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on December 30, 2011
Sheriff Jeff seems to not have a mind of his own. His only thinking was to keep his position and politics. Author did attempt to show small kinder side to him. The rest of the characters in the book were lunatics but descriptions were great. At times I became so angry I thought I may have to stop reading this book. I did continue on. It many be a fiction story but this really did happen. I have always been intrested in this time period and thought I would have liked to live then. I don't think I would have made it long. I would have been shot for fighting for human rights. What is a political lynching!!! This is the second I have read by this author. I think all the many authors I have been introduced to through my kindle. I never would have chanced buying them or even finding them in our small town library in Northeast Pa. I love it. I plan to read more of this author.Please never forget this time period in our history so will never happen again.
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on July 31, 2016
Many years ago, as a young person, I read Erskine Caldwell. Just read Trouble in July again. The impact of Jim Crow in the South, is still very disturbing. Caldwell writes so well-- his characters are easy to visualize.
I enjoyed reading this book even though the story is not uplifting.
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on November 2, 2014
A sad tale of how racial tension worked in the southern states. A white girl accuses a young black of attempted rape. Word is spread all over the county. A lynch mob is forming while the sheriff prefers to go fishing so he does not have to be around when the lynching occurs. Fearing his next election hinges on not standing on the right side of the law.
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on February 23, 2014
I got this book as it was required for my American history class. All things considered, it was a good read, but I felt it lacked something with its way of bouncing around between characters, seeming to place the blame on everyone but who was responsible. It is a very interesting look at the post-Civil War south in the time of lynchings. Get it.
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on May 23, 2008
Set in his familiar sandy hills in the Savannah River Valley, Caldwell presents another piece to what he called his Cyclorama of Modern Southern life. The tragedy of Southern race relations after Emancipation is allegorized in the lynching of a young black man for the rape of a white sharecropper's daughter.

The closest thing to a main character is the Sheriff of the county, Jeff McCurtain. McCurtain is convinced to "keep the lynching politically clean." Representing the political powers of the inter War South, McCurtain is afraid to stand up to the people in the name of the law. As he tries to avoid contact with the lynch mob, he also seeks out a Black man who he considers "harmless" and therefore shouldn't be mixed up in the whole lynching.

Characters represent the three commonly thought views of Black Americans held by Southern whites at the time. The rich landowner wants the sheriff to catch the suspected racist, so as life can get back to normal and other blacks will keep working his plantation. The catalyst of the incident, a politically involved woman who may be sleeping with the pastor, is circulating a petition that all blacks should be rounded up and sent back to Africa. Yet the third is a man in the mob who is against the petition:

"The best way is just like I said. String one of them up ever so often. That'll make all of them keep their place. Hell, if there wasn't no more niggers in the country I'd feel lost without them. Besides, who'd do all the work if the niggers were sent away?"

Caldwell appears to have his finger on the pulse of white social-economic view of black Southerners. Like the helots and the Spartans, the backward stagnant economic system of the interwar South is based on white Southerners keeping black Southerners in virtual economic servitude.

"Trouble in July" is the most real of Caldwell's novels in his "cyclorama" that I have read yet. The allegory is not too far from the tree as the almost surreal characters in "Tobacco Road" and "God's Little Acre." However, it does not have the full emersion in the world of the sand hills that the other two have. One almost expects the end where McCurtain begins to question his own actions during the story.

All in all I find it not a great work. Its subject matter is more important to the modern reader than some of Caldwell's other works as he like Ida B. Wells, throws the Southern view of civilization upon its head. Additionally, it reminds us why the words of people like Kelly Tilghman, the Golf channel anchor, and Bill O'Reilly (declaring he would lynch Michelle Obama if there was evidence) are so dangerous. People are quick to join mobs and the law is slow to challenge what seems the will of the people even if it is against the very things we stand for.
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on March 29, 2016
Excellent. Erskine Caldwell is one of the best Southern writers, along with Faulkner and Carson McCullers. The novel is moving; you can't read it without feeling deeply touched.
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on September 11, 2017
i was fascinated by this subject even though I knew it would make me so angry and upset. I love history but the focus in the way the story was told was awful. I get mad when I have to read about all the awful ways that African Americans were and still are treated. From the lackluster characters whose numbers are too large to all the unforgettable towns, creeks, swamps and roads which have not merits or essence, I couldn't wait until this farce ended. To spend an entire novel waiting for someone to be castrated and elaborate on all these racist characters fill me with bile. The author did not have the decency to give the victim a paragraph to discuss his feelings. Also, to think how crazy southern Anglos react in an attempt to send all the African Americans back to Africa is as crazy as a "Soup sandwich":.

I will make sure to stir away from this author.
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on January 10, 2018
Dramatic and shocking. But too brief.
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on January 23, 2017
Very real as to the age in which it was written.
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on February 21, 2015
difficult to read due to content. well written
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