Saturday, May 19th at 4PM

This event is free and open to the public. Please purchase a copy of the new book to have it signed by the author.

"Beneath a Ruthless Sun plunges the reader deeply into the legal practices, civil rights battles, and stubborn sexual inequalities of the mid-20th century, but this fast-moving and impeccably sourced book is anything but a slog."~NPR Book Review

Read more of the NPR review here.

ABOUT THE BOOK:  The perversions of justice under Jim Crow chart a devious path in this labyrinthine true crime saga. Pulitzer-winning historian King (Devil in the Grove) explores the aftermath of the 1957 rape of a white woman named Blanche Knowles, the wife of a wealthy citrus baron in Lake County, Fla., a locale notorious for trumped-up prosecutions of black men. A dragnet led by Lake County Sheriff Willis McCall rounded up African-American suspects, but then Jesse Daniels, a mentally impaired white teenager, was accused of the crime. Despite evidence that his confession was coerced, he was committed without trial to a hospital for the criminally insane. King follows the Daniels family's struggle to free Jesse for two decades as it played out against Florida's intensifying civil rights movement, untangling along the way the extraordinary web of lies that racism wove around blacks and whites alike (for example, Blanche's family dismisses a lead on a new suspect to spare her husband "the indignity of having a wife who had been violated by a black man"). At the story's center is the decades-long reign of terror of Sheriff McCall, a Klan leader who killed prisoners, beat suspects, brutalized interracial couples, and railroaded innocent people, and was opposed only by crusading journalist Mabel Reese, who braved death threats and bombings to help Daniels. Packed with riveting characters and startling twists, King's narrative unfolds like a Southern gothic noir probing the recesses of a poisoned society.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Gilbert King was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction for The Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, which was also a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A featured contributor to Smithsonian magazine and The Marshall Project, King also writes about justice for The New York Times and The Washington Post. He lives in New York City.


Event date: 
Saturday, May 19, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event address: 
1809 N. Tampa Street
Tampa, FL 33602
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399183386
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - April 24th, 2018

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061792267
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - February 19th, 2013