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Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America Hardcover – March 6, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,000 ratings

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  • Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Must-read, cannot-put-down history." (New York Times)

“A powerful and well-told drama of Southern injustice.” (Chicago Tribune)


"Suspenseful and historically meticulous." (Christian Science Monitor)

"Deliver(s) the shock of a crime thriller." (Associated Press)

"A taut, intensely readable narrative." (Boston Globe)


“Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove 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.” (Salon)

“(An) excellent telling of one of the most difficult cases Thurgood Marshall ever argued...An important, and hopefully never forgotten, chapter of American history.” (The Seattle Times)

“King traces the pernicious tentacles of bigotry and expertly depicts the role of the press, the cast of characters and the entire contextual story of civil-rights law and the NAACP. Deeply researched and superbly composed.” (Kirkus, Starred Review) 

"Very few books combine the depth of research and narrative power about a subject of such pivotal significance.” (Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White)

"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." (Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age)


"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." (Wil Haygood, author of King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.)

From the Back Cover

Devil in the Grove is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.

In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”

And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight—not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.

Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.”


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4.7 out of 5 stars
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R Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars A travesty of justice!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible horror story!
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C-Edward Boston
5.0 out of 5 stars Hang on ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 9, 2013
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G.A
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, painful but ultimately a really good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars YOU'RE DEAD BETWEEN THE EARS IF THIS BOOK DOESN'T AFFECT YOU
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John Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart stopping reminder of the recent past
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 4, 2013
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunned.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2017
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Ana Vacas
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, tragic but optimistic.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 29, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking yet compelling
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DeltaAlphaXray
5.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing yet brilliant account
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Mr. Mick Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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dimpledore
5.0 out of 5 stars So very highly recommend.
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Joe Mayo
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book about and amazing man.
Reviewed in Canada on December 3, 2013
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Bob Levy
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in years
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