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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2020 Audie Award for Best Non-Fiction

"This audiobook achieves an exceptional performance of an important work on a difficult subject - mass murder and its aftermath." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

A New York Times Notable Book of 2019 • Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick • Oprah Magazine Summer 2019 Reading List Selection • New York Times Editor's Choice

This program includes an introduction read by the author.

A deeply moving work of narrative nonfiction on the tragic shootings at the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.

On June 17, 2015, 12 members of the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina welcomed a young white man to their evening Bible study. He arrived with a pistol, 88 bullets, and hopes of starting a race war. Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine innocents during their closing prayer horrified the nation. Two days later, some relatives of the dead stood at Roof’s hearing and said, "I forgive you." That grace offered the country a hopeful ending to an awful story. But for the survivors and victims’ families, the journey had just begun.

In Grace Will Lead Us Home, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes provides a definitive account of the tragedy’s aftermath. With unprecedented access to the grieving families and other key figures, Hawes offers a nuanced and moving portrait of the events and emotions that emerged in the massacre’s wake.

The two adult survivors of the shooting begin to make sense of their lives again. Rifts form between some of the victims’ families and the church. A group of relatives fights to end gun violence, capturing the attention of President Obama. And a city in the Deep South must confront its racist past. This is the story of how, beyond the headlines, a community of people begins to heal.

An unforgettable and deeply human portrait of grief, faith, and forgiveness, Grace Will Lead Us Home is destined to be a classic in the finest tradition of journalism.

More praise for Grace Will Lead Us Home:

"Vividly rendered...[Hawes is] a writer with the exceedingly rare ability to observe sympathetically both particular events and the horizon against which they take place without sentimentalizing her subjects. Hawes is so admirably steadfast in her commitment to bearing witness that one is compelled to consider the story she tells from every possible angle." (New York Times Book Review)

"The great value of this book is that it tells the stories of the survivors and victims’ families on their own terms, in all of their humanity, while also showing us how Charleston's tortured history of racism and gun violence came together on that night in June." (Gabrielle Union)

"In Grace Will Lead Us Home, Jennifer Berry Hawes breathes poetry into tragedy to bring to life the epic grief that haunted a nation’s moral imagination.... If white supremacy is ever to meet a death knell, this ringing endorsement of fallen yet redeemable humanity will echo loudly in our hearts." (Michael Eric Dyson)

©2019 The Charleston Post & Courier (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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  • TG
  • 23-07-2019

Must Read, Hear This Story

I felt the emotions of this story. It drew me in to the behind the scenes of a horrible events

1 person found this helpful

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  • lisa
  • 17-11-2020

Alicia Rahiem-kennedy

I enjoyed the fact that this topic was addressed so thoroughly. Many that know of this tragedy wonder how those families kept their sanity and how they showed so much dignity. It was faith!!! For anyone that has suffered a loss this book is helpful and there is proof based on the families in this book that "Grace Will Lead Us Home."

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  • Thomas Patricia Orzechowski
  • 27-01-2020

This book emotionally brings you face to face with evil. But also with the grace that is the potential of everyone.

The first few chapters are very hard as they walk you through the horrible tragedy that befell the nation and especially the people of Mother Emmanuel. But this book also highlights the potential and dignity that each human life has the opportunity to embody within its particular existence.

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  • Reading Grandma
  • 29-06-2019

Way too Political

Struggled to finish because I care about humanity & wanted to get the whole story. However, the obvious bias in favor of President Obama as well as the blatant ridicule of President Trump was nearly enough to make me put it down many times. Why, why why must we blame guns for the blatant failure of parenting in our country? This young man, the killer of 9 innocent people, was adrift with no moral compass nor anyone seeing that there was a problem. I appreciated the writer's detailed account of the experiences of these victims families. Such a sad & pointless killing.

2 people found this helpful

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