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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In the summer of 1998, Americans were addicted to their daily dose of news about the president and a young Washington intern, when suddenly a very different news story penetrated their consciousness. In a small town in Texas, a 49-year-old black man was chained to a truck and dragged to his death by three white men. Almost overnight, we became familiar with the terms "Jasper, Texas," and "James Byrd Jr." And we wondered how such a vicious, gruesome act could occur in a civilized world.
Dina Temple-Raston aims to answer this question in her hard-hitting and compelling account. Beginning with the first portentous phone call to the local sheriff soon after Byrd's body was discovered, Temple-Raston takes a closer look at the underpinnings of this community steeped in "antebellum traditions." It's a community, she says, where white employers viewed their black workers "on the level of a favorite domesticated animal." Clearly, and with riveting detail, she recounts the murder and subsequent trials of the three assailants, introducing readers to a range of complex characters. With a straightforwardness that begs comparison to Truman Capote's classic murder chronicle In Cold Blood, Temple-Raston explores one of the most horrific -- and most significant -- moments in recent American history. (Winter 2002 Selection)