Conducting hundreds of interviews during the course of over one year reporting on the ground, Washington Post writer Wesley Lowery traveled from Ferguson, Missouri, to Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland; and then back to Ferguson to uncover life inside the most heavily policed, if otherwise neglected, corners of America today.
His book is electric, because it is so well reported, so plainly told and so evidently the work of a man who has not grown a callus on his heart ... Mr. Lowery’s book is valuable for many reasons. He circles slowly and warily around the question of why, during Barack Obama’s presidency, so little has seemed to improve on the racial front ... Mr. Lowery collected hundreds of interviews for this book, and he recounts his visits to many cities to cover shootings. But his book never reads like a data dump. It has a warm, human tone.
...[an] insightful and unnerving inspection of the police and vigilante killings of black Americans since [Trayvon] Martin ... But the book is much more than a compilation of obituaries. Lowery draws crucial connections between the 'centuries-long assault of the black body,' and contemporary black massacre. He turns a critical eye toward journalists who congratulate themselves for orchestrating social justice movements, while conflating peaceful protesters with vandals and looters in their reporting. He deftly discredits the 'black-and-white binary of good guys and bad guys,' and exposes the power of public relations.
The solemn march from death to protest, from another death to another protest, from racist outburst to protest again, forces the reader to live in the feedback loop of the black psyche, as each horrific milestone produces momentary outrage but seemingly little more ... offers a window onto the journalistic process, and the countervailing pressures to tell an important and awful story fairly ... Lowery is a skillful reporter and storyteller. He takes the reader through the laborious task of reportage with a humanity and forthrightness, making this book more than just a catalog of tragedy.