[Let the People See] builds on new evidence discovered by the FBI in 2005 to present a detailed reconstruction of Till's kidnapping and killing in Mississippi ... Gorn also dives deep into a legal analysis of the transcripts of the trial ... But what's most interesting about Gorn's book is his final section, called 'Memory,' in which he traces how Till's story, which seems so well-known today, came very close to 'pass[ing] into oblivion' ... Let the People See is a timely book about the fragility of collective memory ... a vivid reminder of just how easy it is for people not to see things they'd rather not see.
... underline[s] that history is always a work in progress, as perspectives change, memories dim or crystallize, emotions cool, and new facts emerge over time ... an elegant account of Till’s life and death, the trial, and its cultural after-effects.
...an engaging, comprehensive account of Emmett Till’s murder and its aftermath ... Till’s story is a symbol of racial inequality in the South, but there was so much more about his life, his death, and his impact that is not known. Elliott J. Gorn’s Let the People See changes that ... From illustrating racial tensions present in Mississippi to sharing the history of Till’s family multiple generations back, Gorn misses nothing ... The book’s lengthy bibliography points to immense research. Let the People See meticulously depicts the setting and the era.
Gorn explains the meandering of historical memory as if it’s just that: meandering ... This book would be better if [explored the idea of 'truth']. Gorn asks rhetorically, 'Who ‘owns’ particular stories? . . . When does creative expression become exploitation?' They are not rhetorical questions. They have answers depending upon who cares about oppression, dehumanization, and systemic violence.
...[an] insightful study ... In a series of short, tightly focused chapters, Gorn leads the reader through Till’s short life ... Gorn presents a masterful excavation of the ways in which Till’s memory was interpreted as both a rallying call for racial equality and a piece of 'Jim Crow wisdom' ... This perceptive take on a signal event from the civil rights movement deserves a wide readership.
...[a] well-conceived work of social history ... Combing archives and libraries, Gorn assembles a solid case study in how an isolated legal case spread nationally and internationally ... A timely contribution to the literature of civil rights.