University of Alabama Press

Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America recounts the story of three innocent victims, all of whom suffered violent deaths through no fault of their own: Vaudine Maddox in 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Sergeant Gene Ballard in 1979 in Birmingham, and Michael Donald in 1981 in Mobile.


While tracing the relationships among these murders, B. J. Hollars's research led him deep into the heart of Alabama's racial, political, and legal landscapes. A work of literary journalism, Thirteen Loops draws upon rarely examined primary sources, court documents, newspaper reports, and first-hand accounts in an effort to unravel the twisted tale of a pair of interconnected murders that forever altered United States' race relations.




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"Hollars puts a creative spin on his analysis of three lynching cases in the American South . . . With meticulous detailing, the author describes the three cases, individually and, in concluding updates, how they coalesce. . . . Hollars' text is scholarly and comprehensive but delivered in a fresh, far-from-dry journalistic style. . . . The author is also quite astute at drawing meaningful comparisons. He discusses Donald's lynching in 1981 alongside the murder of gay man Matthew Shepard in 1998, each established as a 'hate crime' and further solidifying the terminology in police work and legislation alike. A creatively written, edifying work of historical significance and a boon for those interested in Southern race relations."-Kirkus Reviews



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University of Alabama Press
Box 870380
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0380