“Lost Books” is a weekly series highlighting forgotten books through the prism of Tablet Magazine’s and Nextbook.org’s archives. So, blow the dust off the cover, and begin!
In 1963, John Oliver Killens, founder of the Harlem Writers’ Guild, published his second novel, And Then We Heard the Thunder—a book that, according to Tablet Magazine contributing editor Josh Lambert, quickly succeeded in “electrifying and exasperating readers across the country.” Partly based on Killens’ experience fighting in World War Two, the controversial, Pulitzer-nominated book revolved around an unlikely friendship between two soldiers—one black, one Jewish—who unite to attack the racist elements (and people) among them.
Considering Killens’ legacy, Lambert wrote:
One year before James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman died together in the name of civil rights, Killens’ mirror-image characters, Saunders and Samuels, were killing together—picking off the proponents of American racism, one by one. If Killens will be remembered for nothing else, let him be remembered at least for this: that his belief in the necessity of violent rebellion did not come at the expense of the Jews.
Read Storm Warning, by Josh Lambert
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.