Cover image for Getting away with murder : the true story of the Emmett Till case
Getting away with murder : the true story of the Emmett Till case
Crowe, Chris.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : [Penguin Group], [2003]

Physical Description:
128 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Presents a true account of the murder of fourteen-year-old, Emmett Till, in Mississippi, in 1955.
General Note:
Publisher imprint varies.
The boy who triggered the civil rights movement -- Kicking the hornets' nest -- The boy from Chicago -- The wolf whistle -- Setting the stage -- Getting away with murder -- Aftershocks.
Reading Level:
1210 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.7 5.0 69598.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.1 8 Quiz: 33740 Guided reading level: Z.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F350.N4 C76 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Reading List
F350.N4 C76 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Revised and updated with new information, this Jane Adams award winner is an in-depth examination of the Emmett Till murder case, a catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement.

The kidnapping and violent murder of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 was and is a uniquely American tragedy. Till, a black teenager from Chicago, was visiting family in a small town in Mississippi, when he allegedly whistled at a white woman. Three days later, his brutally beaten body was found floating in the Tallahatchie River.

In clear, vivid detail Chris Crowe investigates the before-and-aftermath of Till's murder, as well as the dramatic trial and speedy acquittal of his white murderers, situating both in the context of the nascent Civil Rights Movement. Newly reissued with a new chapter of additional material--including recently uncovered details about Till's accuser's testimony--this book grants eye-opening insight to the legacy of Emmett Till.

Author Notes

Chris Crowe was born in Danville, Illinois, and attended schools in Illinois, New Mexico, and California before his parents settled down in Tempe, Arizona, where he graduated from McKemy Junior High and McClintock High School. He attended Brigham Young University on a football scholarship (and played in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl) and earned a BA in English. He taught English at McClintock High for 10 years while attending Arizona State University part-time, earning his masters and doctorate degrees.

He is the author of several books, most notably MISSISSIPPI TRIAL, 1955, which won several awards, including the 2003 International Reading Association's Young Adult Novel Award. His nonfiction book, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER: THE TRUE STORY OF THE EMMETT TILL CASE, was an Jane Addams Honor book. His first children's book, JUST AS GOOD: HOW LARRY DOBY CHANGED AMERICA'S GAME, appeared in 2012. His newest book is a historical novel DEATH COMING UP THE HILL, scheduled to be released in October 2014.

Chris married his high school sweetheart, and they live in Provo, Utah, where he works in the English department at BYU. They are the parents of four children and grandparents of two lovely girls and three handsome boys.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Most American history books don't include Emmett Till, the black 14-year-old from Chicago who was brutally murdered while visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta in 1954. But the gruesome, racially motivated crime and the court's failure to convict the white murderers was a powerful national catalyst for the civil rights movement. Crowe, the author of Mississippi Trial (2002), a YA novel about Till's story, begins this nonfiction account with the events that led to the murder: on a dare, Till allegedly flirted with a local white woman; several days later he was kidnapped by the woman's husband and other men. In accessible, succinct, and sometimes colloquial language, Crowe details what happened on the horrible night, the court proceedings, and how the nation responded--the "aftershocks" of the unbelievable ruling. Crowe is particularly successful in placing the murder within its larger historical context, detailing life both in the segregated Jim Crow South and in Emmett's less volatile but still segregated Chicago, and he doesn't shy away from the horrifying details (there's a shocking black-and-white photo of Emmett's disfigured corpse among the illustrations). Crowe's occasional re-creations of events are vivid, but like the rest of the text, they would have been better served with more extensive source notes; only a few in-text references and a concluding bibliography are provided. But Crowe's powerful, terrifying account does justice to its subject in bold, direct telling, supported by numerous archival photos and quotes from those who remember, including Emmett's mother, who wrote on her son's gravestone: "A little nobody who shook up the world." A time line and a list of further resources conclude. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Crowe (Mississippi Trial, 1955) revisits the subject of his debut novel, this time as nonfiction, with an even more searing impact. He builds a strong argument that "the outrage that followed [Emmett's] death and the acquittal of his murderers finally launched the movement to combat racism in the United States." The opening scene, reconstructed from court statements and documents, tells how 14-year-old Emmett Till was taken from his great-uncle's Mississippi home, where the boy was visiting from Chicago, to be killed by two white men. Emmett's crime: he had allegedly whistled at and made `ugly remarks' to a white woman" in a 1955 segregated South where whites were still bristling from the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. The narrative then slows a bit to paint the historical scene, but quickly gains momentum again as Crowe compellingly describes Emmett's perspective, coming from an experience of comparative freedom in the north, as he entered the world of his southern relatives, thus setting a backdrop for tensions to unfold. Striking photographs illustrate an era of contradictions, such as an all-American boy brandishing a sign bearing a racist slogan. The acts of bravery may impress readers most, especially the decision by Maud Till Bailey, Emmett's mother, to open his casket and "Let the people see what they did to my boy," and his Uncle Mose Wright taking the stand to identify the white defendants (immediately thereafter, he had to flee Mississippi or risk being murdered himself). Crowe pays powerful tribute to a boy whose untimely death spurred a national chain of events. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-A wrenching account of the brutal killing of a 14-year-old black Chicagoan in Mississippi in 1955, his murderers' acquittal, and their subsequent confession. The writing brings the tenor of the times and the importance of this case into sharp focus. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.