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…an artfully crafted, well-balanced book that will complement other general studies of the civil rights movement.
--The Journal of American History
…a most valuable, impeccable piece of scholarship.
"This book makes valuable contributions…and will be a welcome text for undergraduate courses, as it is one of the few works that effectively historicizes nonviolence and self-defence as ideological and strategic components of the Civil Rights Movement.
--The Journal of American Ethnic History
" Simon Wendt has provided a new insight into the dynamics of the civil rights movement by declaring that, however ineffectual armed defense might have been, African Americans protected themselves, their families, and their communities from white violence by taking up arms. Scholars of the civil rights movement will find it enlightening and useful."
--The Alabama Review
" This book makes valuable contributions, and scholars of the civil rights era will find much to discuss in Wendt's analysis. One of the few works that effectively historicizes nonviolence and self-defense as ideological and strategic components of the Civil Rights Movement."
--Journal of American Ethnic History
" A fine work of history that should be well-received in the field. Of the many recent books on armed resistance in the Civil Rights Movement, 'The Spirit and the Shotgun' may well top the list."
"The Spirit and the Shotgun succeeds in demonstrating the close connection between self-defense and tactical nonviolence in the southern struggle. A thought-provoking work and a must read for anyone interested in understanding the similarities and differences in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements."
--Journal of African American History
" Thoughtful, nuanced and tightly argued. A significant addition to this new shelf of work in the library of civil rights studies."
--Journal of American Studies
" Wendt has shined the light on one of the darkest corners of civil rights historiography. Deserves to be read by those seeking enlightenment on the foot soldiers of the movement. Anyone seeking an understanding of how dignity, manhood, and self-respect guided the actions of local people should read this book, as it is a significant contribution not only to the fields of civil rights and American history but also to the history of human nature and its intrinsic unwillingness to go down without a fight."
--The Jounal of Southern History
"Opened a new angle of vision on the way nonviolence worked in the southern freedom struggle, and challenged neat scholarly assumptions about the similarities between defense movements in the South and the North."
--Georgia Historical Quarterly