Gathering of Heroes a: Reflections on Rage and Responsibility

GregAlan Williams, Author, Gregory Alan-Williams, Author
GregAlan Williams, Author, Gregory Alan-Williams, Author Academy Chicago Publishers $18.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-89733-404-4
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Alan-Williams is an African American TV actor, who, at the height of the Los Angeles riots nearly two years ago, deliberately set out for the epicenter of the violence, determined to try to restrain his fellow blacks' anger and, if necessary, to save victims of it. As he did so, he was mindful of the many violences done to him as a young black man growing up in largely white Iowa--and of a time, in the Marine Corps, when he had willingly participated in the beating of a fellow recruit that led to the man's suicide attempt. At the heart of the book is a searing eyewitness account of the frightful brutality and lawlessness of that day in Los Angeles. Alan-Williams saved two people: a young light-skinned black whose attackers, whom Alan-Williams drove off, mistook for white, and a terribly injured Japanese man he rescued from his smashed car. Alan-Williams's description of the actions and emotions of the occasion is gripping; his analysis of his own motives and of the senseless brutality of the attackers lacks any trace of the maudlin or the vengeful. Alan-Williams thinks clearly, standing outside the vagaries of racial politics as a man of hard-won conscience--though he ruefully admits that his own anger and resentment sometimes betray him. His small but intense book is inspirational in the best sense of that much-abused word. Photos not seen by PW . (Mar.)
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