New book explores Forsyth County’s bloody history

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Brambleman Examines Forsyth County’s Racist Past

A new novel by an award-winning writer and editor focuses attention on one of the most horrific acts of racism in U.S. history and its repercussions “unto the third and fourth generation.”

Brambleman tells the story of down-and-out Atlanta writer Charlie Sherman, who is convinced by a mysterious stranger to finish a dead professor’s book about a crime that’s gone unpunished for decades. What Charlie works on is an unwieldy manuscript about the mob-driven expulsion of more than 1,000 blacks from Forsyth County, Georgia in 1912. However, Charlie also uncovers a terrible secret involving a Forsyth County land grab. Due to its proximity to Atlanta, the stolen farm is now worth $20 million—and a sale is pending. When he finds the land’s rightful owner, Charlie becomes convinced he’s been chosen by a Higher Power to mete out justice and wreak vengeance on those who profit from evil. That’s when things go horribly wrong.

Author Jonathan Grant says the story will probably be controversial. “Many people don’t want to be reminded about Forsyth County’s past—especially because, to many people, that past has become the county’s defining characteristic—what made it what it is today.”

“The way I tell the story will ruffle even more feathers,” Grant admits.“Brambleman isn’t a dry, documentary treatment of historical events. It’s definitely not preachy. It’s wildly funny, with a heavy supernatural twist and a protagonist who often resorts to very non-heroic tactics and, along the way, doubts his sanity, motives, and who he’s actually working for.”

The novel is an outgrowth of Grant’s work on his late father Donald L. Grant’s magnum opus, The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia (University of Georgia Press), named Georgia’s “Book of the Year” when it was published. “The last narrative my father wrote was on Hosea Williams’s two Forsyth County marches in 1987,” Grant says. “While I worked on the book, I became painfully aware that Forsyth County never received its proper due from historians. I wanted to give it the attention it deserved. Two decades later, Brambleman is here.”

Author Bio: Jonathan Grant grew up on a Missouri farm and graduated from the University of Georgia. The former journalist and state government spokesman lives in Atlanta with his wife and two children. He is the author of the novel Chain Gang Elementary and co-author/editor of The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia.


A novel by Jonathan Grant
Thornbriar Press, Atlanta
ISBN 978-0-9834921-2-2 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-9834921-3-9 (ebook)
Suggested retail: $18.95 (paperback), $8.99 (ebook)


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