Book review: 'Nobody Turn Me Around' shows civil rights movement from a new perspective

By Alivia Whitaker

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Oct. 15 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

"NOBODY TURN ME AROUND: A People's History of the 1963 March on Washington," by Charles Euchner, Beacon Press, $17, 256 pages (nf)

“Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington” is a gratifying take on historical nonfiction.

Composed of a series of first-hand accounts by individuals involved in the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, D.C., story after story reads like fiction and slowly paints a greater picture of what the march on Washington really was and meant. If has recently been released in paperback.

Moving the focus from obviously key players like Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy, “Nobody Turn Me Around” is better able to show the impact, passion and reality of the civil rights movement.

In doing so, the writing doesn’t lecture or tell — the well-researched, woven quotes, stories and accounts actualize and compel in a very non-textbook way.

Author Charles Euchner avoids joining the cliche by not focusing solely on the main event. The exploration of history is smartly included to allow the reader a more educated look at the main aspect of the book.

Though told in real accounts, “Nobody Turn Me Around” is full of arresting plot that entertains throughout. Knowing that the stories are true only aids in maintaining the reader’s interest.

Euchner covers many points of view. He includes information from all parts of the country and people of varied religions and races.

Different settings, types of people and situations in each individual tale bring the reader in with new momentum. The relatively short accounts make each section readable, yet, even so, the prose avoids nodular jumps by weaving in persons, histories and themes throughout.

Though the telling of each point of view is very fluid, the breadth of individual accounts and research makes each part of the book a little long.

As 1963 slips further into history, this fresh version of events can be an enjoyable new view for those familiar with the '60s American civil rights movement and a new discovery for those who are not.

IF YOU GO ...

What: Charles Euchner discussion with Pastor Francis Davis

When: Friday, Oct. 21, 4 p.m.

Where: Calvary Baptist Church, 1090 S. State Street, Salt Lake City

Web: www.utahhumanities.org

Also ...

What: Charles Euchner presentation

When: Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

Where: The Leonardo, Liberty Square, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Livi Whitaker is a freelance writer and authors the positive blog for all things lovely at thebrightbit.com

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