Thoroughly engrossing - if often unpleasant - tale of racial bigotry and oppression in the U.S. Perhaps that makes it sound more academic than it is. It's a fictional tale of one of the most believable villains I've read in some time. I read it cover to cover in long sitting - I needed to know how it all ended!
I recommend it highly. If you're the type who throws a book in anger periodically across the room, I would suggest moving breakable items out of your line of fire before beginning.