Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

John Lewis, Author
John Lewis. Hyperion, $22.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4013-2411-7
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Faith, patience, truth, love, peace, study, and reconciliation: these are the buckets into which Lewis pours his message about “the inner transformation that must be realized to effect lasting social change.” A civil rights pioneer and Georgia congressman, Lewis (Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement) seeks to inspire nonviolent activism in a time that he regards as the most violent in history. For his audience, Lewis targets Occupy protestors, and members of the movement will draw lessons from the anecdotes that are the heart of the book. At its best, the book provides a testament to the power of nonviolence in social movements, with moving personal accounts of the Freedom Rides, such as when Lewis describes being physically beaten in South Carolina or sitting out a 40-day sentence in the unrelenting Parchman Farm prison in Mississippi. At its worst, it resembles an extended campaign speech: “Some people have told me that I am a rare bird in the blue sky of dreamers... despite every attempt to keep me down, I have not been shaken.” In between these extremes is the advice of a wise uncle who has earned the right to say his peace. Agent: Bob Barnett. (May)
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