cover image Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter

Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter

James S. Hirsch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $25 (345pp) ISBN 978-0-395-97985-3

This authorized biography of Carter by former Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporter Hirsch brings an objective historical perspective to the boxer's story. Scrupulously researched and expertly crafted, Hirsch's updated account of Carter's life is both a rich portrait of a complex man and a clear-eyed telling of a remarkable life. Despite his success in the ring, or because of it, Carter was a man with a bad reputation when he was wrongfully accused of a gruesome triple homicide. As a defiant black man with a mean streak, a criminal record and flamboyant tastes, Carter jarred the sensibilities of many whites in his hometown of Paterson, N.J., and Hirsch explores the role that race played in determining his fate. Carter's hellish ride through the judicial system and the heroic efforts to free him make for fascinating reading. Hirsch used the Canadian edition of Lazarus and the Hurricane (reviewed above) as a source for much of his material, and some scenes are straight out of the earlier book. But Hirsch also explores the nature of Carter's relationships with the Canadians, including his romance and marriage to Lisa Peters, which is treated as a mere footnote in the Canadians' account. When Carter finally became a free man in 1988, he spent several years living in the Canadians' commune, but their controlling nature led him to believe he had traded one prison for another, with a debt of gratitude tying him down. He eventually severed ties. (Jan.)