Summary: A exploration of John Lewis’ life, focusing primarily on his time in SNCC and before.
I know Jon Meacham is a well-known biographer, but as someone that really likes biography, I have not read any of Meacham’s other books. This made me a bit reluctant to pick up this book on John Lewis. Because I was interested in John Lewis, and because the only books I have read are the excellent March graphic novel biographies and because my library had this on audiobook, I picked it up anyway. Because His Truth is Marching On is primarily about John Lewis’ early years, I still want to find a more full-length biography and read some of Lewis’ own books.
The biography feature that I most appreciate is the focus on Lewis’ Christian faith as a factor in his civil rights work. Obviously, it is not the only factor, but I think it is an under-appreciated factor in many civil rights leaders. It is also striking to realize how young John Lewis and Stokley Carmichael, and many other civil rights leaders were. John Lewis was 26 when he was voted out as the chair of SNCC. He obviously had a long career after that point, but he was so young to have accomplished as much as he did by that time.
When I completed the book, I watched the documentary on John Lewis, Good Trouble. The documentary was more about his recent years and reflection, and so was a perfect supplement to His Truth is Marching On. And I think that the documentary’s visuals (and the graphic novel trilogy March) are crucial to understanding the civil rights era. It is easy to read about the violence and not fully understand the violence. That is particularly important when understanding Lewis’ commitment to non-violence, not just as a strategic method but also as a philosophical and religious method.
The narration in the audiobook was excellent. I generally do not like narrators that ‘do voice’ of historical characters, but this was so well done and accurate to the accents and voices that it really added to the narration instead of distracting from it.