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In the shadow of statues : a white Southerner confronts history
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2018
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Library Journal Reviews

Landrieu, in his final year as mayor of New Orleans, has written a personal and political memoir focusing largely on his developing awareness of racial issues that eventually led to his involvement in removing four controversial public statues. Landrieu recognized the city's racial and social tensions during his childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, while his father was active in state and national politics, the author became aware of larger national issues and witnessed the rise of the David Duke. As a Louisiana legislator and lieutenant governor in the 1990s, Landrieu followed his father and his sister into politics. Finally, serving as mayor has forced him to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to confront racial tensions that were manifest in the fight over Confederate statues. Unfortunately, partly because of its episodic structure, this volume fails to reveal Landrieu's motivation for choosing his career path beyond the influence of various role models, particularly his father, in shaping his values. Beyond that, the text is marred by sloppy syntax and overall careless editing, making for a sometimes poorly written account. VERDICT Primarily recommended for those interested in Landrieu's career and New Orleans politics.—Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Author Biography

Mitch Landrieu was the mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. A Democrat, Landrieu served as lieutenant governor of Louisiana from 2004 to 2010. His father, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans from 1970 to 1978 and a leading civil rights pioneer. Landrieu is the founder of the E Pluribus Unum Fund, which works to bring people together across the American South around the issues of race, equity, economic opportunity and violence, proving the American motto that "out of many, one," and we are better for it. - (Penguin Putnam)

Annotations

The New Orleans mayor who removed Confederate statues from the city confronts the racism that shapes many Americans and argues for white America to reckon with its past. - (Baker & Taylor)

The New Orleans mayor who removed the Confederate statues confronts the racism that shapes the United States and argues for white America to reckon with its past. - (Baker & Taylor)

"An extraordinarily powerful journey that is both political and personal...An important book for everyone in America to read." --Walter Isaacson,#1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo Da Vinci and Steve Jobs

The New Orleans mayor who removed the Confederate statues confronts the racism that shapes us and argues for white America to reckon with its past. A passionate, personal, urgent book from the man who sparked a national debate.


"There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it." When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, Mayor Landrieu discusses his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackles the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traces his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state legislator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 19070s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation's most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened.

Equal parts unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America's most painful legacy, In the Shadow of Statues will contribute strongly to the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed. - (Penguin Putnam)

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