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The Children

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In February 1960, a group of black college students took seats at white-only lunch counters in downtown Nashville and quietly refused to leave. The civil rights revolution they ignited is the subject of Halberstam’s exhaustively researched, deeply moving latest book, The Children. To best capture the turmoil of the sit-ins, freedom rides, and marches that changed a nation, Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer for his Vietnam reporting for The New York Times and can craft a powerful story through the tiniest of details, stays focused on the college students who spent years in what they came to call the Movement. Through his reporting, the ”children” come vividly to life — we feel their triumph over segregation and voting discrimination, their terror when faced with beatings and arrests, and their frustration as life after the 1960s proves achingly anticlimactic. By the end, the scope of their achievements — and the depth of their personal sacrifices — is humbling indeed. A