In response to:

How to Be an Underdog, and Win from the November 21, 2013 issue

To the Editors:

Freeman Dyson’s review of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants [NYR, November 21] wrongly states that nonviolent protests in Birmingham in 1963 led to “passage of the Civil Rights Act a year later, enforcing the right of blacks to vote in elections and overturning the political power of white segregationists in southern states.” The act did not facilitate black voting—that was done by the Civil Rights Act (so-called Voting Rights Act) of 1965.

James T. Patterson
Professor of History Emeritus
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

Freeman Dyson replies:

Thanks to James Patterson for correcting my mistake. He is a historian and I am not.