Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter by James S. Hirsch

April 6, 2017

America, the land of the free and equal opportune, or so we thought, but it turns out America is full of unfair prejudice that thousands of people turn a blind eye to every day. Luckily there are people who try to reduce the racism in the form of public speaking and literature. One example of this is Hurricane by James S Hirsch which tells the story of Rubin Carter, one-minute profound boxer and the next a convicted felon. It is the 1950s, racism runs rampant through America, and Rubin Carter knows it. However, what he doesn’t know is that his life is about to turn upside down and inside out. Rubin Carter was the contender for the middleweight title, wealthy, and African American. On one fateful night, Rubin's life would change forever. Driving through town, a police officer pulls him over and arrests him for the murders at a local bar. These accusations were thrown at him without any form of proof, yet he is still convicted of triple murder with no chance of parole. Through the help of some friendly Canadians, Carter eventually achieves his freedom, although not without consequences.

One of the strongest points in Hurricane is Carter’s character and how much change he goes through over the course of the novel. His mind's viewpoints and decision-making process completely pulls a three sixty from the start to the end of the book. Carter’s physical appearance completely changes as well as his mind, helping to convey a sense of change and progression (or regression) in certain aspects of Carter's character. Another major positive was the tie into race and real world issues that were easily applicable to everyday life. Carter is treated with zero respect and dignity, fueling his anger and determination to free himself. The prejudice that occurs against Carter gives you an understanding of how, even in current day America, people of color get treated unfairly for no apparent reason, and that's why Hurricane was a very enlightening experience for me.

James makes his direction for Hurricane apparent from the beginning -- fight with all your heart and any adversity no matter how big and tough can be beaten. Carter has to fight from the very beginning, from physically fighting in his boxing career, to fighting the American judicial system later to prove his innocence. There were very few flaws with Hurricane but a minor problem for me was in the middle of the book, when the pace begins to drag a little and becomes a little stale. This is a temporary issue that gets resolved very soon after it is revealed. Again, minimal compared to the positives and I would still recommend this book even with this one issue.

I obviously liked this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in American racial history, the American judicial system, or someone who doesn’t think prejudice is an issue in our society. It is, and Hurricane vividly explores this. The appreciation that you will gain from reading this is a very humbling experience and will be worth every minute you put into each page.

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