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.


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 "voracious consumer of books and music... dadaist, luftmensch, knight of standards & practices... motto: to be finite is to be fallible..."

Sad but true

Its sad how easy it is for us to forget and cover up the parts of our nation's past. We as a nation try not to see the elephant in the room. I know why, because it will make what was done to the Native Americans look tiny and what Nazis did to the Jewish People look small But, as a proud Black American "Americans" feel like wow if we as a people can still be strong in a nation that did everything to remove us and still be here hundreds of years later to write these thoughts of minds out in the open as I am now. I feel there should not be a limited time frame for those Black Americans to be paid for there losses. As we all know, White Americans want to forget and continue this closet hatred. One day I guess after all the old White Americans have died off the young White Americans can finally put this evil act to rest because all the young White Americans feel like I do, Change is coming!!!!
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- JeVaughn

Book Details

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