From Publishers Weekly
Fleming covered the social struggles of the 1960s for Newsweek
as its chief civil rights reporter. What makes this bracing memoir more than a simple morality tale about good activists versus evil traditionalists is Fleming's deep connection to Southern culture: raised in crushing poverty in smalltown North Carolina during the Depression, he was given over to a church orphanage at the tender age of eight when his mother could no longer afford to take care of him. Stumbling into journalism almost by accident, Fleming (now the L.A.-based spouse of Ann Taylor Fleming) began to see the racist culture around him in a new way, and vowed to expose the truth. Following this youthful and idealistic declaration is a harrowing and brutally honest account of Fleming's experiences on all sides of the civil rights battle: oafish, vile Klansmen as well as inspirational leaders, activists and everyday people struggling for equality are here, but more compelling are Fleming's own struggles to understand his place as a white Southerner in the midst of the chaos, fear, hatred and optimism that marked the South in the early 1960s. Eventually, the violence, both personal and political, overwhelmed Fleming, and he recounts in sobering detail his struggle to make sense of his life and his past in the years following the end of the Civil Rights movement. The territory may be familiar, but Fleming provides a complex and fresh perspective. (May)
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Fleming will forever be remembered as the Newsweek
reporter who was photographed after being severely beaten in the Watts riots of 1966. In this memoir, he recounts the long road that led to his reporting on race relations and the incendiary social issues that exploded that day. He was born in 1927 in a poor, bleak North Carolina community and raised in an orphanage when his mother could no longer afford to take care of him. Fleming left college early to begin life as a reporter with a small-town newspaper, covering the police beat with a cynical police chief who mistreated blacks. It was Fleming's first hint that, having grown up in an orphanage, his sympathies were with the underdog. He went on to cover the turbulent racial changes in the South, including James Meredith's enrollment at the University of Mississippi and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Medgar Evers. In this stunning memoir, Fleming offers the perspective of a poor white boy witnessing the racial turbulence that changed the U.S. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved