}
  • Troubling the Ashes

  • Troubling the Ashes is a work of historical fiction set in the turbulent 1960s when the integration of schools was bringing out the worst in people. The book's narrator, Marley Jane, and her family are living through the aftermath of a school burned to the ground by an unknown perpetrator in a small, Alabama town divided by hate. Based on actual events, likely unknown to the average reader, Troubling the Ashes is a story that needs to be told, and Aaron's passion in telling it is palpable.

    Troubling the Ashes focuses on the integration of the high schools of Macon County, Alabama. The story is told thought the eyes of the author with thoughts from key persons in state, county and local agencies. It puts the reader into the time frame of 1964 and explains the race relations at the time and the outrageous limits that people went to in order to keep the schools segregated. Troubling the Ashes is a must read for those who want a better understanding of the segregated south. I lived though those times as one of the seniors in the Class of 1964 at Notasulga High School.  – William Wyatt Jr. 

     

  • Reviews

  • TROUBLING THE ASHES was written to expose the intense racism (against blacks) in the south in the wake of the implementation of desegregation of public schools, particularly one public school in Notasulga, AL. But for me — a northerner born and raised and having always lived in the northeast — its impact focused on a different level: how religion is the primary and almost sole way to forms social networks and friendships. I had a sense of this dynamic, but the author really hammers it home in every page of the book. The lesson? If you don't go to church and find like-minded people to befriend, you will be friendless. As a southern-raised friend said to me, "There was nothing else to do there." I asked if it has changed in over 50 years. He speculated about it and replied, "Not much." As a proud atheist, I know that I would be totally alone there. What a contrasting situation from up north where there are so many social venues in which to interact. Aaron is a very good storyteller and amidst this serious book there are flashes of humor. I won't reveal them but will say that they are surprising and very southern. The first half of the book drags somewhat because it is all exposition; the second half picks up pace when characters share viewpoints directly with each other. Clearly only a native Alabamian who was THERE throughout the entire integration process could have written this book — or made it as personal and powerful as the author has. While I don't think the book has been categorized as "young adult" fiction, there the included discussion guide makes it ideal for high schoolers. Amidst these charged racial scenarios in which we live, Troubling the Ashes is a good history lesson for and not just for adults and not just for

    Amazon Customer

  • TROUBLING THE ASHES was written to expose the intense racism (against blacks) in the south in the wake of the implementation of desegregation of public schools, particularly one public school in Notasulga, AL. But for me — a northerner born and raised and having always lived in the northeast — its impact focused on a different level: how religion is the primary and almost sole way to forms social networks and friendships. I had a sense of this dynamic, but the author really hammers it home in every page of the book. The lesson? If you don't go to church and find like-minded people to befriend, you will be friendless. As a southern-raised friend said to me, "There was nothing else to do there." I asked if it has changed in over 50 years. He speculated about it and replied, "Not much." As a proud atheist, I know that I would be totally alone there. What a contrasting situation from up north where there are so many social venues in which to interact. Aaron is a very good storyteller and amidst this serious book there are flashes of humor. I won't reveal them but will say that they are surprising and very southern. The first half of the book drags somewhat because it is all exposition; the second half picks up pace when characters share viewpoints directly with each other. Clearly only a native Alabamian who was THERE throughout the entire integration process could have written this book — or made it as personal and powerful as the author has. While I don't think the book has been categorized as "young adult" fiction, there the included discussion guide makes it ideal for high schoolers. Amidst these charged racial scenarios in which we live, Troubling the Ashes is a good history lesson for and not just for adults and not just for southerners. I wonder how many kids (black kids included) know about the truly horrifying ordeals that black students (basically guinea pigs in a very dangerous experiment) had to undergo. A school was burned to the ground. I don't think that the perp gave a damn whether it had been inhabited or not when he set the fire. That no one was injured or killed was simply fortuitous for the students and administrators.

    Amazon Customer