Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183
Related in the first person by a North Carolina University professor, [The Free Men] traces in detail the genesis, development, and outcome of the civil rights disorders that wracked "liberal" Chapel Hill in the years 1963–1964. Professor Ehle focuses his main attention on three youthful leaders (two whites and a Negro), but gives ample coverage as well to other participants, white and Negro…. In his effort to be fair to all, there is perhaps an inevitable lack of passion and conviction in Professor Ehle's account—and some doubt as to where he himself stands, although, by and large, his sympathies lie with the demonstrators and their objectives. He employs novelistic techniques—sometimes shuttling back and forth in time, sometimes recording personal impressions, often reproducing verbatim newspaper accounts, conversations, letters and court proceedings to tell his story. All told, this is well worth reading. Chapel Hill's failure has larger national implications.
Edward Margolies, in a review of "The Free Men," in Library Journal (reprinted from Library Journal, April 1, 1965; published by R. R. Bowker Co. (a Xerox company); copyright © 1965 by Xerox Corporation), Vol. 90, No. 7, April 1, 1965, p. 1733.