world think of Southerners as angry, racists. They want to emphasize the wonderful and beautiful things about their beloved home while gently introducing controversial topics. The South still suffers from some of this misconceptions, and
Doster tackles each one smoothly. There are so many books on the market now about the South during the Civil Rights era that are filled with white characters who are 100% for the rights of blacks, but Doster reflects a more accurate history in the Hall family. Rose Marie thinks that individual blacks are okay, but doesn't want them dating her son, eating in the same restaurant or using the same bathrooms.
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