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The Best of Enemies by Osha Gray Davidson
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The Best of Enemies

Race and Redemption in the New South

$20.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $22.95

Discount: 9%

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Length 11 hours 1 minute
Language English
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C. P. Ellis grew up in the poor white section of Durham, North Carolina, and as a young man joined the Ku Klux Klan.

Ann Atwater, a single mother from the poor black part of town, quit her job as a household domestic to join the civil rights fight.

During the 1960s, as the country struggled with the explosive issue of race, Atwater and Ellis met on opposite sides of the public school integration issue. Their encounters were charged with hatred and suspicion. In an amazing set of transformations, however, each of them came to see how the other had been exploited by the South’s rigid power structure, and they forged a friendship that flourished against a backdrop of unrelenting bigotry.

Rich with details about the rhythms of daily life in the mid-twentieth-century South, The Best of Enemies offers a vivid portrait of a relationship that defied all odds. By placing this very personal story into broader context, Osha Gray Davidson demonstrates that race is intimately tied to issues of class and that cooperation is possible—even in the most divisive situations—when people begin to listen to one another.

Osha Gray Davidson is a journalist and author, most recently of Clean Break: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It.

Keith Sellon-Wright is a seasoned professional with a career in Hollywood spanning over thirty years. He has had the good fortune to work with some of Hollywood's seminal directors, including Christopher Guest and Spike Lee. His TV career includes some of the most important shows in TV history, going back to shows such as Wings, Frasier, Seinfeld, and The West Wing. More recently he's appeared on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, NCIS, Mad Men, and Parks and Recreation. The majority of Keith's audiobook work so far is nonfiction, ("I love what I get to learn!") but as a lifelong storyteller, he of course loves fiction too. Keith also serves as a "voice of the New York Times," narrating selected articles for the daily audio edition on Audible. He records from a "killer" booth he built at his residence in Southern California. The quickest way to Keith's heart-introduce him to a great new wine!

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Reviews

“For eighty years we’ve waited for a reply to Birth of a Nation. At last Osha Gray Davidson has done the job…In a time of bleakness, it sounds a note of hope. The Best of Enemies is a glorious work.”

“Provides a brilliant beginning for understanding the South’s many poor sons and daughters, black and white.”

“Based on the true story of a rivalry-turned-unlikely-friendship.”

“A well-crafted portrait of the evolution of race relations in Durham, North Carolina—and of America’s tendency to ignore issues of class.”

“A powerful testament to the redemptive powers of human nature.”

“This eloquent blend of history and advocacy journalism ends with a follow-up on the major figures and with that rarest quality in a book on race in America—a reason for hope.”

“Narrator Keith Sellon-Wright reflects the writer’s engagement with reaching back to post-Civil War Durham, North Carolina, to explain its distinctive economic and social development. Davidson’s account is studded with anecdotes, and all receive a lively delivery by Sellon-Wright. Woven into the city’s history are stories of C.P. Ellis, a staunch KKK leader, and Ann Atwater, a powerful African-American activist. Sellon-Wright vivifies their pasts of poverty and instability. When the two serve on a committee to improve the chaotic Durham public schools, which their children attend, Sellon-Wright captures their emotional opposition and, finally, their mutual understanding and respect.”

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