Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for We Carry Their Bones:
Florida. Always Florida.
The story of the Dozier School in Florida where basically children had been tortured and killed for 100 years.
Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:
In 1865, Florida governor John Milton was so upset about the Union winning the Civil War that he went home and shot himself.
Fun Fact for History Nerds:
By 1910, 14% of American farms were Black owned.
My Take on We Carry Their Bones:
Leave it to Florida to once again give us something to talk about. Unfortunately, this story is not funny in the least.
We Carry Their Bones by Erin Kimmerle is an important book with some riveting information. The book tells the story of the Dozier School in Florida where numerous children were sent to be tortured and killed over mostly minor offenses. Kimmerle and her team are ultimately called upon to investigate the unmarked graves at the school to bring closure to numerous families over the 100 years the school was open.
The good parts are very good. I liked hearing about Kimmerle’s own experience before this episode in her life which gives a lot of context around who she is. I absolutely loved the science and the process of excavating the school. It showed an extreme measure of care and illuminates the parts shows TV shows cut out. The stories of the boys and what happened to them are heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, there are a few missteps in the narrative which I feel really hamper the book’s flow. It certainly seems Kimmerle intended to settle some scores. Specifically, a blogger is mentioned multiple times as a hindrance in her work. While he certainly seems like a pain and devoid of empathy, he also seems mostly tangential. The book doesn’t explain how much of a problem he really ended up being. If he was so easily swept aside, then it would have been prudent to just ignore him entirely. There are also strange asides which seem out of nowhere. A crack about a relative makes about Catholics makes it into the book without a clear link. There is also a section in the end of the book with a rant on mansplaining. Kimmerle and her team did righteous work in the face of some strong opposition. These examples seem beneath her.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the book for the most part and am happy people like Kimmerle and her team exist to bring the closure these families needed.
It’s an interesting book about an event which was not well covered. Buy it here!
If You Liked This Try:
- Miriam C. Davis, The Axeman of New Orleans
- Skip Hollandsworth, The Midnight Assassin
- Hallie Rubenhold, The Five
- J. Robinson, Mystery on the Isle of Shoals