Family man Jack Hall wants nothing more than to be a respectable newspaper reporter, see a good baseball game now and again, love his wife, and watch his son grow up in their middle-class, white community. Then he finds himself on the fault line where black meets white in the American South of the late 1950s.
Still reeling from an explosive confrontation that put his family in jeopardy (detailed in Richard Doster's first book, Safe at Home), Jack takes a job with the Atlanta Constitution and moves his wife and son south. He's thrilled when he's introduced to legendary editor Ralph McGill, an outspoken opponent of segregation who promptly sends Jack to Montgomery to investigate reports of a bus boycott.
There Jack meets another man on the fault line: Martin Luther King Jr. Profoundly moved by King's commitment to Christian philosophy, Jack's writing begins to reflect a need for racial equality and tolerance that isn't always well received-even by his own wife. As the years pass, Jack covers stories from Little Rock to Greensboro, about Southerners from Lester Maddox to Flannery O'Connor-always using his writing as a conscience for the South he loves so much.
But once again, historic events sweep Jack-and his idealistic son, Chris-into harm's way. Will this be the collision that destroys his family forever?
|Publisher:||Cook, David C|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The turbulent 50's and segregation vs. integration in the South. What happens when you take actual events (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, integrating Little Rock) and insert a fictional reporter and his family into the events. Richard Doster takes us on a ride back to the 50's and brings those events alive. It took me just a few chapters to get into the book, this is book #2 and I haven't read #1 so I had to get acquainted with the family and what they had gone through in #1. But, it didn't take long for me to get very interested in the family and the events going on. I got some amazing insight into some of the events like Rosa Parks and the bus strike that happened as a result, and the Little Rock 9. So much so that I actually took it upon myself to do further research. I plan on getting book #1 "Safe At Home" and having my kids read these as part of their high school American History. These books are that good at making history come alive.
Crossing the Lines by Richard Doster is the sequel to Safe at Home, but it's not necessary to have read that volume in order to fall in love with this rich characterization of the South in the 1950s. Jack Hall is moving with his wife Rose Marie and son Chris to Atlanta after their home was bombed because of their association with a black baseball player. Jack initially takes a position at a newspaper but then begins a magazine with two friends to emphasize the South that the world isn't seeing. In the midst of Civil Rights movement, relations between black and white are strained in the deep South and in the Hall household. Jack meets various important figures, including Martin Luther King Jr, of the movement which opens his eyes to the injustice facing blacks and makes him question what's right and what should a good man do. I loved this book and didn't want it to ever end. By introducing the concept of a magazine, Doster is able to include fascinating stories about the birth of Rock and Roll and Nascar and an essay by Flannery O'Connor about Southern literature. Jack and his friends begin the magazine because they realize that the North and the rest of the world think of Southerners as angry, racists. They want to emphasize the wonderful and beautiful things about their beloved home while gently introducing controversial topics. The South still suffers from some of this misconceptions, and Doster tackles each one smoothly. There are so many books on the market now about the South during the Civil Rights era that are filled with white characters who are 100% for the rights of blacks, but Doster reflects a more accurate history in the Hall family. Rose Marie thinks that individual blacks are okay, but doesn't want them dating her son, eating in the same restaurant or using the same bathrooms. Chris is ferocious in his defense of his black friends. Jack is caught in the middle. He has many friends who are black, but he has a hard time understanding why things need to change. The book is told through Jack's eyes, and the reader sees his gradual understanding of the injustice his friends face every day. This book ends in 1960 with much more to come in the Civil Rights movement, and I look forward to travelling to that era with the Hall family again soon.