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It is the deep South, 1962, the year before Bull Connor turned his fire hoses on civil rights protesters in Birmingham and the Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church. Two young men, one black and one white, are poised to face their destinies as the world erupts beneath their feet.

For Richeboux Branscomb, the journey begins one sultry Alabama night in a rattle-trap Ford on a dusty road: a raw egg is hurled at a revered leader of the black community.  For Acee Waites, it begins with a missing brother and a ruthless sheriff’s search for him and eventually Acee, himself.  Propelled along separate tracks through 36 hours of racial turmoil, these estranged boyhood friends encounter tenderness and cruelty, erotic passion, and murderous rage.  Then amid the spreading fires of racial violence, their paths converge in a moving, riveting climax.

Leaving Tuscaloosa has been called, “compelling” and “important,” by two of America’s leading novelists because it asks basic questions–what is the truth of our history, how has that truth shaped our lives, what are our moral obligations as a result–and it responds with a story of redemption of the human heart.


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Author: Walter Bennett