One Night in Mississippi – Mississippi, USA – Craig Shreve

one night in misssippi

Why a booktrail?

A dark period of American history. A family torn apart by the events in Mississippi and a brother’s desperate search for the truth

Story in a nutshell

One Night in Mississippi is the story of Graden Williams and his brother Warren. When Graden is murdered one night in Mississippi, the brutality of the crime is shocking and so Warren dedicates his life to getting justice.

Warren suffers heavily with guilt and regret, angry that those responsible got away with the crime. More than forty years after the death, laws are changing and so Warren may have the best chance yet of avenging his brother’s death.

He’s angry and wants answers so his search for the one man still at large takes him to a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada but what he finds there is not what he expects and he is forced to question what he has always held to be the truth.

Place and setting

 MISSISSIPPI - Jackson - Mississippi State Capitol MISSISSIPPI - Jackson - Jackson Municipal Court ILLINOIS- Chicago Jackson park Where Warren sits in his dream and thinks of freedom ILLINOIS - CHICAGO - Loyola University where Warren studies PHILADELPHIA - The home of the Liberty Bell and where Etta lives

MISSISSIPPI – Jackson –
Mississippi State Capitol
MISSISSIPPI – Jackson – Jackson Municipal Court
ILLINOIS- Chicago Jackson park
Where Warren sits in his dream and thinks of freedom
ILLINOIS – CHICAGO – Loyola University
where Warren studies
PHILADELPHIA – The home of the Liberty Bell and where Etta lives

1960s Mississippi – A shocking and brutal time in American history

In Mississippi , I learned that I was poor

Graden Williams is kidnapped one evening, tortured and cruelly dumped in a swamp. Warren never forgets this and spends all his life avenging his brother. why were the riots started in the first place and why were the 1960s such a time of hatred and racism?

Mississippi in the 1960s was a time of racial inequality and it was a time when  people from the northern states would come to the South in order to get people behind their cause – fighting for racial equality and standing up for their cause. However well intentioned this groups were, the result was chaos, dangerous confrontations between white and black people in the street and the wrath of the white ruling elite.

The summer before Graden died, I sat beside him on a crowded school bus on its way to Jackson, There had been two meetings since the one that I had attended…

Such a world is hard to imagine yet it is evoked with such clarity here that you feel the pain and anger at every turn. Warren wants justice for his brother, questions why more white people don’t help – were they afraid and also threatened? – and vows to hunt the men responsible down.

In present day Ontario, in  a small (fictional)  town called Amblan, one of the gang responsible  – Earl still lives. His guilt at having been involved in that shameful episode comes back to haunt him and when the two men finally meet, Warren’s journey is far from over.

Two sobering viewpoints of a shameful time in history and of two men who come together and face up to their guilt and their part in it. for more information on this period and the Freedom summer efforts of 1964 which inspired this novel – http://mdah.state.ms.us or www.freedom50.org

Bookish musings

A short but sobering book and a unique viewpoint of two men who are on two different sides  and who were both affected by the events which unfolded. Short sparse prose really gets the events to stand out and shock even more. Hard at times due to the violence and even that which you didn’t see. I learned from this book and found the humanity and the hope within it a humbling read.

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