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Praying for Sheetrock: A Work of Nonfiction Paperback – 29 Aug 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 29 Aug 2006
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (29 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306815176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306815171
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,704,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"A fascinating account of the black community's gradual political awakening."

"[Greene] writes with the lyricism of a poet and the skill of a novelist.... A rare reading experience."

"An exciting book about the failures of idealism in America in the last decade and a half.... Poetic and picaresque."

"In a cautionary tale as wonderfully knotty as a plank of Georgia pine, Greene forcefully marks the danger in confusing ideals with those who preach them and thereby extends the import of her story far beyond the boundaries of little McIntosh County."

About the Author

Melissa Fay Greene is an award-winning author and journalist whose writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, the Chicago Tribune, and Newsweek. She is also the author of Last Man Out: The Story of the Springhill Mine Disaster and the forthcoming There Is No Me Without You (Bloomsbury Press). She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is hard to realise at first this book is set not in the 30s or even the 50s but much of the action goes right into the 1970s and we see a small, southern American county run like a feudal fiefdom where 'everyone knows their place.' Greene's skill is to bring the place alive without maudlin sentimentality nor with a view that evey black person was a quiet hero - though some were - and every white person was a concious and bigoted racist - though some were. She weaves the threads of the story together so the reader starts to see the shabby, frayed carpet that was society in this part of the world - largely ignored and forgotten and it is easy to expect that little has changed in the subsequent years. One of the best books I have come across on the fight for dignity out of segregation.
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Format: Paperback
Coastal Georgia is a frequent destination for me. Whenever I have to be away from it, I am planning the next time I'll be able to smell the marsh, feel the sand in my shoes and hear the musical voices of the residents. I have been to Darien many, many times, but my first visit was in 1994, long after the initial events in this book took place. Reading PRAYING FOR SHEETROCK was educational, to say the least. What Melissa Fay Greene does in her narrative is show you the different Dariens - the black experience is (or was) far different from the one enjoyed by whites in this historic community.

It is said that there are two sides to every story; in SHEETROCK, there are significantly more than that to be found. McIntosh County is a prism, and the truth is refracted through every possible angle. Greene tries not to take sides. She offers as much of a journalistic approach as possible, starting with the early 1970s and the corruption in the local government, and ending with the changes in the life of Thurnell Alston, the man who, with others in his community, stood up to the status quo.

At times, Greene's writing approaches the poetic. Her use of language is nothing less than stunning. She evokes the true beauty of this part of the world, and reminds me, even in the bleak passages, why I love it so. Few other authors I've read have been so successful in bringing the environment to mind, even when describing the mosquitos and choking dust on a dry day. Almost anyone can write a beautiful sunset; it's a truly excellent writer who can narrate a lack of plumbing and make it interesting.

PRAYING FOR SHEETROCK may not prove to be interesting to everyone who reads it. Those who have ties to the McIntosh County will get the most out of it, I believe, and others may be bored. As someone who loves Coastal Georgia, and American history, I was fascinated.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book abt how the over-arching story of the civil rights movement played out in a locality in the South and expected a lot from this book. But it ended up not being especially informative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 60 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read 19 April 2013
By conrad - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a photographer and when we travel it's on back roads. This book is about one of those areas we found and return often. It happened in southeast Georgina in the county from top to bottom runs highway 17 which was the highway from every where to Florida. That road was like a hucksters paradise and con men and women from all the wrong places picked and fleeced tourist . The story is about the black and whites who lived there and the Sherif that ran the county. It's just a good story very well done by a great author that gives a real in site into the lives of real people.
COST: 1c, 3.99 shipping and worth a fortune. Almost all of the people who live in small towns every where are not like we think they are just because we think they are. Travel, through a place and time that is no longer there. I-95 has changed the East Coast, North and South for better and worse, but I love it all for one reason or another. God bless you all, or "y'all" or "youse guys" I know thats not how it's spelled,but to my ears thats how it sounds, one country,many good people.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praying for Sheetrock - a great history lesson of McIntosh County 18 Mar. 2013
By K. McCranie - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first borrowed the book and read it several years ago, and I wanted to have my own copy. The book is well written and is written from a personal standpoint by someone who knows the area and is personally familiar with the occurrences. If you have any connection to McIntosh County or the south Georgia coast, it is worth reading; and even if no connection, it gives a depiction of small town corruption and is worth reading. I enjoyed it very much.
5.0 out of 5 stars One good book 24 Jun. 2014
By Linda S. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm obviously years behind in my reading, because I have just discovered Greene's work. This is an honest retelling of life. There are no heroes or villains... just people... some who abuse power, some who stand up and some who's motivation changes over time. Just like real life's everyday struggles. A big thumb's up for me and I can't wait to read more of her books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Glimpse Into How Things Used to Be 4 Mar. 2013
By Novice Electronic Guy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great work of non-fiction. I first read this as a selection in a Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection 20 years ago. The book captures much of how things were in the coastal Georgia backwaters where this story took place. I recommend this as a read for anyone looking to know more about how much power old-time Georgia Sheriffs once wielded. Highly entertaining.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 21 Aug. 2016
By Robert F. Parks - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting I lived 15 miles from where all of this was going on very real to me.
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