Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy

Product Details
Basic Books
Publish Date
6.51 X 9.53 X 1.16 inches | 1.19 pounds

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About the Author
Gary May is a professor of history at the University of Delaware. Winner of the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians and author of four books, including The Informant: The FBI, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Murder of Viola Liuzzo, May lives in Newark, Delaware.
Kirkus Reviews
"A meticulous, impassioned narrative.... May delivers a fascinating account of the legislative maneuvering required to corral enough Republican votes to shut down the inevitable filibuster by southern Democrats and bring about final passage.... Superb history."

"An illuminating history of a law that remains all too relevant."

Library Journal
"Compelling.... This lucid investigation of the act's history relates its critical importance to American democracy."

Robert Dallek, author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, 1917-1963
"Gary May's compelling history of why and how the Voting Rights Act advanced the promise of American life could not be more timely. Every member of the Supreme Court and every citizen interested in the widest possible access to the ballot box will want to read May's book. It should be recognized as the standard work on this most important subject."
The Washington Post
"[An] exemplary account of the landmark law.... May moves nimbly through the swirl of events that led to the Voting Rights Act."

New York Review of Books
"May's eminently readable book is particularly timely because the Supreme Court, on June 25, 2013, issued its decision in Shelby County v. Holder.... May's book contains a wealth of information about the events that led to the enactment of the 1965 statute--and about the dedication and heroism of little-known participants in the events that came to national attention in 1964 and 1965."

"We have all probably talked about the Voting Rights Act in hushed whispers for too long. May's efforts go a long way toward ending that silence."

The New Yorker
"A book of the classical phase, a lively and unabashedly partisan account of Selma and the Voting Rights Act.... May tells the story his own way, and he is able to add many details."

The Nation
"A great introduction to voting rights at a moment when the subject is drawing more attention than any time since 1965."

Zocalo Public Square
"May's compelling narrative history brings individual experiences to life without losing sight of the bigger arc of a nation."
Montgomery Advertiser
"Bending Toward Justice is remarkable and deserves to be read by those interested in the civil rights movement."

American Studies Journal
"In this extremely compelling narrative, historian Gary May does a masterful job of connecting the actions of blacks in the south who wished to exercise their political rights and broader local, regional, and national developments."

The News Journal
"The story of the act is dramatically told by Gary May.... You cannot read this book without becoming convinced that the act was the most important law of the 20th century."

Journal of American History
"Even the most knowledgeable will find interesting new nuggets here."

Publishers Weekly
"May's lively and cogent history of the Voting Rights Act is indispensable reading for anyone concerned about the erosion of voting rights that has accompanied the election of Barack Obama, America's first black president, especially as the issue is still up for debate in 2013, in a case to be heard by the Supreme Court.... May has constructed a vivid, fast-paced morality tale.... By focusing on Selma, May pays tribute to the courage of otherwise ordinary people and makes a case for the continued relevance of this legislation."
Rick Valelly, Swarthmore College, author of The Two Reconstructions
"In this vivid and beautifully written page-turner, May brings the story of the Voting Right Act to life in an altogether new way by deftly drawing out the personal stories and voices of this epoch-making statute. At a time when the future of the Voting Rights Act is uncertain and up for debate, May's book could not be more timely--or more readable."

Nick Kotz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America
"Gary May's dramatic Bending Toward Justice brings alive the critical dynamic between grass roots advocacy and political leadership which produced the most significant advance in civil rights since the Emancipation Proclamation. How this victory was achieved provides vital lessons to any citizen concerned about the importance of voting rights protections and the dangers and challenges to those rights today."