Color Lines by Mike Kelly
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Color Lines:

The Troubled Dreams of Racial Harmony in an American Town

A small town in New Jersey became nationally known as a model of racial harmony – until a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager. The shooting exposed deep racial fissures that had long been hidden. It also forced the town to reexamine its history and its future.

“Color Lines is a stunning piece of American social history. Starting with two gunshots in the New Jersey night, Mike Kelly has woven an absorbing story of racial and social conflict in a single American town that deserves to be read by all who are about the future of their own community.”
-J. Anthony Lukas, author of “Common Ground”

“After a white cop shot a black kid, Mike Kelly plunged into the gray areas, where great journalism always resides. The result is a piercing inquiry into one death and a wrenching elegy for one town’s shattered dream. Color Lines will move you with its sober compassion and unflinching candor.”
-Samuel G. Freedman, author of “Small Victories”

“Only Kelly’s skill and unshakable integrity as a reporter and writer can have constrained him, at every flash point and critical juncture, to render an account as scrupulous and nuanced as it is magisterial – a verbal tapestry, devoid of editorializing, that is worthy of the tragedy it portrays. This is American journalism at its best. And a measure of the depth of Teaneck’s and America’s racial nightmare may be that often it is witnesses like Kelly, faithful but uncompromising, who remain our best hope.”
-Washington Post review

“Kelly skillfully dissects the shooting and the explosive feelings it unleashed … Color Lines has two important things to say about race in America. It vividly reminds us that life is not merely black and white, but too many shades of gray. And, near the end of the 20th century, the color line is America’s most enduring problem.”
-Columbus Dispatch review

“As an account of the search for the truth, it ranks high . . . Race is a thorny issue, and unlikely to become less thorny in our lifetimes. But with authors like Kelly able to lead the way using candor and thoughtfulness, optimism about the future seems more warranted.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer review

“A lively, well-balanced and thoroughly researched account . . . Provocative and informative, Color Lines confronts the issue of suburban race and class in all their complexities.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“Mike Kelly unflinchingly documents the racial crisis.”
-American Lawyer review

“A thoughtful and dramatic reconstruction of a crisis and its context.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Best Bet”
-USA Today

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