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Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement Paperback – October 18, 1999

4.9 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

John Lewis is an authentic American hero, a modest man from the most humble of beginnings who left a rural Alabama cotton farm 40 years ago and strode into the forefront of the civil rights movement. One of the young people who brought the teachings of Ghandi and King to the lunch counters of Nashville in 1960, Lewis suffered taunts and threats, beatings and arrests. He spoke at the historic 1963 March on Washington and became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The nation, tuned to the nightly news, watched in horror as state troopers clubbed him viciously, fracturing his skull as he led a march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. Today, he's the only member of Congress who can be proud of having been carried off to jail more than 40 times. With the help of a collaborator, journalist Michael D'Orso, this remarkable man has written a truly remarkable book. Walking with the Wind is a deeply moving personal memoir that skillfully balances the intimate and touching recollections of the deeply thoughtful Lewis with the intense national drama that was the civil rights movement. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Lewis, an Alabama sharecropper's son, went to Nashville to attend a Baptist college where, at the end of the 1950s, his life and the new civil rights movement became inexorably entwined. First came the lunch counter sit-ins; then the Freedom Rides; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Lewis's election to its chairmanship; the voter registration drives; the 1963 march on Washington; the Birmingham church bombings; the murders during the Freedom Summer; the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; Bloody Sunday in Selma in 1964; and the march on Montgomery. Lewis was an active, leading member during all of it. Much of his account, written with freelancer D'Orso, covers the same territory as David Halberstam's The Children?Halberstam himself appears here briefly as a young reporter?but Lewis imbues it with his own observations as a participant. He is at times so self-effacing in this memoir that he underplays his role in the events he helped create. But he has a sharp eye, and his account of Selma and the march that followed is vivid and personal?he describes the rivalries within the movement as well as the enemies outside. After being forced out of SNCC because of internal politics, Lewis served in President Carter's domestic peace corps, dabbled in local Georgia politics, then in 1986 defeated his old friend Julian Bond in a race for Congress, where he still serves. Lewis notes that people often take his quietness for meekness. His book, a uniquely well-told testimony by an eyewitness, makes clear that such an impression is entirely inaccurate.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st Harvest ed edition (October 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156007088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156007085
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't like memoirs. They're usually self-serving, ego-driven and full of cheap shots. Walking With the Wind is none of those. John Lewis and his co-author have crafted a marvelously told tale of the civil rights movement. Perhaps no one but Lewis, King and Abernathy could write about the movement with this scope. Lewis was there for all of it, from jails, to voting, to sit-ins. And he describes it beautifully with the perfect pace.
I think the book's best chapters are the ones that cover what happened in Selma. I've read a half-dozen histories of the civil rights movement and none of them have recounted the Selma story better than Lewis does here.
Lewis also gives us insight into several other movement leaders. Not even Taylor Branch (the Pulitzer-winning historian and journalist) tells us about Jim Bevel with this much color. Lewis tells fascinating stories about Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael and the relations between SNCC and the other movement-leading groups. It's the kind of inside baseball a good memoir delivers.
I'm thrilled that I read this book. It has greatly contributed to my understanding of the civil rights movement.
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Format: Hardcover
Uplifting. Eloquent. Brilliant. Inspiring. Patriotic.
John Lewis' life story is the story of a genuine American hero. The depth and strength of his moral conviction shows what character can accomplish. This book, just as this man's life, cannot be overrated or over-appreciated.
John Lewis, as a young man had the calling. His deeply religious upbringing ultimately led him to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and work with Rev. Martin Luther King. He sat in where Black people were not wanted. He demanded for Black people the rights to which all Americans have an expectation. He walked the walk at a time when it was not only unpopular, but downright death defying.
He moved from the pulpit to the halls of Congress, where he serves to this day.
As inspiring a work as I have ever read. Ought to be required reading by everyone in the Nation for a deeper understanding of the power of the American spirit.
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By A Customer on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Each night I can't put "Walking With the Wind" down! Reading the autobiography of Congressman Lewis' life and work in the civil rights movement brought tears to my eyes and a heaviness of heart to realize that people hate their fellow man so much that they'd commit such acts of violence based solely on the way someone looks!
Whenever I read a book like this, I think to myself: "Thank God someone went before me because I couldn't have done it!" The tremendous amount of bravery these people had is so inspirational and heart wrenching! Not knowing your enemey is one thing, but these people knew the enemy and what they were capable of and yet, they still persevered and triumphed.
As an African American I am so proud of all those who sacrificed so very much, even sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. Every American needs to realize the great courage these people exhibited to make this land a better place for us all.
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Format: Paperback
I had become interested in learning more about the civil rights movement during this year's presidential election, so when I came across this book "by accident" when visiting a local book store I decided to give it a try. This book, without a doubt, is one of the best books I have ever read. "Walking with the Wind" is a compelling first-hand account of the civil rights movement from the perspective of one man who was on the front lines of the movement from day one. John Lewis was and still is a hero for all human-kind: a fierce, determined patriot who faced hatred and bigotry with a clear vision for a desegregated nation. His storytelling of that time in American history reads like a novel, filled with passion, detail, and personal insight into the core of the movement.

I cried many times reading this beautifully written memoir: cried for the suffering and hatred experienced by African Americans at the hands of supposedly Christian white people; cried for the depravity of heart and soul in those who inflicted such horrors upon others just because of the color of their skin; cried for the courage and hope of all the men and women who placed their lives at risk so that we might all be free of discrimination and segregation; cried for being inspired by those who came before me, with a newly found conviction to help make my country a more unified place for all to live.

This book should be required reading in every high school in this country. I am in my early 50s and needed a refresher course in the civil rights movement; my children barely know of it. We can never be allowed to forget this tragic, ugly period in our history, just like we can never be allowed to forget the Holocaust. John Lewis has provided us with a primer on the 1960s civil rights movement that is a compelling, passionate, probing, insightful look not only at the movement but also of the incredible human spirit.

This book is not to be missed!!
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Format: Paperback
The following is my review of the hardcover from the CNN website. "Walking With the Wind" holds up even better today. This is a must-read for those who are interested in the brave women and men who worked behind the scenes in the Civil Rights struggle.
Walking With the Wind by John Lewis
Review by Robert Nebel
(CNN) -- As a child, Georgia congressman John Lewis knew he was the "different seed" from the rest of his cotton farming family in 1940's Troy, Alabama. Like the orderly rows of cotton plants on the farm, Lewis felt his parents and siblings all too often "fell in line" and easily accepted the harsh Jim Crow segregation laws of the South. Even as a young boy, Lewis knew that he had to be the one to fall out of that orderly line and challenge the system -- a system that he felt kept those in his family and race from achieving their full potential.
Little did Lewis know that by being "the different seed" he would one day be at the forefront of changing America's attitude toward race relations. That theme plays throughout Lewis' autobiography, "Walking With The Wind".
Lewis starts out recounting a childhood filled with painful memories of separation, discrimination, degradation and isolation. Pages upon pages vividly describe separate facilities for African-Americans; violence against African-Americans; and southern legislators who were in cahoots with law enforcement officials who covered up countless wrongs against African-Americans.
Going against the advice of his parents, Lewis embarked on a journey of challenging Jim Crow laws and later, attitudes through non-violent protest. The peaceful protest ideas sprouted and came to fruition for Lewis when he was a student in Nashville during the 1950's.
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