Nate Shaw's father was born under slavery. Nate Shaw was born into a bondage that was only a little gentler. At the age of nine, he was picking cotton for thirty-five cents an hour. At the age of forty-seven, he faced down a crowd of white deputies who had come to confiscate a neighbor's crop. His defiance cost him twelve years in prison. This triumphant autobiography, assembled from the eighty-four-year-old Shaw's oral reminiscences, is the plain-spoken story of an "over-average" man who witnessed wrenching changes in the lives of Southern black people -- and whose unassuming courage helped bring those changes about.
"There are only a few American autobiographies of surpassing greatness....Now there is another one, Nate Shaw's." -- The New York Times
"Extraordinarily rich and compelling...possesses the same luminous power we associate with Faulkner...the same marvelous idiom, the same wry, sardonic humor...[it] will stun the listener-reader, hold him in its grip, and never really quite let go of him? -- Washington Post
"Eloquent and revelatory. When, finally, this big book is put down, one feels exhilarated. This is an anthem to human endurance." -- Studs Terkel, New Republic