This book review was on the book of Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919. It was a long-term study done by William M. Tuttle, Jr. Its objective was to make a comprehensive documentation of the events of 1919 in Chicago. The book dealt with all aspects and perspectives of the event. The author’s objective was to leave no stone uncovered. That every aspect would be talked about in detail. Some important aspects that he arose throughout the book are going to be the focal point of this book review.
I think that it would be proper to give a little history about the author. William Tuttle was a graduate from Denison University in 1959. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He is a college professor and taught at various institutions. He has had many other writings in print. He has had his articles printed in various journals. He also written another book called W.E.B. DuBois: Great Life Observed. He was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. As you can see, Dr. Tuttle was a very accomplished individual.
I think the first major aspect you get is idea of the riot. He goes into great length talking about various riots that happened all throughout the nation. However, from reading it they all seemed to go down the same line. The riots are not like we typically think of but they are for the same reason. In the books, perspective the killing of a black mostly started these riots. Black people would then retaliate by rioting. This theme was recurrent. Usually the papers or word of mouth instigated the riot. Reason for this being an interesting aspect is the perception of the riots. When whites rioted, it was to protect dignity and to do the right thing. They had a so-called legit moral purpose for their actions. As Tuttle states blacks rioting were often seen as ruthless and they are depicted as animals and should be dealt with. This difference in depiction was interesting to me. I guess it would lie in the mindset of the people of those prevailing times.
One of the most highlighted points I think that Tuttle makes throughout the book is the role of the police. You can apply their actions to all of the riots. They definitely played an important role in these riots. All throughout the book, they were instigators. They made false reports of blacks and their roles. They also had an important part in fueling the fire. With their support, the brutal attacks on blacks went on without repercussions thus inviting more to join in the abuse. Many instances Tuttle states that the police not only condoned the beatings and killings but also participated in many of them. He often made the point of police involvement. Like when the two black officers came to arrest the suspected stoners the other white officers did not allow them to arrest them and let them go free. These actions put fear into blacks. Tuttle states, “They had expected little...