Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City

Wes Moore, with Erica L. Green. One World, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-51236-3
Antipoverty activist Moore (The Other Wes Moore) presents an illuminating portrait of Baltimore in the aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray. Arrested for unlawful possession of a knife, Gray suffered spinal cord injuries and fell into a coma during his transport to the police station. Moore picks up the story a week after Gray’s death, when a protest march erupted into violence, and chronicles a five-day period during which the city teetered between chaos and calm. He tells the story from the perspectives of eight Baltimoreans, including Tawanda Jones, whose own brother had died during “an altercation with law enforcement”; Maj. Marc Partee, the first African-American police commander of the city’s Inner Harbor district; Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby; and juvenile public defender Jenny Egan, who volunteered to support jailed protestors and ended up in her own confrontation with police. Alternating perspectives from one short chapter to the next, Moore captures the fear, anger, uncertainty, and hope of locals who saw their city fall apart and struggle to come back together. Though the perspective of Gray’s friends and family is missing, Moore provides important context in the history of Baltimore’s racial and income inequality and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Readers will be enthralled by this propulsive account. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the number of Baltimorean perspectives presented in the book.

Reviewed on : 01/27/2020
Release date: 04/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-525-51237-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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