Carry Me Home

Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

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About The Book

Now with a new afterword, the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatic account of the civil rights era’s climactic battle in Birmingham as the movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., brought down the institutions of segregation.


"The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was a cataclysmic turning point in America’s long civil rights struggle. Child demonstrators faced down police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches against segregation. Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated by bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four young black girls. Diane McWhorter, daughter of a prominent Birmingham family, weaves together police and FBI records, archival documents, interviews with black activists and Klansmen, and personal memories into an extraordinary narrative of the personalities and events that brought about America’s second emancipation.

In a new afterword—reporting last encounters with hero Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and describing the current drastic anti-immigration laws in Alabama—the author demonstrates that Alabama remains a civil rights crucible.

About The Author

Diane McWhorter is a long-time contributor to The New York Times and the op-ed page of USA TODAY, among other national publications. Her young adult history of the civil rights movement is A Dream of Freedom. She is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and now lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 2013)
  • Length: 752 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476709512

Raves and Reviews

Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

Winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award

One of Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Nonfiction Books since 1923

“Best Books” List: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, American Heritage

– Honors received by Carry Me Home

“A tour de force, comparable in importance to J. Anthony Lukas's Common Ground and Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters. Carry Me Home is destined to become a classic in the history of the civil rights movement."

– David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln

"An exhaustive journey through both the segregationist and integrationist sides of Birmingham's struggle . . . [McWhorter] contributes significantly to the historical record."

– The New York Times Book Review

“A big, important book, a challenging portrait of an American city at the center of the most significant domestic drama of the twentieth century."

– Jon Meacham, Newsweek

"McWhorter's own involvement in the story . . . reenergizes the struggle, serving as a reminder that history is always personal."

– The New Yorker

“This epic of reportage and history about Birmingham, Alabama, in the early'60s reads like a big ambitious novel. . . . McWhorter's complex narrative roves skillfully forward and backward . . . the cast is huge and vivid, the story brimming with courage, drama, villains and heroes. The War and Peace of the civil right movement.”

– People

“The most important book on the movement since Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters."

– The Nation

Awards and Honors

  • Pulitzer Prize

Resources and Downloads

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