Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till draws on a wealth of new evidence, including the only interview ever given by Carolyn Bryant, the white woman in whose name Till was killed. Tyson’s narrative upends what we thought we knew about the most notorious racial crime in American history.
What sets Tyson's book apart is the wide-angle lens he uses to examine the lynching, and the ugly parallels between past and present. Emmett, he argues, is the ancestral father of the Black Lives Matter movement, and America, which followed the Obama era with the election of Donald Trump, has steadfastly refused to reject white supremacy, or account for its original sin. Through research and his little-known interview with the late, elderly Carolyn Bryant — the purported 'victim' of the boy's advances — the author sweeps in unsung heroes, puts minor figures in the spotlight, underscores the ground-shaking strength of Emmett's grief-stricken mother and gives depth to familiar villains ... A terrific writer and storyteller, Tyson compels a closer look at a heinous crime and the consequential decisions, large and small, that made it a national issue.
The events of that bitter morning, their motivations and ramifications, have found a meticulous, if not their most exhaustive, retelling in Timothy B. Tyson’s The Blood of Emmett Till, an account of absorbing and sometimes horrific detail ... Black life in America has endured as little more than a fragile truth in the hands of white aggressors. And Tyson does well to remind us just how all-consuming racial terror can be when wielded with brute force.
...as Tyson recounts, applying diligent research, scrupulous perspective and a vigorous aptitude for weaving pertinent public and intimate details, Emmett Till’s murder became a story the nation couldn’t avoid ... As far as Tyson is concerned, 'America is still killing Emmett Till,' not just through 'bludgeons and bullets,' but through violence, poverty and social and economic inequality. Meanwhile, among the those who share the pain of Till’s family is Carolyn Bryant herself, who in an interview with the author more than a half-century after the fact, says, 'Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.'”