By Gilbert Cruz
Updated March 17, 2006 05:00 AM
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In Marion, Ind., during the summer of 1930, two black men accused of rape and murder were lynched by an angry mob. Spurred by an infamous photo and the discovery that her grandfather was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in Marion, journalist Cynthia Carr investigates the incident and its lingering effects on the community. Exhaustively researched (at times, almost too exhaustively), Our Town unfolds like Rashomon with a cast of hundreds, including the town’s mayor at the time, the state’s first black sheriff, and the ragtag members of a resurgent KKK in modern Indiana. Carr’s concluding note — ”We white people can always go on thinking we’re not connected to anything terrible. That’s the white illusion and it’s tough to drop….” — is a combative end to a book righteous in its fight for truth.