Mitchell takes readers on the road that led to the reopening of four of the most infamous killings from the days of the Civil Rights movement, decades after the fact. His work played a central role in bringing killers to justice for the assassination of Medgar Evers, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer, the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham and the Mississippi Burning case.
His journalistic coups revealed an uncanny ability to wheedle incriminating remarks from defensive suspects and damning observations from unfriendly witnesses ... A vivid, quick-paced, accessible account of horrific crimes ... Mitchell portrays these killers’ racism unflinchingly ... At the same time, Mitchell illuminates the racism in the broader culture that made egregious acts of Negrophobic violence imaginable and, in the minds of many onlookers, tolerable if not defensible ... Brave, bracing and instructive, Race Against Time is, on occasion, insufficiently probing ... An excellent work ... No single book about such an expansive topic could possibly serve as a comprehensive account, and Race Against Time admirably assumes the heavy burden that Jerry Mitchell takes on; it warrants praise, gratitude and a wide audience.
Mitchell is skilled at interviewing suspects and their accomplices, and the book includes chilling profiles of unrepentant Ku Klux Klan members. In looking back at each case, Michell demonstrates the ways that politicians and judges influenced the outcome of the original trials, and reminds us that the pursuit of justice has always been a political act ... While there are many other books that discuss these cases, Mitchell’s active participation in the investigations provides a unique perspective. Recommended for readers interested in civil rights-era American history and legal nonfiction.
... covers largely familiar ground ... Mitchell’s valuable memoir again and again illuminates both the seedy worlds of hate-filled Klansmen and the wide-ranging tactics that lawmen used in pursuing them ... indefatigable reporting ... Only at the very end of Race Against Time does Mitchell confess that the successful prosecutions his memoir highlights represent only a minority of the civil-rights-era killings he investigated, and that far more 'cold cases ended with no convictions' or indictments ... But Mitchell is too harsh a judge of his own record, for no other journalist has made a greater contribution to cold-case investigations than has he.