Rep. John Lewis has been in the news more and more recently, especially with the election and the new president. With the end of Black History month it seemed like a good time to read his book.
Most of the book chronicles his work in the Civil Rights Movement. We get introduced to his early life and growing up and we gradually see him move into working with the CRM. These early parts were really interesting to me. It really hit home that it was (and remains) a body of work that required a lot of time, energy, labor, bodies (literally), emotional effort, etc. The participants spent years, decades putting work into the movement.
It hit home for me that movements like CRM isn't something that can appear out of nowhere but requires a large chunk of people in ways that are sometimes intangible. And even though we live in an age of people getting messages instantly and want things done right now, something like the CRM couldn't be accomplished in that way. It was definitely a book that has given me a lot of food for thought in light of current and recent events.
That said, I agree with a lot of the reviews that said it could have been edited more. As a chronicle it is a book that will probably remain critical and important for historians. But as a layperson who had read his graphic novel trilogy ("March") and had read some civil rights history very recently (and therefore it is relatively fresh in my mind), this was still easy to get lost in the myriad of names, group acronyms, etc.
However, of course I don't mind regret reading it or buying it. It was an enjoyable read and I learned a lot. There are quite a few people who could really benefit from reading this. That said, it might be helpful if you've read his graphic novel trilogy as mentioned above and have at least a grounding in the CRM. The movie 'Selma' might also be a good compliment to this book as well. Already having that foundation made it easier for me to be able to put down the book when life got in the way yet still understand at what of history I had dropped off. Great if you need a long book, non-fiction read or want to read up on the Civil Rights Movement.