This exploration of the 1866 race riot in Memphis perfectly balances accessible reading with scrupulous scholarship. Ash’s illumination of the almost-forgotten riot gives the reader a glimpse, not just into the political and social instability of post-Civil War Memphis, but into the challenges facing racial and ethnic minorities across the Deep South. Ash avoids simplified characterizations of the series of events surrounding the riot in favor of a well-sourced and nuanced narrative that explodes the most common whitewashed retellings. Massacre in Memphis’ stated goal, “to help revive the memory of the riot, which is dim,” is masterfully met; this book is evocative both intellectually and emotionally. Just in time for the riot’s 150th anniversary, Massacre in Memphis provides its readers with a gripping reminder of how things have changed and how they haven’t.
(This book cannot be returned.)