Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers.

Author:Wuske, Melissa
Position:Book review

Jim Dann (author); CHALLENGING THE MISSISSIPPI FIREBOMBERS; Baraka Books (Nonfiction: History) 24.95 ISBN: 9781926824789

Byline: Melissa Wuske

This book articulately conveys the author's experience during Freedom Summer and its impact on American life.

Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers is a firsthand, historical account of the fifteen months that encompassed Freedom Summer. Jim Dann captures this not-so-far-off era that was packed with contrasts: victory and intense loss, hatred and hope. Dann himself was one of the college students who took part in the voter registration drives of Freedom Summer. As a result, the book has the idealism of a young college student whose wisdom has deepened with age and the weight of history. His voice and memory will engage readers who are interested in how these polarizing conflicts shaped American culture and politics.

The book's foreword -- penned by civil-rights leader John Harris in January 2011, just a little more than a year before his death -- gives a simple yet compelling summary of Freedom Summer and its key issue, the right to vote. Harris's afterword summarizes the forces that led to landmark change -- disorganization of white supremacy groups and the determination of black citizens. Moreover, he points to important legacies of the era -- the women's- and gay-rights movements.

The book is organized as a chronological narrative beginning when Dann trekked from California to Ohio to Mississippi to be part...

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