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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gilbert King Narrator: Peter Francis James Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the US Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.

In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”

And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight—not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that US Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A powerful and well-told drama of Southern injustice.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Suspenseful and historically meticulous.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Delivers the shock of a crime thriller.”

    Associated Press

  • “A taut, intensely readable narrative.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Gilbert King’s Devil in the Grove recreates an important yet overlooked moment in American history with a chilling, atmospheric narrative that reads more like a Southern Gothic novel than a work of history.”

    Salon

  • “[An] excellent telling of one of the most difficult cases Thurgood Marshall ever argued…An important, and hopefully never forgotten, chapter of American history.”

    Seattle Times

  • “King traces the pernicious tentacles of bigotry and expertly depicts the role of the press, the cast of characters and the entire contextual story of civil-rights law and the NAACP. Deeply researched and superbly composed.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Very few books combine the depth of research and narrative power about a subject of such pivotal significance.”

    Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White

  • “In the terrifying story of the Groveland boys Gilbert King re-creates an extraordinary moment in America’s long, hard struggle for racial justice. Devil in the Grove is a harrowing, haunting, utterly mesmerizing book.”

    Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

  • “The tragic Groveland saga—with its Faulknerian echoes of racial injustice spinning around an accusation of rape—comes astonishingly alive in Gilbert King’s narrative. It is both heartbreaking and unforgettable.”

    Wil Haygood, author of King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

  • “This biography of Thurgood Marshall uses as its centerpiece a tragic case in central Florida that put the civil rights lawyer at great personal risk. Peter Francis James offers a solid and, at times, compelling narration. His even tone heightens the almost unfathomable racism that drove whites to preserve their primacy. James also is effective when he uses a more colloquial style of speech for direct quotations although, because his range of voices is limited, some of the white speakers end up sounding a bit like black speakers. But this is only a minor issue and certainly doesn’t detract from the overall performance. In all, this is an informative, even insightful, look at one of our nation’s most influential figures in the Civil Rights Movement. James’ reading makes the work even more visceral in its impact. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • A Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for 2012
  • A Boston Globe Book of the Year for 2012
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title” for Nonfiction, March 2012
  • A 2013 Chautauqua Prize Finalist
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2014 Audie Award for History
  • A 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime
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About the Author

Gilbert King has written about US Supreme Court history for the New York Times and the Washington Post, and is a featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine’s history blog, Past Imperfect. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winner Devil in the Grove and The Execution of Willie Francis. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.