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During the civil rights movement, epic battles for justice were fought in the streets, at lunch counters, and in the classrooms of the American South. Just as many battles were waged, however, in the hearts and minds of ordinary white southerners whose world became unrecognizable to them. Jason Sokol’s vivid and unprecedented account of white southerners’ attitudes and actions, related in their own words, reveals in a new light the contradictory mixture of stubborn resistance and pragmatic acceptance—as well as the startling and unexpected personal transformations—with which they greeted the enforcement of legal equality.
“Sokol never apologizes or attempts to mitigate the often brutal and violent consequences of Southern racism. His eloquent presentation, with all of its complications, provides an invaluable and much-needed addition to our understanding of how the Civil Rights movement was actually lived.”
“This debut...is an insightful, incisive analysis of a critical period of change in American history...Sokol offers an original and penetrating perspective on what all too often is assumed to be one singular progression.”
“A well-conceived study of the changes...that swept the white South as its privileged position came under challenge in the Civil Rights era.”
“An apt and even arresting narration of the ways that the white South included hard and soft racism, iron certainty and deep doubt.”
—The Chronicle of Higher Education
“A fascinating and remarkably empathetic assessment of how white southerners experienced the civil-rights movement.”
—The Atlantic Monthly
“It’s difficult not to approach Sokol’s book with sheer astonishment that it has been written by one so young . . . but in truth, just about any scholar in the field would be happy to claim There Goes My Everything as his or her own work.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“A fascinating look at a side of the civil rights movement that has not been a widely explored aspect of one of the greatest social transformations in U.S. history.”—Booklist
“For most of us, ‘white southerners’ remain an undifferentiated mass of forces hostile to the social and political progress of African-Americans in the civil rights era. Jason Sokol brilliantly reveals, for the first time, that this image was only one dimension of a vastly more complex range of emotions and opinions within the white southern community between 1945 and 1975. There Goes My Everything is a subtle, nuanced, and strikingly original study that explores the ways in which the white community was not only threatened by but also conflicted about the black revolution that engulfed it, and it does so with sympathy and grace.”
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“A richly documented, often compellingly dramatic narrative, whose strength is its absence of polemic.” —Dallas Morning News
“As eye-opening a look at race relations in the Civil Rights Era as anything this side of Dr. King's own Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” —Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
“Simply stunning…. This is one of the few books about the civil rights movement . . . that gets it right. . . . Deserves to be read by every American.” —Tucson Citizen