Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America recounts the story of three innocent victims, all of whom suffered violent deaths through no fault of their own: Vaudine Maddox in 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Sergeant Gene Ballard in 1979 in Birmingham, and Michael Donald in 1981 in Mobile. The death of Vaudine Maddox - and the lynchings that followed - serves as a cautionary tale about the violence that occurred in the same region nearly 50 years later, highlighting the cowardice, ignorance, and happenstance that sustained a culture of racial intolerance far into the future.
Nearly half a century later, after a black bank robber was acquitted for the murder of police sergeant Gene Ballard, two Klansmen took it upon themselves to exact revenge on an innocent victim - 19-year-old African American Michael Donald. Donald's murder - deemed the last lynching in America - reignited the race debate in America and culminated in a courtroom drama in which the United Klans of America were at long last put on trial.
A work of literary journalism, Thirteen Loops draws upon rarely examined primary sources, court documents, newspaper reports, and firsthand accounts in an effort to unravel the twisted tale of a pair of interconnected murders that forever altered United States' race relations.
"A creatively written, edifying work of historical significance and a boon for those interested in Southern race relations." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Thirteen Loops [is] one of those rare books that is impossible to put down, that is transformative, that will remain forever in memory." (Haydens Ferry Review)
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