Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crossing the Lines

Author: Richard Doster
Publisher: David C. Cook
June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434799-84-5
Genre: historical

Jack Hall is a journalist, wanting to write about the fun things of life. Baseball. But when a black player is hired in his home town, emotions heat up, and Jack finds himself in a different world…especially once his house is bombed, endangering his wife and child. Jack takes a new job, as a sportswriter, in Atlanta, and the family is happy, believing this unfortunate event is behind them. But even before Jack starts his new job, he finds his past catching up with him.

Rosa Parks refuses to sit in the black part of the bus, and even though Jack objects, he finds himself going to investigate the details of this story. There he meets the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr., and sits in with black leaders as they make minute-by-minute plans to boycott the buses for the injustice.

Moved by King’s philosophy, Jack’s writing begins to reflect a need for racial equality that isn’t always well received—not even by his own wife. As historic events sweep Jack and his family into harm’s way, they find them selves on a collision course which could destroy their family forever.

CROSSING THE LINES is the first book I’ve read by Mr. Doster. The story isn’t really shown so much as told, which left me feeling distant from these characters. Based on a true story, the events mirror what I observed when I went to a museum in Memphis, to a section that focused exclusively on Black history. As Martin Luther King’s voice was broadcasted in the background I observed through pictures and articles the events in the 50’s that changed the course of history forever.

I am a white person living in a predominately white area. Not only that but all the events in this book happened long before I was born, so I am considerably separate from this story-or time period. However, even when I lived in Grand Rapids, an area that has an abundance of blacks, well, we were separate. There were black neighborhoods, and white. I never rode the bus, nor did I eat out much, so I never had much experience with this divide. I do have on-line friends that are black that I love very much, and that they had to go through such events in order to truly gain their freedom is heartbreaking.

CROSSING THE LINES is a book that is invaluable to those who want to learn more about this time in history. Educationally, it is based on real events, even though it is written as a novel. If you are interested in this subject and or time period, whether you are black or white, you will find this book invaluable, educational, and maybe even entertaining. $14.99. 304 pages.

Caught in the Crossfire of Black and White
The exciting sequel to Richard Doster’s Safe at Home offers a front row seat
at the explosive events of the Civil Rights Movement

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—Eager audiences need wait no longer for the much anticipated sequel to Richard Doster’s well-received Safe at Home. In Doster’s new historical fiction, Crossing the Lines (David C Cook, June 2009), giants of the dawning American Civil Rights Movement come alive as an idealistic white news reporter in the racially charged South of the late 1950s dedicates himself to the renewal of the region he loves.

Family man Jack Hall wants nothing more than to be a respectable newspaper reporter, see a good baseball game now and again, love his wife, and watch his son grow up in their middle-class, white community. A sportswriter for the Atlanta Constitution, Jack is a contented Southerner—until, across the pages of the nation’s newspapers, the photos begin to appear of bombed out “Negro” churches, black schoolchildren swarmed by angry white mobs, and Thurmond, Talmadge, and Russell standing before gold-domed buildings, vowing that “our way of life” will never change.

With each image, Jack’s discomfort grows until, in September 1957, the pain becomes unbearable. That’s when one image, in one small newspaper—of a white girl screaming insults at her black classmate—ignites a new mission. Jack, so thoroughly grieved by the now famous photo of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan, is determined to show the world the South he loves—with its beauty, its literature and music, and its achievements in sports and business.

He’s thrilled when he’s introduced to legendary editor Ralph McGill, an outspoken opponent of segregation who promptly sends Jack to Montgomery to investigate reports of a bus boycott. There Jack meets another man on the fault line of black and white: Martin Luther King, Jr. Profoundly moved by King’s commitment to Christian philosophy, Jack’s writing begins to reflect a need for racial equality and tolerance that isn’t always well received—even by his own wife.

As the years pass, Jack covers stories about Southerners from Orval Faubus to Jim Johnson, John Lewis, and Diane Nash and from music pioneer Sam Phillips to literary giants Flannery O’Connor and Harper Lee—always using his writing as a conscience for the South he loves so much. But once again, historic events sweep Jack—and his idealistic son, Chris—into harm’s way. Will this be the collision that destroys his family forever?

Author Bio
Richard Doster is the editor of byFaith magazine. Prior to his work with byFaith, Doster spent 25 years in the advertising business. He’s been published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and is a regular contributor to byFaith, winner of the 2006 and 2008 Evangelical Press Association’s Award of Excellence. A native of Mississippi and a graduate of the University of Florida, Doster is now concentrating on Southern fiction, exploring the history, religion, family relationships, sense of community and place, and social tensions that characterize his home region. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Sally.

Crossing the Lines by Richard Doster
David C Cook June 2009/ISBN: 978-1-434799-84-5/304 pages/softcover/$14.99 ~

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