At the Hands of Persons Unknown

By Philip Dray,

Book cover of At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America

Book description

WINNER OF THE SOUTHERN BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION • “A landmark work of unflinching scholarship.”—The New York Times

This extraordinary account of lynching in America, by acclaimed civil rights historian Philip Dray, shines a clear, bright light on American history’s darkest stain—illuminating its causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims.…

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Why read it?

1 author picked At the Hands of Persons Unknown as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In my own work, I draw extensively on the lynching to document and analyze racial dehumanization. From the time of the collapse of reconstruction during the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth century, thousands of African Americans, most of them men, were murdered by white mobs. If you are like most people, you think of lynching as nothing more than extrajudicial execution, but in fact it often involved hours of the most hideous torture imaginable, ending with the victim being burned alive before a crowd of hundreds or even thousands of avid spectators. Philip Dray’s book is a…

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