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Dittmer chronicles the grass roots politics of the Magnolia State, the home of the South's most virulent form of White Supremacy. Focusing on both the local Blacks of Mississippi and the activists from outside the state in SNCC and CORE, he adds complexity to the picture of the Civil Rights Movement in documenting the interplay between "outside agitators" and native protest. Outsiders from SNCC and CORE could never have survived without the support of local people. He also helps us understand the class undercurrents of a movement that often pitted the black middle class against the rural poor. The trajectory he maps is one that follows native protest from the cauldron of WWII and its aftermath through the 50s and into the 60s. Men who returned from the war and were denied the vote became activists in the 40s and 50s within the NAACP. The 60s are really the focal point of his story and here his focus begins with SNCC and ends with the demise of the MFDP. To move beyond this demise in local activism after 1968 is not the project of this book. Dittmer's conclusion is that the radical demands of the MFDP, like the radical demands of other movements in American history (the Populists?) were not met. Though much of their reform program was indeed enacted. We inhabit an America shaped by the egalitarian strivings of local people from Mississippi as much as we do one shaped by the National Government's halting progress toward equal rights. Mississippi in the age of "Grand Expectations" was a very violent place, and most of that violence was exercised by white supremacists against blacks. Dittmer catalogs this violence in near numbing detail. As Kim Lacey Rodgers points out in her review, he also " shows the craven role played by the federal government, as the administrations of both John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson ignored the segregationist violence in the state in hopes of placating men such as Senators John Stennis and James O. Eastland." As Alan Draper points out in his review for the Journal of Negro History, Dittmer's archetype for local people is Fannie Lou Hamer. But she is an archetype, indeed, and in giving credit to the local people in Mississippi he chronicles the lives of people who braved the terror of the South's worst state. In Draper's apt summary, credit here goes to the people in Ruleville who braved economic reprisals and police violence to register to vote; to the people in Jackson who desegregated public facilities; to the people in McComb who withstood Klan terror to build a community center; to the people in Cleveland who distributed food when the county withdrew from federal support programs; to the people in Clarksdale who boycotted white merchants; and tot the people of Hattiesburg who waited in line for hours to take the voter registration tests. (p. 203) Granting this, however, Draper takes issue with the way Dittmer uses class. Trying to demonstrate the class politics of the movement, Draper believes Dittmer misrepresents the struggle. Teachers and preachers certainly belonged to the middle class, but so too did business people and independent farmers. And more generally, one is left arguing if the radical democracy represented the larger Mississippi Black population better than the more "moderate" program of the NAACP. Against the class politics of the MFDP, Draper urges a consideration of the mass mobilization around voter registration. I would submit, however, that Dittmer's consideration of Great Society Politics in Mississippi is a lasting contribution to the historiography.