Shooting of Rabbit Wells: An American Tragedy

William Loizeaux, Author Arcade Publishing $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-55970-380-2
Rabbit Wells was a mixed-race, 21-year-old bystander at a bar fight in 1973 when he was shot and killed by a police officer in Bernardsville, N.J. Loizeaux (Anna: A Daughter's Life), a high-school classmate of Wells, has since come to see the event as an allegory for America's struggle with race issues. By conferring ""American tragedy"" status on a long-forgotten, local incident and a life that was ""neither celebrated nor well-documented,"" Loizeaux announces a scale his writing never approaches. Wells's death certainly was tragic, but Loizeaux's insistence on ""imagining"" many details of the story (his attempts at research turned up few hard facts) is slipshod at best. Loizeaux at times substitutes mawkish sentimentality based on his own childhood memories. When interview subjects cast events and feelings in ways that fail to match his expectations, Loizeaux concludes that his subjects are probably repressing difficult truths and so creates his own interpretations of their words and emotions. The result is an unreliable account of a shooting that was probably not racially motivated and that was most likely only a hideous mistake. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 138 pages - 978-1-62872-491-2
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-1-61145-334-8
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