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A Few Days Full of Trouble

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An account by Rev  Wheeler Parker of his lifetime  quest for information  and justice  in the lynching  of his cousin Emmett Till in 1955. The killing had a lifelong effect on Tills family and the US. Parker has written about living with this tragedy in a meditative, contemplative way seeking answers and forgiveness
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Wow. I thought I knew this story, but I was only scratching the surface. This should be essential reading for every American and textbook companies should incorporate Wheeler Parker and Benson's work. I learned so much and I am SO angry. We must do better.
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I was intrigued when I was contacted by the publisher to consider reading this book.  I previously read Mamie Till Mobley’s book, Death of Innocence which was co-written by Christopher Benson.  When I saw that Benson was co-writing this book, I wanted to see another aspect of the Emmett Till story and trust the work of Benson from my previous read.

This book is the account of Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr.  He is the last survivor of the horrendous night Emmett Till was kidnapped and murdered.  Parker was the best friend and cousin of Till.  I expected this to be an emotional read like I experienced with Death of Innocence.  Instead this was a critique of works that have been written about Emmett Till and analysis of the legal proceedings and investigations over the years.  It was refreshing to have an open account to the many pieces of the Emmett till story.

Since Parker is a minister he uses Job 14:1 as the title of the book, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.”  There are quite a few references to Wheeler’s religious journey and how it has been a part of his journey with telling the truth of Emmett Till and seeking justice for the Till family.

This book would be ideal for readers who are interested in nonfiction, investigations, civil rights, literary critique and religious studies.
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Special thanks to Random House/One World for reaching out to me with this book in exchange for an honest review!! I think this is going to be a long review, so if you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the important piece: READ THIS BOOK!!

I think like most people nowadays in America, I have heard the horrendous story of what happened to 14 year old Emmett Till back in 1955 and the court case that followed that let the men who murdered him go. This book however tempered my thoughts and feelings about the lynching, changing a story i thought was sad into a story that is absolutely terrifyingly tragic. This is because it is written by someone who was there. someone who felt the severe pain of the experience, and not only that, but someone who was Emmett's best friend and cousin, Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. 

Reverend Wheeler is an eloquent writer. From page one you feel entranced by the words he pens. It is almost like he is sitting next to you, discussing all this over lunch, making sure you are understanding everything he is saying. He writes patiently, and I am thankful for that because this book has a lot of names in it!!  Reverend Wheeler makes sure you know who everyone is in this piece, and will repeat titles and familial correlations throughout the book to ensure the reader's full understanding. 

This story starts at the beginning, long before the terrible murder, when Reverend Wheeler and Emmett were even younger boys, and this book ends in 2021. He takes you through the full journey of being best buddies with his cousin, experiencing the night of terror when they took Emmett from the house, and the long slog for justice that continues even now that the book has been written. It is a painful journey, but a very important one to learn about! I cannot express how imperative I feel this piece will be for the future of our country, and the world really, because of how raw and unfiltered everything Reverend Wheeler discusses. 

You feel his fear that terrible night, you learn about his survivor's guilt, you see the joy he felt being with Emmett before the terrible lynching, and you feel the frustration of being a black person in the 50's, and a black person in the 2020's. Throughout the piece you think about how things have progressed, but also how things need to keep going. Reverend Wheeler does an amazing job of sharing his insights into the issues of race and white supremacy's hold on the world while also citing facts and making sure nothing he says is misinterpreted the wrong way. 

As you might assume, there are many other books out there (and shows, movies, etc etc) that try and show the story of Emmett Till, and although most of them attempt to bring the most accurate interpretation of what happened to the readers, they all fall flat. THIS book does not fall flat, in fact I would dare say it is one of the only pieces out there that could be seen as an accurate interpretation of what transpired, not just because Reverend Wheeler cites and proves the research he's done, but because ***he was there***. And as of this date in 2022, he is the only surviving member that is still alive, the last of the survivors. 

I am so thankful to have read this book. It has given me such a deeper understanding of the cruelty that was shown to not only Emmett, but to black Americans back then AND today. It will anger you to read, but hopefully will inspire each of us to learn to be better people to each other and ignite the flame in everyone's hearts to strive for justice and equality for all. This piece will change you, but I promise it's for the better.
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This is a book you need to be mentally and emotionally ready to read.  It will provide details about Emmett Till that were never shared and it's very brutal and honest.  It's a must read.
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I have long had a strong interest in the story of Emmett Till, have watched documentaries and read several books about it.  By my count, Amazon has twenty books on the subject, some of them very good.  I'm sorry that I can't include this book in that number. If you're going to write a twenty-first book on a subject, it needs to add very important new information or insight.  I was distracted and bothered by the space taken by Rev. Parker's focus on himself.  It felt almost like "photo-bombing".  Emmett's cousin, Simeon, wrote a moving memoir that was much more to the point. Some of the Till books have good information about the history of the segregated South and lynching.  Rev. Wright's book goes to great length telling of the FBI re-opening this case but, again, a great deal of the focus is on himself, quoting from his own sermons, etc.  Other readers may be interested in a  blow-by-blow telling of the experience of urging further investigation of Emmett's death, but there really is not much new information of interest in this book.
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While I feel for the author and those affected by the brutal murder of Emmett Till I would not recommend this book. I went back and forth on trying to finish the book and just wanting to give up on it. The writing is repetitive, long winded, and at times I got bored and distracted while reading. The book is very thorough in telling the journey taken over the years to seek justice for Emmett Till. While I can understand the hurt, pain, trauma, and struggle of the civil rights movement the writing in the book is predominantely one sided and slanted toward hatred and inequality toward the white race even in the current years. This one sided view of the white race in my opinion contradicts the main point of seeking equality for all races and showing that every person no matter their race or status should be valued. I did feel that the author had some heartfelt and honest points for forgiveness and equality toward all races in the Epilogue. I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley for my honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Emmett Till. Say the name and immediately be taken back to 1955 and the murder of a 14-year-old Black boy who supposedly spoke roughly to a White woman in Money, Miss.
Emmett Till. Say the name and feel the pain of a family who spent decades trying to get justice for the loss of a son, cousin, best friend. A young man who died for doing nothing wrong, yet being judged for the color of his skin.
Both are the memories that have haunted the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr. since the night his cousin was taken and murdered. In his memoir, Parker sets the story straight about his family’s search for justice---and to spread the truth---about a senseless murder that spurred the civil rights movement across much of America. 
It’s a story that’s hard to read, but Parker’s voice is one to be heard. He’s the last family member to see Till alive. That memory, along with survivor’s guilt, haunt him still, driving his quest to honor his cousin. Together with longtime friend and attorney Christopher Benson, the two have followed a long, long road to find the truth about the past---and the presence of continued racism.
Parker knew his cousin Emmett, known as Bobo to his family, wasn’t familiar with the South’s racial discriminations. Till was from Chicago, where Black wasn’t a bad word. Where he felt free to live his young life. When he came to visit his relatives in Mississippi, he wasn’t prepared for the restrictions imposed by many White residents in the rural South Delta. 
The young man was abducted and murdered after a White woman claimed he spoke improperly to her and grabbed her wrist in a store. It was a incident that never happened, according to Parker who was there with his cousin.
If you’re familiar with civil rights and history, you know the outcome. Two White men were acquitted in the beating, lynching and murder. Emmett’s mother Mamie had an open-casket service for her son, showing all the horrible brutality of racism. That was the beginning of a quest to find justice for Till and show the world that he wasn’t a “Black beast,” but rather a victim of lies, cover-ups and injustices.
What sets Parker’s memoir apart from all the books, documentaries, etc., about Till is that he was was there. He laughed with his cousin before that horrible night, and he cried with his family when Till’s body was recovered. And he’s still crying.
Parker’s story is a sad, complicated struggle against bureaucracy, lies and misperceptions. It’s a personal story about the end of youth and the start of a lifelong pursuit. It’s heavy, yet tender. Determined, yet open. 
This heartfelt memoir is a blend of youthful memories, grown-up struggles and the outcome of what many consider the birth of something akin to Black Lives Matter. FBI investigations were revived, interviews were uncovered, and politicians reacted for better or worse. 
Between its pages, Parker lays bare inconsistencies in reports, files and documentaries, all cited and researched in detail. Did the White woman recant, or didn’t she? Did a writer lie, or where the facts misconstrued? It’s all that---and more, according to the last surviving witness to Till’s abduction. 
Parker doesn’t write with anger. It’s more a sense of what’s right and wrong. Till’s murder, and racism in general, were wrong. It’s only right that his memory be preserved.
Now, nearly 70 years later, there are still questions that will never be answered. Too much time has passed. Too many witnesses have died. But thanks to the Parker, his cousin---and what his death represents---lives on.
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Thank you very much for the opportunity to read this very important, book. Emmett Till's cousin and best friend, Reverend Wheeler Parker, Jr., gives a first hand account of the horrific murder of a 14 year old kid, the lies surrounding it that started in 1955 and continued to today, and the subsequent FBI investigation. It's a tragic, infuriating book, but an important account to listen to and learn from.
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A FEW DAYS FULL OF TROUBLE by Rev Wheeler Parker and Christopher Benson

This book is all about getting justice for the abduction, torture, and lynching of Emmett Till, back in 1955, by his family. A 14-year-old African American boy who was accused of offending a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, in her family's grocery store. This horrific story was sadly bungled in the initial investigation by racial biases, attitudes, and behavior, with no one being found guilty of the crime. 
The long fight to get justice is portrayed by the author; it was a long and tedious journey through all the different law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, taking most of his lifetime. He had the help of Alvin Sykes and others who persisted until he had laws changed that could bring the perpetrators to justice. At the end of the day, the author had to come to terms with what justice would look like. How could he feel that justice had been served? What meaning and purpose did the life of Emmett Till have concerning racial justice and the country’s attitudes and systems? Has anything changed because of Emmett Till’s Lynching?
This book was challenging; people could be so cruel to another human being, a child at that, but also how hard it is to get justice when you have a system that is biased by racism.  I certainly hope that the authors achieve their goal of bringing awareness, reconciliation, and hope for the future through education regarding these practices and a system that supports them. For anyone wanting to understand the true nature of this evil, this book will open your eyes.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. This book uncovered many facts about Emmett Till that we were not aware of. This was a brutally honest book and is a must read.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of A FEW DAYS FULL OF TROUBLE  by Reverend Wheeler Parker, Jr. and Christopher Benson. I was really intrigued to read about the firsthand witness account of Rev. Parker as the cousin and best friend of Emmet Till. I did enjoy his personal stories about his cousin and his experience of the horrible night of his death and the survivor's guilt he's experienced ever since. His message about making sure justice could happen for future Black people of America even if they couldn't get it for his cousin is so important and inspiring. Unfortunately, a lot of this got bogged down by a whole lot of detail about FBI investigations, movie rights, monuments, etc., that would have been more interesting if they'd been honed down quite a bit. Instead, these parts of the book got repetitive and tedious. I'm rounding up my rating for generosity and for the sake of the  important perspective this book provides—I just wish there had been more focus on the personal, emotional center of this story.
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This is a powerful book that should be required reading. I knew a high level accounting of the Emmett Till tragedy but this accounting plus the compete failure of the system AT EVERY TURN IN THE FOLLOWING 50 YEARS is astounding.

It's a hard read but important to witness.
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What a difficult yet important and necessary work involving mountains of research and family accounts. Emotions swirl, twist and frequently overwhelm in this powerful narrative by Reverend Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till's close cousin, friend, eyewitness and advocate. Armed with the truth, Parker corrects previous misinformation from many sources.

I received a complimentary copy of the book without obligation. This review is my opinion.
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A moving book about the life and death of Emmett Till, and the family members he left behind. Those family members are now fighting for Justice and recognition. A powerful book.
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The lynching of Emmett Till is a well-known event.  For decades, the events that took place that night have been discussed, debated, and reviewed over and over by all parties involved.  This memoir, written by Till's cousin who was a primary witness and life long advocate seeking justice for Emmett, discussed what Parker recalls of that night in 1955, as well as the recent re-opening of the case.  The book goes into a lot of detail about the processes the family had to go through to get the case looked at, and how they felt about how it unfolded.  The narrative is easy to read and follow, though I did get bogged down in some parts.  This was an illuminating read, and one I recommend to anyone wanting to learn more.
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