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Gilbert King Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Execution of Willie Francis (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Devil in the Grove (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beneath a Ruthless Sun (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Gilbert King

The American photographer and prize-winning author Gilbert King is well known for his erudite and well written work. Producing a number of books over the years, he deals with real-life social issues, seeing him become one of the biggest names within his field. Lauded by numerous critics, his works resonates with readers from all around the world, as he has created a style quite unlike any other. Making an impact with his words, he brings the different issues to life, showing them for what they really are, never shying away from the truth.

These social issues range from the legacy of racism in the American south, to capital punishment and the reality surrounding it. Not afraid to make his own voice heard as well, he has a powerful presence on the page, writing in a clear and articulate manner. Over the years this has allowed him to become a highly sought after spokesman, dealing with issues in a sensitive and tactful manner. He also manages to make his work highly compelling, with his well researched approach to his material, making it all the more immersive for the reader.

Bringing the people he’s writing about to life upon the page too, he essentially allows them to speak for themselves. Really setting himself apart, he manages to make his work highly accessible too, allowing readers to immerse themselves, regardless of their backgrounds. This style of his has developed, as it has gone on to secure his status as a household name for many all around the world. With lots more to follow too, he’s not finishing any time soon either, as his writing career continues to grow and build.

Early and Personal Life

Born in Rockville Centre in New York on the 22nd of February in 1962, Gilbert King was raised in St. James, which was also in Long Island, New York. Growing up with a keen passion for reading and writing, he would attend Niskayuna High School, graduating from there in 1980. Later he would attend the University of South Florida in, gaining an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2014.

Moving to New York City, King would work for a number of different smaller newspapers and magazines on a freelance basis. Then, in 1991, he would go on to work for Macmillan Publishing as an assistant to the president of the company, all the while working as a photographer as well. Currently residing in New York City still, he continues to work, living with his wife and their two daughters, along with their French Bulldog.

Writing Career

Starting out producing photography, King would photograph coffee table books for many various different publishers. In time this would lead to him researching some of the different books himself, which in turn would lead to him ghostwriting for several different celebrities too. Publishing his first full book in 2008, Gilbert King would bring out the title ‘The Execution of Willie Francis’ under his own name.

Later in 2012 he would go on to publish the novel ‘Devil in the Grove,’ which would also be a stand-alone work of non-fiction, winning the Pulitzer Prize. In 2018 he published ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun,’ which would also be a well received work of non-fiction. Critically lauded, as well as being hugely popular with the general public, King has created a name for himself quite unlike any other that will continue to live on.

The Execution of Willie Francis

First brought out through the Civitas Books publishing label, this would come out in 2008 on 31st of March to much acclaim. Running under the subtitle of ‘Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South,’ this would be the debut book from Gilbert King. A non-fiction account of a real-life event, it charts a period of American history, looking back on the event and everything surrounding it.

In 1946 on the 3rd of May, a seventeen year old black boy had been sentenced to death by electric chair in St. Martinsville in Louisiana. The boy, Willie Francis, was then subjected to excruciating pain, as he survived the execution, only to be told there would be another attempt in a week. Following this, his case was then appealed, being brought all the way to Supreme Court, with the legality of the being executed twice being questioned. The circumstances of Willie Francis’s arrest are also called into question to, as it appears that race may have biased investigators more than anything else.

Set in a time of segregation, this real-life account works extremely well in bringing a true story of injustice to the page. Dealing with the events with a great deal of tact and sensitivity, King works at making it a compelling a well written book. Extremely well researched, it manages to capture a lot of what really happened, whilst also making sure none of it’s forgotten.

Devil in the Grove

Putting another historical case into context, King would write this non-fiction book in 2012, releasing it on the 6th of March. It’s self-contained as well, being published through the Harper publishing imprint, with plenty of research throughout. There’s a lot here to deal with, and King brings the story to life, giving it a great deal of context, whilst also making it accessible to readers from around the world.

With the landmark case of ‘Brown v. Board of Education’ being brought before the US Supreme Court, the American lawyer Thurgood Marshall is caught up in a case that could completely shift the outcome of the civil rights movement. Taking place in 1946, Jim Crow’s laws have seen Florida manage a booming citrus industry through exploitation of cheap labor. This has seen the black population subjugated, as Sheriff Willis V McCall maintains rule through violence, and this soon comes to ahead when he pins the rape of a Groveland girl on a few black men. The Ku Klux Klan are then sent to chase after them, attacking the black population, Thurgood Marshall is the civil rights lawyer who attempts to bravely step up and help the black men.

Once again looking at a period of extreme racial tension and strife, this deals with a number of serious issues. King manages to research it all extremely well though, allowing the story to essentially tell itself, as it charts a difficult period in America’s history. Getting to the heart of it, King allows the story of Marshall to the page, along with the men wronged through the racism of the time.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gilbert King

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