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Shaking the Gates of Hell: A Search for Family and Truth in the Wake of the Civil Rights Revolution by John Archibald.

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Nowadays when someone considers writing up her or his life, the virtual unanimous advice is to just take one topic and zonk in on it. John Archibald followed this advice and centers this book  around his image of himself and his feelings about his family in relation to issues of race and sexuality. He was born in 1963 into a family of generations of white Methodist preachers in suburban Birmingham, Alabama - preachers who remained silent during the days of the Civil Rights Movement and only meekly spoke up decades later on race. John’s brother, Murray, came out as gay, and John’s father finally spoke out on that issue. I have a hard time getting into this family of chicken shit church folks, but I realize I am in the minority and most Southern lives have been lived much closer to how Archibald has lived his life, so this book may well resonate with many. John Archibald, is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who has a column that runs in the leading papers of Alabama’s three metropolitan areas, Birmingham where he lives, Mobile, and Huntsville.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. 304 pages with an Index and photos. Hardback in dust jacket