South Carolina/North Carolina Book Tour: Oct. 12 – 17

October 12, 2014, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Columbia, SC @ 11:00 a.m.

October 12, 2014, Orangeburg Fine Arts Center, Orangeburg, SC @ 4 p.m.

October 13, 2014, SC Progressive Network, ILA Hall (1142 Morrison Drive), Charleston, SC @ 7 p.m.

October 14, 2014, Speaker at the Center Series, South Carolina State Library, Columbia, SC @ Noon.

October 14, 2014, First Congregational UCC, Asheville, NC @ 7 p.m.

October 15, 2014, North Greenville University, Tigerville, SC @ 7 p.m.

October 16, 2014, Landrum Public Library, Landrum, SC @ Noon.

October 16, 2014, Hub City Bookshop, Spartanburg, SC @ 7 p.m.

October 17, 2014, Saluda Public Library, Saluda, NC @ 7 p.m.

THE THIRTEENTH TURN — starred review by KIRKUS

“The potency of the noose—as device, spectacle and ritual—laid raw and bare. Shuler (American Literature and Black Studies/Denison Univ.; Blood and Bone: Truth and Reconciliation in a Southern Town, 2012, etc.) makes the hangman’s knot and death by hanging transfixing but agonizing reading: the rope with its wicked cultural baggage and the act so barbaric yet so widespread and enduring. Much of the sting of this work comes from the extensive literature on the subject, which Shuler has distilled into an infusion as bitter as hemlock. In 1940, the Tuskegee Institute wrote that a lynching “occurs when three or more people kill someone illegally and when the killers claim they were serving justice, race, or tradition.” The knots alone have a magical, talismanic power, while the spectacle of a hanging, judicial or extrajudicial, is a cruel demonstration of power, ‘the ritual reenactment of community values and norms…a grand act of education and, possibly, indoctrination.’ In the United States, it was—and is, if less pronouncedly—an indiscriminate act, claiming men, women and children of all races, creeds and persuasions, though few will protest, certainly since the witch trials, that it has also been a piece of ” ‘folk pornography’…the ‘ideal’ white woman against the ‘villainous’ black man” or, to widen the scope, that ‘black people must be controlled, and lynching is one way to do it.’ This is trafficked ground, and Shuler does not claim it as his own, but he does cut his own path in taking readers to sites and eras in which hangings have had profound impacts—they all, ultimately, do—from the Iron Age Tollund Man to 12-year-old Hannah Ocuish during the Age of Enlightenment to small American towns and backcountry crossroads to John Brown to In Cold Blood. The author also ably explores how deeply etched the noose is to the Native American and African-American consciousnesses. A panoramic, unforgettable rendering of ‘the long fade of strangulation.'” – KIRKUS REVIEWS


Sister Helen Prejean on The Thirteenth Turn

“The Thirteenth Turn is a thoughtful, profound book. Jack Shuler has taken an object we are all too familiar with in our history-the noose-and found in its story an urgent lesson on how to live.”

Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of DEAD MAN WALKING and DEATH OF INNOCENTS

The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose (August 26, 2014)

My next book will be coming out in September from Public Affairs.

“Shuler’s account is a kind of shadow history of America: for all the celebrated strides we’ve made towards integration and harmony, those victories are hollow without an appreciation for what they vanquished. The Thirteenth Turn is a courageous and searching book that reminds us where we come from, and what is lost if we forget.”

Review of Blood and Bone in International Journal of Conflict and Resolution

“Shuler has a talent for appreciating and describing the characters of the people he interviews, and by the end of the book I felt I had met an interesting cross-section of the citizens, black and white, who lived in Orangeburg in 1968 and live there still…Shuler’s book is a local history, but then all history when examined deeply becomes local. The Orangeburg tragedy of 1968 was rooted in two centuries of American racial injustice, and its after-life in the psyches of Orangeburg residents tells us a good deal about where America stands on racial matters, even today.”