From Publishers Weekly
Historian Masur (1831: Year of Eclipse
) has written a gem of a book based on an iconic, Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph by Stanley Forman. Taken on April 5, 1976, at a Boston rally against forced school busing, it's a stark, frightening image of an angry white teenager brandishing an American flag at a well-dressed African-American man, apparently trying to impale him. Published on the front page of newspapers across the country, the photo crystallized the complex issues that enflamed Boston during the city's school busing crisis. Masur addresses the source of the picture's power on a multitude of levels, bringing uncommon wisdom and explanatory skills to his analysis of the collision of the Civil Rights movement, racism and community concerns about court-ordered busing programs. Masur is superb when deconstructing the photo, pointing out the elements of its composition that infused it with meaning, while at the same time asking provocative questions that illuminate how the interpretation of a photograph can affect our perception of an event. Equally compelling is Masur's discussion of the shifting and potent historical symbolism of the American flag, which stands at the metaphorical center of the photo. (Apr.)
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Contributing to memoirs from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Katzenbach combines personal anecdotes with reflections on the rule of law in the American federal system. A lawyer, Katzenbach held posts in the Department of Justice, including that of attorney general, which he resigned in 1966 to become an undersecretary at the State Department. History may little note his brief diplomatic career, but it recognizes his role as a primary advisor on civil rights to the Kennedy brothers and Lyndon Johnson. After recounting his recruitment into the new administration in 1961, Katzenbach relates the pressure particular campaigns of the civil rights movement brought to bear on the federal government. Integrating universities in Mississippi and Alabama, integrating public accommodations, protecting the Selma marchers, and gaining congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965––Katzenbach played a crucial part in the federal government’s action in all these events. When added to his personal interactions with JFK, RFK, and LBJ, Katzenbach’s recollections constitute a significant new source for larger collections on the turbulent 1960s. --Gilbert Taylor