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Fraternity: In 1968, a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history. Hardcover – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; a edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385524749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385524742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012: Shortly after MLK Jr.’s assassination Reverend John Brooks, the future president of Holy Cross College, personally recruited and mentored 20 African-American students—five of whom (including Justice Clarence Thomas and author Edward P. Jones among others) are closely followed in Diane Brady’s impressively researched debut. --Jessica Schein

Review

“Holy Cross, Black Power, and the Sixties could have been an unholy mix. A bold Jesuit priest made it a holy one. The story of Father John Brooks, Clarence Thomas, Ted Wells, and the others rings with power, pride, and human feeling. Fraternity and the saga it retells adds honor to my college.”—Chris Matthews, anchor, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews
 
“Diane Brady’s book brilliantly shows how the attention and concern of one man changed not only the course of these individual lives but the course of history. This book is a template of how we should all think about both our societal responsibility and the gift of mentorship.”—Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore
 
“An incredibly inspiring book . . . Diane Brady has captured the story not just of a group of amazing black men and their mentor but of an era. But most of all, Fraternity is about the power of hope, the power of presence in the lives of others, the power of mentorship, role modeling, and actionable belief. And this is why I see this book as the best modern-day example of the continued power of Dr. King’s Dream.”—John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE and author of Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World
 
“Rife with questions about education that are as vital today as they were in the sixties, Fraternity is a reminder that success in life is often about being given the chance to succeed, and that great educators have the power to shape the course of history. This is an important story that will bring endless inspiration.”—Sampson Davis, author of The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a good thing as well as a bad thing.
scesq
In this inspiring book, Diane Brady shares with us an extraordinary story, with her unique gift.
Claudio Fernandez Araoz
I DO recommend this book, especially if you have interest in AMerican Black History.
M. A. Frazier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on October 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If there was ever a turning point in the US, 1968 was one. Martin Luther King was murdered. Across the United States, there were riots and protest marches.

Things had to change. But how, and at what cost?

It was just at this moment of crisis that Father Brooks, a Jesuit from Holy Cross, decided to recruit a handful of black students for the university.

He found eight extraordinary young men. One of them was Clarance Thomas, who is now among the most influential members of the Supreme Court (and by the way, a picture of the now conservative Thomas in a black beret protesting the Vietnam War is worth the price of the book alone).

Another one of the eight men would later win a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Award. One become a nationally famous lawyer.

Yet, at first, some hardly seemed college material. One had a mother who was illiterate. One was storming out of a seminary, not to mention the Catholic church. Yet they would be plunged into a world that was "white, Catholic, and all male" (p 67), not to mention a fiercely competitive academic environment.

Within the next few years they would all stand together and threaten to leave Holy Cross forever.

It's a dramatic story, but I don't want to spoil the suspense by explaining further. In the end, Holy Cross and Father Brooks changed the trajectory of their lives as much as they seem to have altered Holy Cross.

One thing that was especially striking was how suddenly, and how utterly, the cultural milieu can change. One year Father Brooks was trying to talk the alumni into supporting scholarships for eight black students. Barely a year later there is a black corridor devoted only to black students.

This is a small book, and the prose is elegant and spare, heightening the drama.

This would make a magnificent movie.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Greene VINE VOICE on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of boys transforming into men in the midst of a social experiment on a college campus stirred by the changing perceptions of race and racism during the late 60s. Diane Brady chronicles the experiences of five black college students who were recruited by the College of the Holy Cross and mentored by the impassioned Reverend John E. Brooks. Since their time at Holy Cross these men went on to impressively become a high profile lawyer, a member of an undefeated sports team, a Pulitzer prize winning author, head of an investment bank, and a Supreme Court judge.

Brady's work captures Holy Cross as a microcosm of the social events unfolding throughout the country during a period when ripples of the cultural implications of the civil rights movement widened out into the corridors of college halls. Well-intentioned college administrators such as Rev. Brooks were seeking to contribute to the social uplift of impoverished groups. In doing so they struggled with establishing an unprecedented balance between providing support and accommodation to a critical mass of black students, while also ensuring fairness and equity to all students. For example they dealt with questions about developing black housing, creating black studies programs, altering the liberal arts core and hiring black faculty.

Because this a multi-biography, this is an exploration into the lives of ordinary individuals striving for personal achievement while also making sense of their obligations to their families and communities during times of tremendous turbulence. It is a close look into Catholic education and its historical role in providing social uplift to under-privileged peoples. Most of Rev.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Webster TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I met Edward P. Jones at an academic event a few years ago, and it is an understatement to say he is man who does not suffer fools. He wasn't a popular speaker to some, in my mind because he didn't fall back on the usual patronizing spiel used by visiting writers, and was dismissive of obvious questions and deliberately insulting. Personally, I liked him and found his visit very refreshing. I asked him a deliberately suck-up question, "What's it like to win the Pulitzer Prize," for "Known World," and he answered with a personal anecdote that included him (if I recall) sleeping through the message, while he slept on the floor because he didn't have a bed. He said he had saved the answering machine message to this day.

Reading about his college history in "Fraternity" gave a much broader context to that brief presentation. Given his own youth and struggles, and the situation he and his classmates found themselves in during 1968-72, I can appreciate how little patience he probably has with college students of this era.

"Fraternity" is a valuable historical lesson and a reminder of things we now take for granted. The book's events take place in the wake of the death of Martin Luther King, and in 2011, it's easy to forget that King was not the revered figure he is now, with many whites - including a would-be priest at Clarence Thomas' seminary - openly happy that he had been killed.

The success of the five men examined in "Fraternity" was no guarantee, with a variety of obstacles placed against them. "Fraternity" does an excellent job at showing the human struggle these men dealt with at an unfamiliar but ultimately welcoming enviornment.

The book is not a recreation of scenes. There is very little dialogue, or 'action.
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