Gilbert King

marlene lopez

Gilbert King is the author the New York Times bestseller, Devil in the Grove, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in 2013. The book was also the runner-up in nonfiction for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a finalist for both the Chautauqua Prize and the Edgar Award, and the gold medal winner in nonfiction for the Florida Book Awards. King has written about the race and criminal justice for the New York Times and the Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Smithsonian. He’s also a featured contributor to The Marshall Project. His latest book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found (Riverhead Books), tells the gripping true story of a small town with a big secret. In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a “husky Negro” did it, and the sheriff, the infamous racist Willis McCall, does not hesitate to round up a herd of suspects. But within days, McCall turns his sights on Jesse Daniels, a gentle, mentally impaired white nineteen-year-old. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial. Beneath a Ruthless Sun tells a powerful, page-turning story rooted in the fears that rippled through the South as integration began to take hold, sparking a surge of virulent racism that savaged the vulnerable, debased the powerful, and roils our own times still.