Truevine, Beth Macy, Little Brown, October 2016
Truevine is the type of nonfiction book that can get lost in the cascade of new novels in fall, but this would be a mistake, because this is a historical book of importance.
Beth Macy uses her reporting skills to ably describe the shocking case of the kidnapping and economic abuse of two African American albino brothers, but more than that, she also paints the picture of the Jim Crow South with vivid intensity. This a story of a family destroyed, the subjugation of black citizens in the Jim Crow South, the KKK, power, economic deprivation and abuse, but, most of all, the fierce determination of a mother to recover her family.
In order to tell the story of the Muse brothers, Macy also provides an examination of the “freak show” phenomenon and the power of the circus in America from post Civil War through the days after WWII.
In our time of continued racial unrest, it is good to review history to help us make judgments on our nation, our culture, our society, our justice and economic system and ourselves. Through the personal story of two brothers and their family, Truevine gives us a wealth of information on these huge issues. While there is much in this book to provoke anger, shame and disbelief, this is also a complex story that also offers an insight into family love.
To be an informed citizen, read Truevine.