“The collapse of the immoral ‘Jim Crow’ regime of racial segregation and discrimination in this country was, in historic terms, as swift as it was complete. It is a story worth remembering.” So begins reviewer Ray Hartwell in his recent Washington Times review of Brandt Ayers’s In Love with Defeat, newly published by NewSouth Books.
Brandt Ayers is the long-time publisher of the Anniston Star and one in a long and illustrious family line of progressive journalists. In Love with Defeat describes Ayers’s experience as a journalist and editor during the civil rights struggle, when he led the Anniston Star and worked to combat the violence and racism in his community and throughout the state of Alabama. Going beyond the civil rights movement, Ayers chronicles the journey of the state and the South from segregation to the birth of the New South movement and all the way to the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
Mr. Hartwell observes that “we are fortunate when someone who played an important role in those events … shares his recollections and reflections,” and describes Ayers as “a skilled storyteller.” He concludes by saying that “readers of all political persuasions will find Mr. Ayers’s book rewarding, for this Alabaman’s story is really about all of us.”
“For people who think they have read plenty about the South’s history over the past 70 years, Anniston Star Publisher H. Brandt Ayers offers a fresh take, with his personal stories chronicling not only change across the region, but the evolution of his personal politics,” writes Phillip Rawls of the Associated Press in a story that was picked up by dozens of newspapers across the country, from the Danbury (Connecticut) News Times to the San Antonio (Texas) Express-News.
In In Love With Defeat, Ayers chronicles his personal journey from a “good little segregationist” to “a committed Southern liberal — a lonely species, too hot for home, but not hot enough for high-churched liberals in Manhattan and Los Angeles.” Rawls remarks that In Love with Defeat is filled with stories of “everyday people as well as presidents, hooded Ku Klux Klan members, and Southerners who became the faces of change,” and concludes that “what comes through … is that Ayers never lost his passion for Anniston, Alabama or the South — no matter how many times his desire for change ended in defeat.”