In January 1961, following eighteen months of litigation that culminated in a federal court order, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter became the first black students to enter the University of Georgia. Calvin Trillin, then a reporter for Time Magazine, attended the court fight that led to the admission of Holmes and Hunter and covered their first week at the university--a week that began in relative calm, moved on to a riot and the suspension of the two students "for their own safety," and ended with both returning to the campus under a new court order.Shortly before their graduation in 1963, Trillin came back to Georgia to determine what their college lives had been like. He interviewed not only Holmes and Hunter but also their families, friends, and fellow students, professors, and university administrators. The result was this book--a sharply detailed portrait of how these two young people faced coldness, hostility, and occasional understanding on a southern campus in the midst of a great social change.
"It is the achievement of Mr. Trillin's brilliant little book that, without false rhetoric or student pleadings, he can suddenly bring into focus the whole confused story of Civil Rights by examining in detail one particularly significant episode."--Times Literary Supplement
"The stereotypes are swept away, and Holmes and Miss Hunter emerge as people rather than as Heroes of the Cause. . . . We are left with an acutely perceptive approximation of what those 30 months at Athens, Georgia must have meant to the two who lived them and to those who came in their wake."--Hodding Carter III, Book Week
"[This book] comes closer to the essential social truths of the problem than do some works of greater scope. . . . Trillin brings to the task a greater knowledge of his subjects than most reporters. . . .This knowledge is reinforced by a keen eye, a sensitive ear and respect for fact."--New York Times Book Review