54 Miles

54 Miles

From Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Leonard Pitts, Jr. comes a historical page-turner about a family forced to grapple with its past amid a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement.

In March 1965, young Adam, raised in Harlem by his white father, George, and Black mother, Thelma, returns to his parents’ home state of Alabama to join in the voting rights campaign, only to be brutalized in the Bloody Sunday melee. He is still recovering when he is struck a heavy emotional blow, learning of a horrific family secret that sends him spiraling further into danger, and drawing Thelma back, for the first time in twenty years, to the South she both hates and fears.

Meanwhile, Thelma’s brother Luther is also spiraling, but in a different way. Forty-two years after his parents were lynched before his eyes, and twenty years after the man who led the lynch mob walked out of court a free man, Luther has just made a shocking discovery. He’s found the murderer, Floyd Bitters, helpless and enfeebled in a rest home—literally at Luther’s mercy. And Luther, who has never overcome this life-defining trauma, grapples with the awful question of what justice now demands.

Set against a backdrop of racial conflict and transformation, 54 Miles explores what happens when cycles of trauma echo through generations, and what erupts when people are pushed to their breaking point.

"54 Miles is a stunning historical novel—heart-wrenching, propulsive , and beautifully written. Leonard Pitts Jr. works powerful magic in this unforgettable story."
- Jonathan Eig, New York Times-bestselling author of "King: A Life"

"In his stirring new novel, Leonard Pitts, Jr. takes us back to 1965 Selma, around and through the dizzying changes happening in society to tell a deeply reflective story of two families dealing not only with that era's upheavals, but also memories of a brutal and painful past."
- Denise Nicholas, author of Freshwater Road