The Lynching Waltz Reviews
Lynching Waltz Conveys Message of Hope
Stephen L. Kanne’s second novel, The Lynching Waltz, is historical fiction inspired by a real event that occurred in the author’s hometown of Glencoe, Illinois, in 1947.
It was a favorite and cherished tradition for junior high students to participate in a ballroom dancing class called Fortnighty. The incident began when the new teacher sent a letter home saying that black students were no longer allowed to participate. The town came together in a show of unity and brought an end to the class because all students were not welcomed. This ban on dancing sets the stage for the opening of The Lynching Waltz.
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Reviewer for The Durango Herald
A Powerful Learning Journey
As you read Stephen Kanne’s novel, The Lynching Waltz, let your mind step into the stories. For it is a collection of stories that pull you into another time when EQUAL didn’t really mean equal. It hurts the soul to read of such bigotry, a betrayal that reaches to the very foundation of our country’s promise to all people.
Follow twelve-year-old Jamie through his learning journey with his black grandfather, a retired federal judge, as he introduces Jamie to the history of his ancestors of the long ago past. As each story unfolds, a hunger is born inside Jamie. And like Jamie, I, too, experienced that same hunger. I read each story knowing that this writer would link each one. I knew this because I sensed his integrity in the ‘feel’ of his words, how he handled each scene in such careful usage of cradling the moments of sheer unbelief.
Even though this book is a novel in form, there are enough truths woven into the stories that it sits as a work of truths to be revisited again and again in a reader’s mind long after closing the book.
I highly recommend this book to people who have a thirst for knowledge, a love of people, ALL People, and an unquenchable desire to read good books.
Author of poems, memoirs, and novels including The House On Sunflower Road
‘Blocking out the past would never make it go away … or make it better … or stop history from repeating itself’
Author Stephen L. Kane has lived through training and education levels that make his newest historical novel all the more credible: he has seen all sides of major issues. He is an honors graduate from Harvard College, served in the Army as a journalist, attended Stanford Law School, practicing real state law for over three decades. THE LYNCHING WALTZ is his second novel, the first being the impressive and much lauded THE FURAX CONNECTION.
Reading Steve’s novel should be imperative for all from the high school and college level to graduate school to everyday people. It is one of the more profound dissections of vile racism both past and present and if we are ever able to alter the racial tensions of today we must indeed examine our history well.
Writing a review of this book is humbling – no one could say it better than Steve has and to attempt to distill such a major achievement is a brief overview would not do the book justice. There is an opening section about the book that if more potential readers can digest, then it is best to offer that here.
THE 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.’
Enough said. This book is not only important, it is also a beautifully sculpted novel. Awards will follow, but more important is that we re-examine racism – and change. Grady Harp, June 16
A Good Book to Share
Racial tensions still exist in America after slavery ended over 150 years ago. Steve's book, The Lynching Waltz, gives us hope we can overcome these racist attitudes wherever they exist. You will experience a sideline view of one's family history as told by a grandfather as he journeys through time with his grandson. While, at times, it may not be comfortable to be this close to the action, it is necessary in order to appreciate the steps many have taken to bring us together.
I was too young to appreciate the civil rights movement of the sixties. Events which happened prior to my teen years I've learned through education and reading. While not an educator, I feel this is an important read for high school students around the country. This is yet another tool for understanding which, hopefully, helps to eradicate racism.
Wonderful work of historical fiction
Wonderful work of historical fiction. Stephen Kanne uses a creative approach in exploring the issues of racial discrimination over the years by way of several sub stories that come together in the end. An excellent and educational read!
The book brought to life in a superb way the human stories.
The book brought to life in a superb way the human stories that have to accompany such a wrenching episode in our national life as was slavery and its aftermath to the current time. I read it nonstop once I started - very gripping!
A must read!!!
Outstanding, well written, an important message for everyone, a must read for my family.