The Last Thing You Surrender

17 CDs. Tantor. Feb. 2019. 20:14 hrs. ISBN 9781977318725. $54.99. digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarPitts (Grant Park), a Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald journalist, vividly depicts the devastating effects of racism and classism in the Jim Crow South and on the battlefields of World War II. U.S. Marine private George Simon, who comes from a wealthy white family in Mobile, AL, only survives the Pearl Harbor attack because Eric Gordy, a black messman, rescues him, losing his own life in the process. George pays a condolence call on Eric's widow, Thelma, who has already experienced excruciating sadness in her life—as a child, she and her brother Luther watched helplessly as their parents were lynched. When Luther is arrested for evading the draft, Thelma asks George for help, knowing his father, John Simon, is a prominent lawyer. John agrees to assist Luther as well as investigate the 20-year-old deaths of his parents, if Luther enlists. In an engaging performance, Bill Andrew Quinn gracefully varies his tone and pacing as the narrative switches among the characters: Luther in basic training and the European theater; George at Guadalcanal and a Japanese prison camp; Thelma working as a painter at a shipyard; and John investigating the lynchings.
VERDICT Impeccably researched, this compelling historical novel, with its important message about social justice, is essential for fiction collections.
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