Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America (Paperback)

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Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before.

As Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns did for the story of America’s black migration, Gilbert King’s Devil in the Grove does for this great untold story of American legal history, a dangerous and uncertain case from the days immediately before Brown v. Board of Education in which the young civil rights attorney Marshall risked his life to defend a boy slated for the electric chair—saving him, against all odds, from being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.

Praise For…


“This story about four young black men who were accused of the rape of a white woman in Lake County, Fla., in 1949 — and what the local sheriff and his cronies, who were itching for a lynching, got away with — is a must-read, cannot-put-down history.”

“A powerful and well-told drama of Southern injustice.”

Devil in the Grove is a compelling look at the case that forged Thurgood Marshall’s perception of himself as a crusader for civil rights. . . . King’s style [is] at once suspenseful and historically meticulous”

“Superb.”

“Recreates an important yet overlooked moment in American history with a chilling, atmospheric narrative that reads more like a Southern Gothic novel than a work of history.”

“A taut, intensely readable narrative.”

“The story’s drama and pathos make it a page-turner, but King’s attention to detail, fresh material, and evenhanded treatment of the villains make it a worthy contribution to the history of the period, while offering valuable insight into Marshall’s work and life.”

“A thoroughgoing study of one of the most important civil-rights cases argued by Thurgood Marshall in dismantling Jim Crow strictures. . . . Deeply researched and superbly composed.”

“A compelling chronicle.”

“Gripping. . . . Lively and multidimensional.”

“The tragic Groveland saga -- with its Faulknerian echoes of racial injustice spinning around an accusation of rape -- comes astonishingly alive in Gilbert King’s narrative. It is both heartbreaking and unforgettable.”

“In the terrifying story of the Groveland boys Gilbert King recreates an extraordinary moment in America’s long, hard struggle for racial justice. Devil in the Grove is a harrowing, haunting, utterly mesmerizing book.”

“Gilbert King’s gut-wrenching, and captivating, narrative is civil rights literature at its best--meticulously researched, brilliantly written, and singularly focused on equal justice for all.”

“This is a haunting and compelling story, one of many in the campaign for racial justice. . . . This book is important because it is disturbing. And in that regard we cannot walk away from the story it tells.”

“Gilbert King has done a remarkable job of weaving together history, sociology, law and detective work of his own, to reveal facts that even I, one of the defense counsel in the case, had not been aware of until now.”

“[An] excellent book on a little known and horrifying incident in which four young black men were rounded up and accused of raping a white woman, readers cannot help but be awed by the bravery of those who took a stand in the late 1940s and early 1950s.”

“Its rich case history captures the beginning of the end of the most extreme forms of racism. . . . Very few books combine this depth of research and narrative power about a subject of such pivotal significance.”


Product Details
ISBN: 9780061792267
ISBN-10: 0061792268
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: February 19th, 2013
Pages: 464
Language: English
Series: P.S.