Book Blog -- BROTHERHOOD by A.B. Westrick

Katherine Longshore 2 Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Winston Churchill famously said, "History is written by the victors."

Every once in a while a story comes along that tells us the other side.  Every child in the United States gets taught the story of the Civil War--the slave trade, political and economic issues leading up to it and the triumph of the Union and freedom of the slaves following it.  But especially as children, we rarely get a glimpse from the perspective of the South.

The year is 1867, the South has been defeated, and the American Civil War is over. But the conflict goes on. Yankees now patrol the streets of Richmond, Virginia, and its citizens, both black and white, are struggling to redefine their roles and relationships. By day, fourteen-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons with Rachel, a freed slave, at her school for African-American children. By night he follows his older brother to the meetings of a group whose stated mission is to protect Confederate widows like their mother. But as the true murderous intentions of the brotherhood—-now known as the Ku Klux Klan—-are revealed, Shad finds himself trapped between old loyalties and what he knows is right. 

A powerful and unflinching story of a family caught in the enormous social and political upheaval of the period of Reconstruction.

"Unflinching" is a very good word to use to describe this book.  Hearing the story from Shad's perspective, we can begin to understand why he joined the KKK, and why he wanted to remain loyal to it.  We can see his confusion over the shifting relationships within the Old South and his chafing opposition to Union rule.  But we can also see these attitudes and opinions challenged and through that, how a boy raised to believe in prejudice can begin to make his own judgments.


Wow, that's challenging subject matter to write about. Respect.

I love books that give you another "side" to history. This sounds like a winner!

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