Book Reviews

“[A] thoughtful, evenhanded debut . . . Kennedy’s astute memoir also serves as a probing record of politics and racism in the South.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A masterpiece of personal memoir, The Broken Road takes its place alongside Dan Carter’s definitive work of political history, The Politics of Rage, which looked at George Wallace’s long-lasting political legacy. With first-rate writing and searing honesty, Peggy Wallace Kennedy shares the story of a Southern soul steeped in tragedy and shame, revelation and redemption. To read it is a long-awaited gift.” ―Rev. Doug Tanner, Founding Director, The Faith & Politics Institute, Washington, DC

“George C. Wallace, perennial Alabama governor and presidential candidate, was Donald Trump’s John the Baptist, and so as a public record, this memoir by Wallace’s anti-racist daughter can read like prophecy more than history. But it’s as a sometimes painful personal accounting of life under Wallace that The Broken Road is most searingly revelatory, especially to those of us who lived through her father’s reign of civic doom and racial carnage. Peggy Wallace Kennedy’s story of the havoc-making ‘family man’ is delivered with style, sly humor, and an admirable measure of dispassion. And it seems like an act of grace for Peggy to have ended up on the right side of the Selma Bridge, holding the hand of Congressman John Lewis. May our country end up so fortunate.” ―Diane McWhorter, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning CARRY ME HOME: Birmingham, Alabama–The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

“If an enduring face of the pain and promise of the Civil Rights movement is Rep. John Lewis (D.Ga.), then Peggy Wallace Kennedy has become a symbol of racial reconciliation. In speeches and interviews over the past few years, the diminutive daughter of segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace looms large as an authoritative voice in acknowledging a painful past as part of a larger effort to move our nation forward.” ―The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart

“This remarkable memoir by Peggy Wallace Kennedy, tender, heart-breaking, searing in its honesty, is in the end a story of redemption–the journey of the daughter of George C. Wallace from the segregationist shadow of her father into the light of racial reconciliation. Anybody who knows Peggy Kennedy, or who reads these pages, will understand immediately the anguished authenticity of her passage. Civil rights leaders such as John Lewis ultimately forgave George Wallace for the sins of his past, just as they have embraced his daughter as a sister in the quest for human rights. The Broken Road is the story of how that happened–a needed reminder in these times that love and simple decency can be more powerful than their opposites.” ―Frye Gaillard, author of A HARD RAIN: AMERICA IN THE 1960s