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Beneath a Ruthless Sun

A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found  (Riverhead Books, April, 2018)

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Devil in the Grove, the gripping true story of a small town with a big secret.

In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a “husky Negro” did it, and the sheriff, the infamous racist Willis McCall, does not hesitate to round up a herd of suspects. But within days, McCall turns his sights on Jesse Daniels, a gentle, mentally impaired white nineteen-year-old. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial…read more

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Reviews

Gilbert King is the author of three books, most recently, Beneath a Ruthless Sun. His previous book, Devil in the Grove, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2013. A New York Times bestseller, the book was also named runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, and was a finalist for both the Chautauqua Prize and the Edgar Award. King has written about race, civil rights, and the death penalty for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and he is a contributor to The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. King’s earlier book, The Execution of Willie Francis, was published in 2008. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“A spellbinding true story of racism, privilege, and official corruption...By turns sobering, frightening, and thrilling, this meticulous account of the power and tenacity of officially sanctioned racism recalls a dark era that America is still struggling to leave behind.”

—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

2018-02-27T19:38:03+00:00

—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A spellbinding true story of racism, privilege, and official corruption...By turns sobering, frightening, and thrilling, this meticulous account of the power and tenacity of officially sanctioned racism recalls a dark era that America is still struggling to leave behind.”
“Compelling, insightful and important, Gilbert King exposes the corruption of racial bigotry and animus that shadows a community, a state and a nation. A fascinating examination of an injustice story all too familiar and still largely ignored, an engaging and essential read.”

—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

2018-02-27T19:38:33+00:00

—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

“Compelling, insightful and important, Gilbert King exposes the corruption of racial bigotry and animus that shadows a community, a state and a nation. A fascinating examination of an injustice story all too familiar and still largely ignored, an engaging and essential read.”
"In deftly unraveling a tragic mixture of lies, violence, and hatred, King powerfully reminds us how the unpalatable beliefs of 1957 haunt us still."

—Nancy Isenberg, author of White Trash

2018-02-27T19:39:44+00:00

—Nancy Isenberg, author of White Trash

"In deftly unraveling a tragic mixture of lies, violence, and hatred, King powerfully reminds us how the unpalatable beliefs of 1957 haunt us still."

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