The Lynching Waltz

Author: Stephen L. Kanne

lynching-waltz-200The Lynching Waltz—the story of how a small community came to the defense of its black children in 1947 and unwittingly sowed the early seeds of the Civil Rights Movement.

Inspired by an actual racist incident of the author’s youth, this is a remarkable story of how the good people of tiny Glencoe, Illinois, blunted a racist assault against its black children.  Because all participants are gone and because what precisely occurred is unknown, the book has become a work of historical fiction.

Seen through the eyes of a black grandfather, retired federal judge James Lincoln Washburn Jr., and his twelve-year-old grandson, Jamie, the reader is carried away on a whirlwind journey of discovery which includes:

– a meeting with Bucky, the greatest baseball player of all time who never played;

– an encounter with large, oafish Bruno Steiner, a WWI hero who eventually becomes a great friend of Glencoe’s children;

– a brutal, senseless racist atrocity perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan;

– a Tuskegee aviator’s perilous adventure in the flak-filled skies over Europe; and

– the tale of a brilliant slave who changes the lives of thousands.

With their journey of discovery now at an end, Judge Washburn and Jamie return to Glencoe where they witness the uplifting manner in which its citizens deal with racial injustice.

And, finally, in an Epilogue of both surprises and closure, the author promises a sequel on the shameful internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, yet another event of his youth.

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After graduating from Harvard College, Steve Kanne served in the Army as an overseas military news reporter and editor. Following his discharge from the service, he attended Stanford Law School and then practiced real estate law for over three decades. Steve wrote one of the three winning short stories in the 2006 Stanford Fiction Contest (his short story, My Auntie’s Wedding, is available online at the Stanford Magazine site).