Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968

Waging a Good War

By Thomas E. Ricks. Offers a fresh perspective on the civil rights movement and its legacy today. Draws deeply on the author’s knowledge of tactics and strategy to advance a surprising but revelatory idea: the greatest victories were won not by idealism alone, but by paying attention to recruiting, training, discipline, and organization―the hallmarks of any successful military campaign. The book narrates the Movement’s triumphs and defeats — follows King and other key figures from Montgomery to Memphis, demonstrating that Gandhian nonviolence was a philosophy of active, not passive, resistance―involving the bold and sustained confrontation of the Movement’s adversaries, both on the ground and in the court of public opinion. Brings Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis into new focus, and highlights lesser-known figures who played critical roles such as James Lawson, James Bevel, Diane Nash, and Septima Clark. Offers a new understanding of the Movement’s later difficulties as internal disputes and white backlash intensified. Read more.