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Extended Audio Sample The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan, by Laurence Leamer Click for printable size audiobook cover
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: Laurence Leamer Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartne Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Kennedy Women chronicles the powerful and spellbinding true story of a brutal race-based killing in 1981 and subsequent trials that undid one of the most pernicious organizations in American history—the Ku Klux Klan.

On a Friday night in March 1981, Henry Hays and James Knowles scoured the streets of Mobile in their car, hunting for a black man. The young men were members of Klavern 900 of the United Klans of America. They were seeking to retaliate after a largely black jury could not reach a verdict in a trial involving a black man accused of the murder of a white man. The two Klansmen found nineteen-year-old Michael Donald walking home alone. Hays and Knowles abducted him, beat him, cut his throat, and left his body hanging from a tree branch in a racially mixed residential neighborhood.

Arrested, charged, and convicted, Hays was sentenced to death—the first time in more than half a century that the state of Alabama sentenced a white man to death for killing a black man. On behalf of Michael’s grieving mother, Morris Dees, the legendary civil rights lawyer and cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a civil suit against the members of the local Klan unit involved and the UKA, the largest Klan organization. Charging them with conspiracy, Dees put the Klan on trial, resulting in a verdict that would level a deadly blow to its organization.

Based on numerous interviews and extensive archival research, The Lynching brings to life two dramatic trials, during which the Alabama Klan’s motives and philosophy were exposed for the evil they represent. In addition to telling a gripping and consequential story, Laurence Leamer chronicles the KKK and its activities in the second half the twentieth century, and illuminates its lingering effect on race relations in America today.

The Lynching includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “America’s unaddressed history of lynching and racial violence has left this nation vulnerable to horrific hate crimes, none more devastating than what is documented in this compelling book. We ignore Laurence Leamer’s account at our peril.”

    Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author

  • “For decades, Morris Dees has fearlessly demolished White Supremacist hate groups with his legal cunning. Laurence Leamer does a wonderful job in The Lynching describing how Dees put the KKK out of business. This legal thriller is destined to become a major motion picture. Highly recommended.”

    Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A powerful account of how a Ku Klux Klan–sanctioned lynching in Mobile, Alabama, paved the way for legal victories against such hate groups…Leamer confidently untangles the legal and social aspects of the story, showing how the South has grappled with the horrific legacy Donald’s murder represents. An engrossing true-crime narrative and a pertinent reminder of the consequences of organized hatred.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Leamer swiftly traces the entwined lives of three Alabama men—civil rights lawyer Morris Dees, Gov. George Wallace, and top Klansman Robert Shelton…Leamer’s slice of American civil rights history prefers courtrooms and the Capitol to churches and the streets, with Dees—a cunning and tenacious lawyer doing dangerously unpopular work—playing hero. This well-written, suspense-filled book vividly evokes themes from the ugly, not-so-distant past”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Like an episode of Law and Order with very high stakes…The writing is solid, the research (especially the interviews) imposing, the case important, and the book’s unquestionable hero, Dees, emerges powerfully. A great deal more will be written about Dees and his role in civil rights in the future, but this is a very good place to start.”


  • A BookRiot Pick for New Books of June 2016
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