In the opening pages of John Pruitt's debut novel, an African American serviceman is gunned down on a rural Georgia road in July 1964. This shocking murder ensnares a wide range of characters including the journalists who cover it, the lawmen who must solve it, the civil rights leaders who capitalize upon it, the politicians who exploit it, and the Atlanta magnate who fears its impact on the New South image he desperately wants to protect. TV news cameraman Gil Matthews and AP reporter Mindy Williams team up to follow the twists and turns of the murder investigation as rural, state, and federal lawmen clash, a civil rights leader fends off a black power challenger, and voters take sides in a governor's race pitting virulent racist Roscoe Pike against moderate underdog Harrison Parker. Tell It True focuses on the challenges faced by journalists as they covered a societal revolution and brought the dramatic and sometimes violent scenes to television screens around the world night after night. Taking us to a time when the future of the South hung in the balance, readers will no doubt recognize that many of those same troubles are still with us today.
Veteran journalist John Pruitt bases the story on his experiences over fifty years as a television news reporter and anchor in Atlanta, Georgia. "There were many momentous stories I covered during my career," says Pruitt, "but none equaled the magnitude of the struggles for racial equality in the South."