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Top 100 Books of 2023

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Featured in:
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 I'm a nonfiction author and journalist whose latest book, You Have to be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live, was released May 2nd from Celadon. It examines the 10 weeks in the 20th century that changed the trajectory of America and changed my life forever, too. I'm also the author of The Saboteur, a true and best-selling account of the world's most daring World War II commando. I live in Connecticut with my wife, our three kids, my mother-in-law and four—yes, four—pugs.

It Began With One Iconic Picture and George Floyd
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It’s one of the iconic photographs of American history: A Black teenager, a policeman and his lunging German Shepherd. Birmingham, Alabama, May of 1963. In May of 2020, as reporter Paul Kix stared at a different photo–that of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating George Floyd–he kept returning to the other photo taken half a century earlier, haunted by its echoes. What, Kix wondered, was the full legacy of the Birmingham photo? And of the campaign it stemmed from?

From journalist Paul Kix, the riveting story, never before fully told, of the 1963 Birmingham Campaign–ten weeks that would shape the course of the Civil Rights Movement and the future of America.

In You Have To Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin To Live, Paul Kix takes the reader behind the scenes as he tells the story of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s pivotal 10 week campaign in 1963 to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time, he also provides a window into the minds of the four extraordinary men who led the campaign—Martin Luther King, Jr., Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel. With page-turning prose that read like a thriller, Kix’s book is the first to zero in on the ten weeks of Project C, as it was known—its specific history and its echoes sounding throughout our culture now. It’s about Where It All Began, for sure, but it’s also the key to understanding Where We Are Now and Where We Will Be. As the fight for equality continues on many fronts, Project C is crucial to our understanding of our own time and the impact that strategic activism can have.

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An eloquent contribution to the literature of civil rights and the ceaseless struggle to attain them."

This is a meticulously written and researched history in all its complexity."


This book is edge-of-your-seat drama, history as motion picture: short chapters like rapid scene changes, historical actors as a vivid ensemble cast and suspenseful plot over explication. His conceit works magnificently…The richness of Kix’s dramatis personae simply staggers.”

Selected Works

The English bulldog is struggling to survive. That might be college football's fault.

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ESPN The Magazine

A man who once stared down Afghan warlords is now transforming NFL stars. This is the inside story of Tareq Azim, pro football's most revolutionary trainer.​

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How one man drove right into the center of a daring and dangerous crime.

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