Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: Murder at Broad River Bridge by Bill Shipp

Murder at Broad River Bridge
by Bill Shipp

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Pages: 91
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  First published in 1981, Murder at the Broad River Bridge recounts the stunning details of the murder of Lieutenant Colonel Lemuel Penn by the Ku Klux Klan on a back-country Georgia road in 1964, nine days after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Longtime Atlanta Constitution reporter Bill Shipp gives us, with shattering power, the true story of how a good, innocent, "uninvolved" man was killed during the Civil Rights turbulence of the mid-1960s. Penn was a decorated veteran of World War II, a United States Army Reserve officer, and an African American, killed by racist, white vigilantes as he was driving home to Washington, D.C. from Fort Benning, Georgia.

Shipp recounts the details of the blind and lawless force that took Penn's life and the sorry mask of protective patriotism it hid behind. To read Murder at Broad River Bridge is to know with deep shock that it could be dated today, tonight, tomorrow. It is a vastly moving documentary drama.

Kritters Thoughts:  Just like the book yesterday, this one is a re release of an older book that completely fits into the narrative of our country right now.  I encourage readers to pick up this short book to reflect on our history in hopes that we try not to repeat it.  

A book that describes the true events that occurred on a backwoods road that ended up in the death of an upstanding African American by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.  It was so jarring to read about this, first knowing it was a true story and second that it was unprovoked - not that I think if it is provoked it is then right, but that they were just driving home through the night made the act that much more heartbreaking and I couldn't understand it.  

I am glad I read this book because I had never heard of it and even more so that this book put it into context as to the years leading up to it in Athens, GA and the climate and the aftermath of it all.  This book reminded me how much I love "true crime" stories and how much more of an impact a book can make when it is centered in something that truly happened.

I am sad that this book could easily be a story of an event in the news right now, it highlights how little we have grown from 50 years ago and how much our country needs to do to make places safer for everyone.  I wish that this book was just a story of something that happened the past and that we could confidently say that we are different, but we are not and we need to do so much.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2017 Challenge: 44 out of 50

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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