The book gives an emotional, and extremely transparent view of the people he dealt with, the cases he tried, and the people who died fighting for freedom and equality. More specifically, he talked about the struggles he faced in prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan, and the very real racially motivated violence that he saw across the south during his professional years.
Feinstein’s writing is interesting, in part, because he does not glamorize the role he played in the civil rights movement, but rather maintains an honest, and even self-effacing, at times, discussing the roles of victims, killers, grand juries, judges, witnesses and more.
The book was both intense and very moving. I think the role that the court system played in bringing about greater equality for all races and genders is often overlooked, or under discussed. This book, however, highlights the importance of legal cases in initiating change.
The book was also interesting because it did not cover just southern crimes. Often we think of the Ku Klux Klan and racial violence as a strictly southern problem. These are things that many believe only occurred in southern states, like Georgia and Alabama as the result of the push to integrate and create equality. However, the book tells the story of a mother in Pennsylvania who was violently attacked because she moved into a predominately white neighborhood, and similar crimes perpetrated in states not commonly associated with the civil rights movement and racial tensions.
All in all the book was as enlightening as it was enjoyable. It provided a unique historical perspective, with excellent storytelling and very real emotionality. For those interested in the history of the United States, or the development of the Civil Rights movement, and the American Justice System, this is a must read.