His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice

Books on Tape. May 2022. 13:33 hrs. ISBN 9780593590430. $95. BIOG
Award-winning Washington Post journalists Samuels and Olorunnipa’s illuminating biography of George Floyd offers a devastating look into America’s systemic racism and militaristic policing. Narrator Dion Graham masterfully places listeners center stage during Floyd’s life and murder. Meeting the always hopeful, very fallible, but sweet-natured Floyd and his ancestors, and learning about the ways they were victimized across generations is gut-wrenching. The background of Derek Chauvin and his family is presented in stark and disturbing contrast. Painting a full picture of how Floyd met his unnecessary death, the authors describe the family’s beginnings, living in poverty in North Carolina, then optimistically moving to Houston, where they endured Texas’s brutal and racist laws. Finally, they examine the reality of racism and policing under the veneer of a “liberal” Minneapolis. The conclusion follows resolute protesters throughout the country, the family’s determination to change laws, and the trial, including those who bravely testified. Graham skillfully introduces a widely diverse cast and seamlessly transitions between chapters. He even injects moments of gentle humor. Graham gives a stunning performance here, including of Floyd’s last heartbreaking minutes.
VERDICT The authors present Floyd empathetically, but honestly, including his weaknesses and flaws. Audio transports listeners into Floyd’s world, making his story even more immediate.
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