APRIL 2015

The Associated Press moved a review of The Class of '65 at the end of March that was widely reprinted and posted throughout April. More than 100 media outlets in 27 states, Canada, New Zealand and Australia ran the column, including The New York Times, ABC, Fox News, Newsday, the San Francisco Chronicle, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Times and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. AP editor Don Schanche Jr. praised the book for its "compelling narrative" and "emotional power." When he shared the review on Facebook, he prefaced it by saying: "Since I left off reporting and commenced editing, I don't get a whole lot of bylines any more. But from time to time I do, such as with this review of a terrific book by Jim Auchmutey, formerly of the AJC. I highly recommend it. Could become a classic, I think." (LINK)

Salon, the news and current affairs web site, ran an excerpt of The Class of '65 on the last weekend in April, naming the book as an "editor's pick." They chose the prologue, in which Greg Wittkamper receives the first apology letters from his former classmates, as their excerpt. (LINK)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a lead review of The Class of '65 in the Sunday paper of Sunday, April 26. (LINK

Georgia Public Broadcasting devoted an hour to The Class of '65 on its "Two Way Street" program, hosted by veteran reporter Bill Nigut. The show, which ran on 17 radio stations throughout the state, included an interview with Jim and a conversation with Tom Key, the Atlanta actor who created The Cotton Patch Gospel, a musical based on the writings of Koinonia co-founder Clarence Jordan. Key also read from an apology letter sent to Greg Wittkamper by one his former classmates at Americus High School. (See BLOG POST

Mark Silk, a professor of religion at Trinity College, wrote a piece about the book in his column for Religion News Service. Silk called the narrative "moving" and said that Greg Wittkamper's refusal to bend his pacifist commitment in the face of physical attack was "little short of awe-inspiring." Silk was just as impressed by the way Wittkamper's former classmates later asked for forgiveness from him. "At a time when the country seems angrier and more divided than it has been in decades, " he wrote, "it’s good to be reminded that people can get past the anger and the division." (LINK

Jim did live interviews about the book with Texas Public Radio and with Baltimore's NPR affiliate, WYPR.

MARCH 2015 

The Washington Post reviewed The Class of '65 in the Outlook section on Sunday, March 29. Reviewer Donna Britt raised some thought-provoking questions about the book (see blog post), but ultimately found herself admiring the grit and courage displayed by Greg Wittkamper and the black students who desegregated Americus High School in 1964. The story, she writes, is "told with humor and grace." (LINK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an excerpt of The Class of '65 in the Sunday newspaper of March 22. Suzanne Van Atten, editor of the Personal Journeys series, chose the Prologue, which opens with the scene of Greg Wittkamper receiving letters from high school classmates he hadn't heard from in decades apologizing for the way he had been treated when they were at Americus High during the 1960s. The AJC also produced a video in which Jim Auchmutey talks about the book and one of Greg's classmates, David Morgan, reads from his letter to Greg. (LINK)

Columnist Richard Hyatt wrote about The Class of '65 in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on March 29. Columbus is just a few miles up the road from Americus, and Hyatt is well-acquainted with the story of Koinonia and its struggle to survive during the terror and boycott of the civil rights years.(LINK

The Americus Times-Recorder devoted much of the front page to The Class of '65, in an article by editor Beth Alston. She cautioned that the book dealt with the dark and difficult time of the civil rights era in Sumter County, but it was also a tale of "redemption and, yes, forgiveness." Every place, Jim Auchmutey told her, "has some regrettable history if you scratch a little; my native Atlanta certainly does. It's what you do with that past that matters." (PDF LINK)

Gene Kansas, host of "Sidewalk Radio" on Atlanta's WMLB 1690 -- the Voice of the Arts, conducted an in-depth interview with Jim Auchmutey about The Class of '65. Among other things, Jim talks about a bullying incident he was tangentially involved in during school, which he always regretted. To listen: (LINK

Goodreads, the social media site for book lovers, ran a contest to give away copies of The Class of '65 before its publication. More than 600 people entered. One of the winners, Cathy Bryant of the United Kingdom, posted a very favorable review that begins: “The class of '65 is an extremely good book - it's also an important one. I'd like to see it on school syllabuses, discussed in forums and made into the sort of movie that garners a handful of Oscars.” To read more: (LINK)

Atlanta Magazine featured The Class of '65 in its March issue, critic Teresa Weaver calling the book "a deeply moving story of reconciliation, redemption, and the infinite capacity for change told with unflinching honesty by [Greg] Wittkamper and four other members of the class of 1965." (LINK)

Gail O'Neill interviewed Jim Auchmutey and Greg Wittkamper for a column about The Class of '65 in ArtsATL, the Atlanta arts web site. Greg, ever magnanimous, said he never hated the classmates who harassed him in high school. He figured they were "decent people with decent parents who were scared into submission to avoid social suicide." (LINK

Michelle Hiskey wrote a column about the book on March 24 on the web site the SaportaReport. She explored a different aspect of the story: how Greg Wittkamper's rivalry and sometimes prickly relationship with his older brother helped motivate him to endure the abuse he suffered in high school. His brother left Americus High after one year. (LINK)

Habitat for Humanity's employee newsletter, the cleverly named Habichat, ran a lead piece about the book in its March 18 issue. The nonprofit housing ministry traces its beginnings to Koinonia Farm, where the idea that evolved into Habitat was conceived by Millard Fuller and the community's co-founder, Clarence Jordan. (PDF LINK)