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Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a…
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Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True…

by Beth Macy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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198884,714 (3.74)18
  1. 00
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Unusual medical conditions and racism as experienced by African Americans in the Jim Crow South.
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» See also 18 mentions

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If there was a rating for truth in book promotion, I’m afraid "Truevine" would receive a low score. Readers expecting to be immersed in the saga of two brothers branded as “freaks” who were abducted and forced to become exhibits in a circus will likely be disappointed. This angle makes up a relatively small portion of a book that tries to tackle many (perhaps too many) topics involving the Jim Crow South. The fascinating story of the Muse brothers could have easily been recounted in a 25- or 30-page essay. True, Macy provides a thorough roadmap that documents her journalistic odyssey, an excursion that is probably a bit too dense for the average reader (although, as a journalist, I did find some of the insights and tactics interesting). The book's overall organization felt a bit disjointed. I must admit that I stopped reading "Truevine" midway through the narrative. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Apr 12, 2018 |
Circuses, sideshows, Jim Crow, racism, the FBI, family, and America's evolution through the beginning of the 20th century. All are present in this book about albino African American brothers George and Willie Muse, who either joined the circus or were kidnapped/joined the circus.

I got irritated at times with Macy's repetition of information, but have to confess that the way she wrote about the passing of Willie Muse was a gentle and beautiful as a passing can be; it left me touched and moved to tears. That conclusion, along with the depth of research, is why this is a 5-star read, well worth the time. ( )
  ptkpepe98 | Mar 19, 2018 |
An interesting peek behind the curtains and into the practices of "The Greatest Show on Earth" and other traveling circuses/carnivals/roadshows of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. It is a shame the brothers did not get the opportunity to learn to write so they could have recorded more of their own thoughts on their lives, but I am glad Macy and the many researchers who assisted her found a way to bring more of their story to light. The historical photographs are a wonderful addition as well. ( )
  dele2451 | Nov 19, 2017 |
If the Muse brothers' story of black sideshow freaks throughout the reign of circus entertainment (turn of to mid 20th century) had been an example supporting a larger freakshow narrative, it would be intriguing. Interesting facts obnoxiously repeated with awkward/confusing transitions. The subtitle is a fair indication of her writing ability. ( )
  dandelionroots | May 6, 2017 |
Two albino African-American brothers were stolen from tobacco fields of rural Vairginia in 1899. This is the story of their lives traveling with a circus and being part of a freak show attraction. For 28 years their mother, Harriett Muse tries to find them.......Enjoy reading about all of their struggles, failures and successes.
  SABC | Feb 1, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beth Macyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harms, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316337544, Hardcover)

The true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, and whose mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back.

The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever.
Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even "Ambassadors from Mars." Back home, their mother never accepted that they were "gone" and spent 28 years trying to get them back.

Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home? TRUEVINE is a compelling narrative rich in historical detail and rife with implications to race relations today.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 02 May 2016 15:07:48 -0400)

Beth Macy, master chronicler of life in the South, combines exhaustive research, exclusive interviews and sources, and attention to detail in this riveting American story about race, greed, and a mother's love. George and Willie Muse from Truevine, Virginia were two little boys born in a brutal time, sharecropping a field in the segregated South, stolen away by a white man offering candy, and set on a path of events that would forever change their lives--and their family's destiny. --… (more)

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