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Five Days
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Five Days
The Fiery Reckoning of an American City
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“An illuminating portrait of Baltimore in the aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray . . . Readers will be enthralled by this propulsive account.”—Publishers...
“An illuminating portrait of Baltimore in the aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray . . . Readers will be enthralled by this propulsive account.”—Publishers...
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  • “An illuminating portrait of Baltimore in the aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray . . . Readers will be enthralled by this propulsive account.”—Publishers Weekly
     
    LONGLISTED FOR THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LIBRARY JOURNAL


    From the New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore, a kaleidoscopic account of five days in the life of a city on the edge, told through eight characters on the front lines of the uprising that overtook Baltimore and riveted the world

    When Freddie Gray was arrested for possessing an “illegal knife” in April 2015, he was, by eyewitness accounts that video evidence later confirmed, treated “roughly” as police loaded him into a vehicle. By the end of his trip in the police van, Gray was in a coma from which he would never recover.

    In the wake of a long history of police abuse in Baltimore, this killing felt like the final straw—it led to a week of protests, then five days described alternately as a riot or an uprising that set the entire city on edge and caught the nation's attention.

    Wes Moore is a Rhodes Scholar, bestselling author, decorated combat veteran, former White House fellow, and CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty nonprofits in the nation. While attending Gray’s funeral, he saw every stratum of the city come together: grieving mothers, members of the city’s wealthy elite, activists, and the long-suffering citizens of Baltimore—all looking to comfort one another, but also looking for answers. He knew that when they left the church, these factions would spread out to their own corners, but that the answers they were all looking for could be found only in the city as a whole. 

    Moore—along with journalist Erica Green—tells the story of the Baltimore uprising both through his own observations and through the eyes of other Baltimoreans: Partee, a conflicted black captain of the Baltimore Police Department; Jenny, a young white public defender who’s drawn into the violent center of the uprising herself; Tawanda, a young black woman who’d spent a lonely year protesting the killing of her own brother by police; and John Angelos, scion of the city’s most powerful family and executive vice president of the Baltimore Orioles, who had to make choices of conscience he’d never before confronted.

    Each shifting point of view contributes to an engrossing, cacophonous account of one of the most consequential moments in our recent history, which is also an essential cri de coeur about the deeper causes of the violence and the small seeds of hope planted in its aftermath.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1

    Saturday, April 25

    Tawanda

    Tawanda Jones had been waiting two years to join this march for justice. Well, not exactly this march—it was not for her brother but for another black man from the opposite side of town—but at the end of the day, she decided, any black man is every black man. Freddie Gray’s death a week ago had breathed new life into the cases of others who had come before him, including Tawanda’s brother, Tyrone West.

    Two years on from her brother’s death, Tawanda felt like everyone else had forgotten the one thing she knew she’d never get out of her mind: the July day his body had lain on the sidewalk, drenched in pepper spray from the violent arrest the police said he deserved.

    There were two unreconcilable sides to the story: what the police said and what she knew in her heart. Their story: Her brother, a black man, large and hostile, had refused to follow orders and then struggled with them. They said that he was dehydrated and had a heart condition and died in the struggle. Her story: Her brother was murdered.

    She had been screaming her story into microphones and bullhorns every week for nearly one hundred weeks, in winter and summer, rain and sleet, armed only with posters of her gentle brother’s face, his eyes pleading to the crowd to pay attention. For more than seven hundred days she had been taking her cause to the corners. Sometimes she was with whatever small group she could assemble—family, friends, occasionally strangers with gripes of their own. Sometimes she was alone, shouting into the Baltimore sky.

    No justice, No peace.

    One man, Unarmed.

    Justice for Tyrone West.

    She called the protests “West Wednesdays.” It had a ring to it. The news liked catchy slogans. And reporters from all the news outlets were going to be here today.

    Tawanda had been asked by Freddie Gray’s family to help lead the protest from Gilmor Homes, the housing project in West Baltimore where Freddie had been arrested, to City Hall. They knew about her commitment not just to her brother but also, beyond her own heartbreak, to the larger cause of addressing police violence and accountability. They respected her—the hours and days she’d already put into this work—and wanted her to stand with them. It was going to be the big protest to cap all the others that had sparked in the last week, ever since the news broke that the twenty-five-year-old would not survive the break in his spine.

    She had watched all the shaky cellphone videos of Gray being dragged by the police, and Tawanda felt her soul pierced every time she heard his screams blare from the television—not just in sympathy for Gray but for herself, for she wished she had gotten to hear her brother’s voice, even his screams, in his last seconds. But the videos were followed by a familiar script on the newscasts, one Tawanda recognized too well: Black male. Encounter with police. Dead.

    Tawanda had met Freddie’s mother, Gloria, at a protest exactly one week before the big march, while her son still lay in a coma at Shock Trauma. Tawanda was eager to give the Gray family something she had not been afforded after Tyrone’s encounter with the police: hope.

    “Don’t give up hope,” she told Freddie’s mother. “He’s going to pull through. I’m going to be praying for your son.”

    The following day, a Sunday, Freddie was pronounced dead.

    When Tawanda heard the news, she was heartbroken, thinking over and over again about the moment the day before when she’d...

About the Author-

  • Wes Moore is the CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the largest antipoverty organizations in the country. His first book, The Other Wes Moore, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller; his second book, The Work, was also a bestseller and was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul Sunday. Moore appears regularly as a commentator on NBC News. He lives in his hometown of Baltimore with his wife and two children.

    Erica L. Green is an award-winning journalist for The New York Times.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 10, 2020
    Antipoverty activist Moore (The Other Wes Moore) presents an illuminating portrait of Baltimore in the aftermath of the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray. Arrested for unlawful possession of a knife, Gray suffered spinal cord injuries and fell into a coma during his transport to the police station. Moore picks up the story a week after Gray’s death, when a protest march erupted into violence, and chronicles a five-day period during which the city teetered between chaos and calm. He tells the story from the perspectives of seven Baltimoreans, including Tawanda Jones, whose own brother had died during “an altercation with law enforcement”; Maj. Marc Partee, the first African-American police commander of the city’s Inner Harbor district; Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby; and juvenile public defender Jenny Egan, who volunteered to support jailed protestors and ended up in her own confrontation with police. Alternating perspectives from one short chapter to the next, Moore captures the fear, anger, uncertainty, and hope of locals who saw their city fall apart and struggle to come back together. Though the perspective of Gray’s friends and family is missing, Moore provides important context in the history of Baltimore’s racial and income inequality and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Readers will be enthralled by this propulsive account.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2020
    How one man's death from police brutality exposed a city's pain and anger. On April 12, 2015, 25-year-old Freddie Gray was chased and searched by Baltimore policemen. When they found he had a pocketknife, they arrested him, placing him in leg irons in the back of a police van. By the time the van arrived at the station, Gray was unconscious; at the University of Maryland Medical Center, he underwent surgery for three broken vertebrae and an injured voice box. After a week in a coma, he died. Political analyst and activist Moore, head of the anti-poverty Robin Hood Foundation and a Baltimore native, closely examines the unrest that followed Gray's death by recounting the experiences of a series of people deeply affected by the events. The result is a visceral collective portrait of a community beset by poverty and injustice. "What really happened over those five days?" Moore asks. "And what do we do next?" Among the voices that the author includes are those of a black policeman hoping "to heal the disconnect between police and the West Baltimore community he grew up in"; a woman whose brother was a victim of police brutality, desperately trying to hold the perpetrators accountable; a white public defender who has devoted her career to working with juveniles; a prominent lawyer who turned to representing plaintiffs in police brutality cases; the owner of the Orioles, stunned by the protestors' violence, who came to see that his team needed to foster a relationship with the community; a well-regarded civic leader who organized a peaceful protest march that included Congressman Elijah Cummings and local ministers; and the manager of a beloved recreation venue that was protected from the uprisings by a group who made sure that everyone knew the business was black-owned. By focusing on a cross-section of individuals, Moore underscores his point that "our fates are profoundly intertwined." Gray's death, a result of the complex consequences of poverty, impels all Americans to "wrestle with the history of complicity and bias." Moving testimony to a nation's deep wounds.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2020

    On April 12, 2015, Baltimore resident Freddie Gray was arrested and charged with possession of a knife. According to witnesses, police officers cuffed Gray and put him in the back of a police van. However, there remains speculation as to whether officers beat or kicked him. While being transported in the van, Gray fell into a coma; he died on April 19, 2015 due to injuries to his spinal cord. The protests that followed are the focus of this latest from best-selling author Moore (The Other Wes Moore), coauthored with journalist Green. Through the perspectives of eight different people, Moore creates a tableau in which the effects of the protests and the differing relationships between citizens and the Baltimore Police Department are explored. Though it is clear that Moore believes that the police department is guilty of abuse toward poor black citizens, he still maintains a sense of balance by allowing a high-ranking African American police officer as well as white city officials to share their perspectives on the protests. VERDICT A rich, yet disturbing tapestry of modern U.S. history that succeeds in presenting how the power of protest creates situations that are at once chaotic, cathartic, and life-changing.--Leah Huey, Dekalb P.L., IL

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2020
    Moore (The Work, 2015; The Other Wes Moore, 2010) and journalist Green look at five days of rioting that shook Baltimore in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man killed by city police. Instead of a traditional narrative, Moore and Green allow the events to unfold through the eyes of seven different people, ranging from everyday citizens who get caught up in the days' events to community and business leaders, a police captain, and a politician. The action is presented chronologically in chapters devoted to each person's experiences. The shifting perspectives give the story a broad scope, revealing how tragedy, injustice, and long-seeded socioeconomic and policing inequities ripped apart an already tense city. The escalating experiences of Greg Butler, 22, who intentionally punctured a fire hose being used by fire fighters extinguishing a burning building, and John Angelos, a Baltimore Orioles executive who tweeted support for the marches and blamed the city's unrest during decades of systemic, top-down abuse on the city's impoverished, are particularly powerful and show how the conflict impacted every stratum of the city.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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