Released on 20 October 2016.

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An Extraordinary True Story of Two Brothers and a Mother's Love

3.46 based on 1996 ratings & 418 reviews on


In Truevine, Virginia, in 1899 everyone the Muse brothers knew was either a former slave, or a child or grandchild of slaves.

George and Willie Muse were just six and nine years old, but they worked the fields from dawn to dark. Until a white man offered them candy and stole them away to become circus freaks. For the next twenty-eight years, their distraught mother struggled to get them back. But were they really kidnapped? And how did their mother, a barely literate black woman in the segregated South, manage to bring them home? And why, after coming home, would they want to go back to the circus?

In Truevine, bestselling author Beth Macy reveals for the first time what really happened to the Muse brothers. It is an unforgettable story of cruelty and exploitation, but also of loyalty, determination and love.

In the media

Macy is a gifted storyteller and a dogged researcher and readers will be riveted by Harriet Muse's struggle to find her sons.
New York Times
As compelling as Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks . . . both are absolutely stunning examples of narrative nonfiction at its best . . . Certain to be among the most memorable books of the year.
A sturdy, passionate, and penetrating narrative. This first-rate journey into human trafficking, slavery, and familial bonding is an engrossing example of spirited, determined reportage