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Publisher's Summary

Could you find the courage to do what's right in a world on fire?  

Pulitzer-winning journalist and best-selling author (Freeman) Leonard Pitts, Jr.'s new historical novel is a great American tale of race and war, following three characters from the Jim Crow South as they face the enormous changes World War II triggers in the United States.  

An affluent white marine survives Pearl Harbor at the cost of a black messman's life only to be sent, wracked with guilt, to the Pacific and taken prisoner by the Japanese. A young black woman, widowed by the same events at Pearl Harbor, finds unexpected opportunity and a dangerous friendship in a segregated Alabama shipyard feeding the war. A black man, who as a child saw his parents brutally lynched, is conscripted to fight Nazis for a country he despises and discovers a new kind of patriotism in the all-black 761st Tank Battalion.  

Set against a backdrop of violent racial conflict on both the front lines and the home front, The Last Thing You Surrender explores the powerful moral struggles of individuals from a divided nation. What does it take to change someone's mind about race? What does it take for a country and a people to move forward, transformed?

©2019 Leonard Pitts, Jr. (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Last Thing You Surrender

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  • Shobewon
  • 20-05-2019

Frustratingly one dimensional

Stopped listening after 10 hours when I realized all the characters would be one dimensional and the story would just keep descending into the grotesque. The author seems to have been more interested in presenting a steady string of awfulness than telling a real human story with goodness and evil in tension. The worst of human history has been mashed up in a long, predictably terrible saga, and I stopped when I realized there would be no redemption, no rewarded courage, no interest in including any of the flawed but noble men and women who also existed in this era and battled against all the circumstances depicted. To read this is to step into a fictional United States that didn’t possess a single white person of moral decency or courage in the mid-20th century, when all black citizens were also merely helpless victims.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Shenelle Williams
  • 17-02-2020

an excellent storyteller

this book was finely crafted. it told our American history and made you care about the families in this story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James Holloway
  • 13-05-2019

Excellent historical novel.

Well written story of struggle, war, racism, love, brotherhood/sisterhood, courage, faith, and the triumph of the human spirit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CMC
  • 08-05-2019

Excellent story but...the narrator

Like his other novels, Leonard Pitts Jr, tells a poignant often heart breaking story of struggle and triumph centering African-American experiences in America through historical fiction. This one also highlights non POC in a thought provoking and interesting way. Overall, I enjoyed the story but, the narrator was sub par in my opinion. His voice had a commercial quality that took away from the story. There were also a few editing issues.
Still worth the read(listen)!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-05-2022

Insight I wouldn't have

This book took me into black and white worlds I would not have known, but only suspected. The story and dialogue created characters I really cared about and others who I really hated. The Audible version's narrator brought the many characters to life and added significantly to my enjoyment. Highly recommended.

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  • Thomas
  • 22-11-2021

Thoughtful and thought provoking

"The Last Thing You Surrender" walks a tension filled tightrope between tragedy and triumph. This beautifully written novel explores the boundaries that separate, and those that connect, the lives of a handful of black and white Alabamian Americans experiencing the tumult of World War Two at home and abroad.  The interactions of these white and black characters deftly draw out the bigger questions of race, social justice, the role of women, and the power of hate and love to alter the course of a life, or even global history.  

This book deepened my understanding of the American experience from many perspectives that are different than my own. I am grateful for having read this thoughtful and thought-provoking book – you will be too. 

 

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  • Melissa Wilson
  • 12-06-2021

Poignant

A powerful reminder of where weve come
From and how far we have to go.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Billy Halling
  • 06-05-2021

EMPTY

Left me feeling empty and hollow, hurting, sad.
Thinking how far we think we've come, but realizing how far we still need to travel. How things have changed yet are still the same. Taking some hope of a kinder future. Moving foward.

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  • Beta 66
  • 06-04-2021

What we need to remember.

Excellent fiction mixed with real history. We need to remember that time and relate to what is happening today.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MARY S
  • 17-11-2020

nice story

It is long, but nice story. didn't really like the narrator but got used to him after a while

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