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Truevile by Beth Macy

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This book is the first of three award-winning national best-sellers from Beth Macy, whose success with books has allowed her to quit her job as a reporter for the Roanoke newspaper. Factory Man and Dopesick have followed. Truevine actually is the name of a town in Franklin County, Virginia, in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge. That is where two African-American brothers, George and Willie Muse, were enticed with a piece of candy in the year 1899 into joining the circus. They performed world-wide as racist caricatures including cannibals, sheep-headed freaks and even "Ambassadors from Mars." This is the story of their lives growing up in a sharecroppers family and being thrust into a demeaning kind of fame. It is also the story of their mother's 28 year quest to get them back home. "If over a hundred years ago there had been Black Lives Matter, the mother of George and Willie Muse would have joined and marched for the safe return of her sons. Back then, almost a century ago, she could only keep learning and finding folk who agreed she had a right to her family...a right to the love and protection of her sons. Beth Macy in Truevine has given us a stirring story of the persistence of faith...the strength of this tale of a mother's journey to reclaim not only her sons but her right to them." Nikki Giovanni. "A consummate chronicler of the American South spotlights the extraordinary history of two kidnapped African-American brothers enslaved as a circus sideshow act... Macy vividly illustrates circus life during the 1920s, and she movingly depicts how the brothers' protective, determined mother, Harriett, eventually discovered and rescued them almost a decade and a half later... A sturdy, passionate, and penetrating narrative. This first-rate journey into human trafficking, slavery, and familial bonding is an engrossing example of spirited, determined reportage." - Kirkus (starred).

New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2016. 420 pages with an Index, Notes, and photos. Hardback in dust jacket.