The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson

81%

13 Critic Reviews

Even if his own Southern white do-gooder bias occasionally peeks out from behind the otherwise elegant and sophisticated prose, Tyson effectively recasts the killing of an innocent black boy, re-investigates the subsequent trial that took place...
-LA Times

Synopsis

This extraordinary New York Times bestseller reexamines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement—the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till—“and demands that we do the one vital thing we aren’t often enough asked to do with history: learn from it” (The Atlantic).

In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves “the Emmett Till generation” launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till’s lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history.

But what actually happened to Emmett Till—not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till “unfolds like a movie” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till’s innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. “Jolting and powerful” (The Washington Post), the book “provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions” (Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Carry Me Home) and “calls us to the cause of justice today” (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP).
 

About Timothy B. Tyson

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Timothy B. Tyson is a professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His last book, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (UNC Press, 1999), won the James Rawley Prize and was co-winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize. "From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published January 31, 2017 by Simon & Schuster. 305 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 19 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Blood of Emmett Till
All: 13 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 20 2016

..not much else in Tyson's book is likely to constitute fresh news. Nonetheless, the well-presented details on the buildup to the murder, the incident in the store, the brutality of the killers, the mostly pro forma law enforcement investigation, the trial of the two defendants, and their unsurprising acquittals add atmosphere.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Apr 15 2017

Cinematically engaging, harrowing, and poignant, Tyson’s monumental work illuminates Emmett Till’s murder and serves as a powerful reminder that certain stories in history merit frequent retelling.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by JOSEPH P. WILLIAMS on Jan 30 2017

A terrific writer and storyteller, Tyson compels a closer look at a heinous crime and the consequential decisions, large and small, that made it a national issue.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rebecca Carroll on Mar 03 2017

Even if his own Southern white do-gooder bias occasionally peeks out from behind the otherwise elegant and sophisticated prose, Tyson effectively recasts the killing of an innocent black boy, re-investigates the subsequent trial that took place...

Read Full Review of The Blood of Emmett Till | See more reviews from LA Times

USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Gene Seymour on Jan 30 2017

...Tyson recounts, applying diligent research, scrupulous perspective and a vigorous aptitude for weaving pertinent public and intimate details, Emmett Till’s murder became a story the nation couldn’t avoid.

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20Something Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on Feb 01 2017

In reframing this tragic tale, Tyson (author of BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME, an account of a similar, less publicized incident in his hometown) reminds us starkly that there was a time when American blacks, in the South and elsewhere, lived in grinding poverty and near-constant fear.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Feb 16 2017

Just as Mamie Bradley's decision shone essential light on what happened to her son, so does this book. As Tyson writes, "The bloody and unjust arc of our history will not bend upward if we merely pretend that history did not happen here. We cannot transcend our past without confronting it."

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Look At OKC

Good
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer on Feb 05 2017

Indeed, this is as hot-button as they come, and it's likely not the definitive word on this murder. Stay tuned — and in the meantime, “The Blood of Emmett Till” is the title to remember.

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AuthorsDen

Above average
on Apr 19 2017

He does mention Michael Brown, but, curiously, he doesn't say at thing about the young boy with the toy gun that looked like the real thing who was summarily shot...I also expected to hear something about the Freedom Riders...I guess Tyson didn't want to wander too far astray from the Emmett Till murder.

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BG Daily News

Above average
Reviewed by Leonard Pitts Jr. on Feb 26 2017

So “The Blood of Emmett Till” is a work critical not just to our understanding of something that happened in America in 1955 but of what happens in America here and now. It is a jolting and powerful book. But it might have been even better.

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Santa Fe New Mexican

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Levin on Feb 24 2017

Tyson’s descriptions of Till’s pulverized body are stark and devastating. That human beings could savagely kill another person — a child — for a perceived infraction of their self-serving caste system summons an instant sense of shame and rage at the abject racist history of the United States.

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Decatur Daily

Excellent
Reviewed by Wylheme H. Ragland on Mar 19 2017

"The Blood of Emmett Till" by Tyson is a must-read for historians, research scholars and people who love to read. This book adds another layer to the discussion of southern history...

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https://www.booklistonline.com

Excellent
Reviewed by June Sawyers on Jan 01 2017

Although much has been written about the tragic death of young Emmett Till in 1955 Mississippi, Tyson offers new perspectives in this searing account, which is especially relevant today given the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of the so-called alt-right and its echoes of white supremacy.

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Reader Rating for The Blood of Emmett Till
89%

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