Buried in the Bitter Waters

  • by Elliot Jaspin
  • Narrated by Don Leslie
  • 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Leave now, or die!" From the heart of the Midwest to the Deep South, from the mountains of North Carolina to the Texas frontier, words like these have echoed through more than a century of American history. The call heralded not a tornado or a hurricane, but a very unnatural disaster: a manmade wave of racial cleansing that purged black populations from counties across the nation.
We have long known about horrific episodes of lynching in the South, but the story of widespread racial cleansing above and below the Mason-Dixon Line has remained almost entirely unknown. Time after time, in the period between Reconstruction and the 1920s, whites banded together to drive out the blacks in their midst. They burned and killed indiscriminately and drove thousands from their homes, sweeping entire counties clear of blacks to make them racially "pure". The expulsions were swift; in many cases, it took no more than 24 hours to eliminate an entire African-American population. Shockingly, these areas remain virtually all-white to this day.
Based on nearly a decade of painstaking research in archives and census records, Buried in the Bitter Waters provides irrefutable evidence that racial cleansing occurred again and again on American soil, and fundamentally reshaped the geography of race.

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What the Critics Say

"In the tradition of muckraking journalism and detective history, Elliot Jaspin employs the modern term 'cleansing' to uncover a hideous and veiled part of America's racial past....This book forces a moral confrontation with the truth that the past matters, however innocently we prefer to live in the present. With engaging prose and dogged research, Jaspin reveals America's home-grown pogroms." (David W. Blight, Professor of American History, Yale University)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a compelling read with a disappointing conclusion

Buried in the Bitter Waters is a meticulously researched, compellingly written narrative of the U.S.' suppressed history of "racial cleansing" from the Copperhead conspiracies of Kentucky and Indiana during the Civil War, to the unwillingness of Forsythe County, Georgia not only to come to terms to its own history of racial cleansing, but with the legacy of that event, as mirrored by the events of 1987, when a "Freedom March" was met with a virulent outburst of racial animosity. This book is a very compelling read, until the final chapters, which are dedicated to the author's struggles to get his materials published in the Cox Newspaper syndicate -- whose flagship paper happens to be the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which has a history of downplaying or outright denying the racial cleansing and its lingering aftermath in neighboring Forsythe county. This personal narrative of backroom editorial politics, while interesting, is a distraction from the book's main theme, and would have been more appropriately addressed as an epilogue, instead of being woven into the woof of the main narrative. Despite this shortcoming, Buried in the Bitter Waters is an important work, detailing a history which haunts the United States to this day.
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- Gregory

An Extremely Eye Opening Publication

What made the experience of listening to Buried in the Bitter Waters the most enjoyable?

The performance was outstanding. I enjoyed listening to every single page!


What did you like best about this story?

I was previously aware that a few (Rosewood, Forsyth County) communities of African Americans had been forcibly removed, but I had no idea that it was such a common event across the US. This book will make you feel as if you were there when the evictions took place. You will understand the emotions of those being removed. Most of all you will learn how the author fought hard for the property rights of those who lost land illegally during these evictions.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh yes!


Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this book not only for the student of history but also for anyone who is concerned about race relations in the past and present.

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- Tammy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-05-2007
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books