February 23, 2018

#BookReview: A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by @ClaireHartfield with @adivineeternity

About the Book: On a hot day in July 1919, three black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. 

Reviewed By: Caity G.
Publisher: Clarion Books
Recommended Age: Teenagers
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
How I Acquired this book: Sponsored
Overall rating: ★★★★
Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author: Claire Hartfield received her B.A from Yale University and her law degree from the University of Chicago. As a lawyer, she has specialized in school desegregation litigation. More recently, she has been involved in setting policy and creating programs in a charter school setting on Chicago's African-American West Side. She heard stories of the 1919 race riot from her grandmother, who lived in the Black Belt in Chicago at the time, and was moved to share this history with younger generations. Ms. Hartfield lives in Chicago.

Noteworthy experiences while reading this book: None

Check out author's other books? Sure
Recommend this book? Yes, but with a caveat, as you'll see below.

Notes and Opinions: This book was well-researched and well-written, mostly, for the teenagers it was created to reach. A bit dry at times, sure, but overall not bad.

My issue was that it was advertised as being about the race riots in 1919, but maybe 10-20 pages MAX of a 170 page book were actually focused on the riots. It felt so glossed over where the rest of the book, covering all sorts of things that fed into the tension surrounding the riots, was in-depth and interesting. I love history and non-fiction and hold a particular interest in human-caused events such as this and what can be done to ease tension in these sorts of situations. Conflict resolution is a small piece of what I studied for my Master's degree.

So for the author to gloss over it was more than a little disappointing. But with the in-depth look at everything leading up to it, including a great deal of history which I never would have learned, otherwise, I cannot justify less than the four stars I have given it.

Go Into This One Knowing: It's about race riots and black history, so there's a lot of stuff that will make you uncomfortable. I hope it does, at any rate, because this isn't a comfortable topic. Also, if you buy it, I don't recommend a digital copy. Definitely get it in hardcover.

 Disclaimer: "All opinions are 100% honest and my own."  Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. Buying via these links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. This money gets used to buy items for giveaways. 

FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 

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