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While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement by [McKinstry, Carolyn Maull, George, Denise]
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While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 476 customer reviews

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Length: 316 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 4511 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JZYB20
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,742 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I could place a copy of it into the hands of everyone I know.

While Carolyn Maull was growing up in "black" Birmingham, I was spending every long summer of my school years visiting my grandparents in "white" Birmingham. While her father was waiting on tables at the Birmingham Country Club, I was receiving gracious engraved invitations from my grandparents' friends to enjoy swimming there during my summer visits. I wonder how many times I was entertained at Sunday after-church dinner in that sunlit, high-ceilinged dining room.

I wonder how many times I was driven past the imposing structure of the 16th Street Baptist Church. It's as familiar to me as any other Birmingham landmark. But where I might have seen it in passing, Carolyn Maull was there every Sunday morning of her life. It was her church, her Sunday School, her four young friends whose lives were destroyed by hatred. For as ignorant as I was (and I was pretty ignorant), I carried one searing lesson away from that terrible September day when four young girls had their lives snatched away. I was the same age as they were--twelve years old in 1963. I've been able to move freely through my life's story--through school and college, marriage, family, and career, and into the sorrows of widowhood and the joys of being a grandmother. I've been able to do all of that, but their lives were stopped in an instant. They were robbed of their futures by a monstrous hatred, shored up by an unbelievable indifference.

Read this book and Carolyn Maull will tell you what it was like to grow up as an African-American child in the most segregated, most racially violent city in America.
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Format: Hardcover
This memoir, written by a survivor of a Klan-planted bomb that went off in her church and killed four of her teenage girlfriends, both inspired and educated me. Carolyn Maull McKinstry tells of growing up in Birmingham (called "Bombingham" by many at the time) and how the tragic bombing of September 15, 1963 shaped her life for years to come. And though this tragedy occured in church, she looked to Jesus to heal her and help her forgive.

This well-written personal story contains a timeline, photos, copies of Jim Crow Laws and excerpts of speeches from Martin Luther King, Jr., John Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. It is very helpful in getting an overall picture of the segregated south and the Civil Rights Movement.

I plan to use the book when teaching about the Civil Rights movement in our homeschool.

Tyndale House provided me with a review copy of this book which is no way influenced my review.
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Format: Hardcover
"Not many young people can pinpoint the exact date, time, and place they grew up and became an adult. I can. It was September 15, 1963, 10:22 a.m., at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama."

While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry (with Denise George) is a moving memoir of horror and forgiveness. What struck me almost every page is that this happened less than 50 years ago. The title kept being played in my head with the question, "How could the world simply let this happen?"

The book details the accounts of the murders of Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley who died when Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed. More than that though, it details the struggles of of the civil rights movement through the eyes of the author. It is simply an amazing account of two wars. One, the fight for equality for Black America, and two, the fight for meaning in the heart of a young girl who was forever changed in a moment.

I have to admit that I did not think I would enjoy this book. I assumed it would be of the "all whites are evil" variety. It was nothing of the sort. There was horror, but there was also hope. There was tragedy, but there was also triumph. There was hatred, but it was not ultimately returned - there was forgiveness.

As I finished, the same question continues to haunt me, "How could this happen?" And yet tragedy continues to flourish and the world still remains silent. But that, is for another post.

A couple of theological issues aside, my children will be reading this book; they will not forget, and they will never simply "watch".

Love in the Truth.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the story of someone who lived during the height of the civil rights struggle and was actually in the 16th Street Baptist church when the bombings occurred. Should be riveting right? At least that was my expectation. I expected this book to take me where Spike Lee's documentary could not go. Unfortunately I set the bar too high or the author set hers too low.

The sequencing of Ms Mckinstry's story was absolutely horrendous! Not the fault of the author but the editor in my opinion. The story was being told by an adult but the 14 year old kept trying to have her voice heard. The time would change from 1963 to 1968 without a transition sentence and then to another year altogether.

Worst than the sequencing were the lengthy quotes from other people (mainly Dr. King). If you are already somewhat versed in the civil rights movement do you really need to read Dr. King's `'I have a Dream" speech within the pages of this particular story? These speeches and quotes are peppered throughout the entire book. I couldn't get through the book until I just started skipping them altogether.

Another thing that bugged me about the book was the author's numerous speculations about what people 'may' have thought. Example: her brother became quiet after the bombings. She states "he may have thought...". She did the same with her parents. If you never asked them how something affected them, please don't make it up unless you're writing fiction. Just stick to how it affected you.

All in all, if the book is re-edited to only include her story, be properly sequenced, and eliminate all the filler, it could be a worthy read
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