Bombingham: a novel /

Author Grooms, Anthony
Language English
New York: Free Press, 2001

Subjects :

  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Fiction Participation, African American
  • Civil Rights Movements Fiction
  • Bildungsromans
  • African American Men Fiction
  • War Stories
  • Birmingham (Ala.) Fiction
  • Young Men Fiction
  • African American Soldiers Fiction

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Best Books :

  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Books for Young Adults, 2001 , Fiction

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Reviews :

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
At the center of Grooms's riveting first novel is Walter Burke, a black American soldier in Vietnam who is attempting to compose a letter to the parents of one of his fallen comrades. The bulk of the novel occurs in flashback, focusing on Walter's turbulent adolescence in Tittusville, the Birmingham suburb where he lived with his parents and younger sister, Josie. (The title refers to violence surrounding the civil rights movement.) Walter's parents, who refuse to participate in boycotts and rallies, try to shield the children from the turmoil stoked by redneck police commissioner (and rumored KKK grand dragon) Bull Connor. But when their mother is diagnosed with brain cancer, things begin to fall apart. Choosing religion over medicine, their mother deteriorates rapidly—both mentally and physically—and their exasperated father, a teacher and staunch advocate of "thinking scientifically," begins a corresponding descent into alcoholism, eventually leaving home to live in a motel. Encouraged by Walter's best friend, Lamar Burrell, and Lamar's activist mother, Walter and Josie find themselves at the front lines of the struggle for civil rights, secretly attending meetings, going to demonstrations led by Martin Luther King Jr., and ultimately facing police dogs and fire hoses. Whether describing the daily indignities of life under Jim Crow laws or the ignorance and brutality of the men who enforce them, Grooms writes with grace and clarity, never resorting to sentimentality or gratuitous button-pushing. Though Walter contends that "the world is a tumultuous place and every soul in it suffers," Grooms confronts this suffering head-on, showing that hope and dignity sometimes can be reclaimed in the process. This is a powerful, important debut. (Oct. 1)Forecast:This may be a breakout work for Grooms, an award-winning poet, essayist and short story writer. A seven-city author tour will help introduce him to new readers. "
(Publishers Weekly)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
New York: Free Press, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
vii 304 p. ;
PS3557.R562 (813/.54)
Publishers Weekly,

Media Type:


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