Cotton Mathis is a young man alone in the world. Devastated after the loss of his mother, the young farmhand must now deal with the death of his brother in Vietnam and his alcoholic father’s suicide. Isolated and angry, Cotton wrestles his demons, including the suspicion his brother—lauded as a war hero—might actually have been a coward.With little thought of consequence, Cotton joins the National Guard to avoid serving in Vietnam and is plunged into the midst of the civil rights movement. Sixty miles away, Martin Luther King Jr. faces off against a Memphis mayor.When Cotton’s unit is deployed to Memphis to control rioting he and his friends naively sense only excitement with no understanding for the racial tensions raging across the nation. Once in the city, Cotton encounters a black war hero and the soldier’s remarkable, book-loving father—a man who reignites Cotton’s long-buried dreams. Yet these new friends harbor secrets about Cotton’s family, including the true story of his brother’s death.Faced with personal tragedy, betrayal, and overwhelming anger in the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination, Cotton faces a life-changing decision. Will he forgive and move on, or will he allow his family’s ghosts to haunt him forever?
“Riveting coming of age story…the author has perfectly pegged the feel of the time and given life to Cotton Masthis who worms his way into your heart.”
“Clever, well-written, heart-wrenching”
“Unique and strong style”
A brilliant first effort by reporter Clanton
A beautifully conceived story of redemption, couched in the volatile civil rights era of Martin Luther King, written by Memphis-based reporter Cecilia Clanton. I was riveted by the central character of Papa Jim, a healer of profound proportions, who changes the hearts and minds of everyone he meets in a time of severe racial conflicts. Much like an Ed Doctorow novel, Clanton weaves in fiction with fact around the assassination of Dr. King. The damaged hearts and minds of Cotton Mathis and Papa Jim’s son, Boaz, are mended in extraordinary fashion. Clanton is a truly gifted novelist and I can’t wait to see the inevitable film to follow!
Wonderfully crafted story set during the Civil Rights era in Memphis, Tennessee.
A Great Read!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was educational and informative as well as having all the good bones of an entertaining read. I am not originally from memphis but have been living here for quite some time now so I’m always interested in reading historical fact with some fiction sprinkled in for good measure! I highly recommend this book