DES MOINES, IOWA — Hubbard-native Paul Kix spent a busy Tuesday in Des Moines. First, he joined Keith Murphy and Andy Fales on their radio show this afternoon at KXNO. He interned with them in the WHO13 sports department twenty years ago, before going on to a career as a writer for “ESPN The Magazine”, GQ, the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. That evening, he spoke to a large crowd at the downtown library about his new book “You Have to Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin to Live: Ten Weeks in Birmingham That Changed America.”

It’s a non-fiction book about a pivotal time during the civil rights movement in that city in 1963. More specifically, it’s about the struggle and perseverance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his deputies, Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel. The four men battled Bull Connor’s racist police force, buoyed by the conservative white mobs of the Jim Crow south.

Kix’s wife, Sonya, is Black and says their three children identify as black. He says he wrote this book, in part, for them.

“What happened then in 1963,” says Kix, “could really be a guide for how my kids could live today with courage, with ingenuity, with kindness, and above all with perseverance. Because that campaign was the hardest of any civil rights campaign.”

Kix says he spent many days in Birmingham doing research for the book and gathering oral history from those who lived it.

He says the more research he did, the less daunting writing the book felt.

“I was so buoyed by this research, I found so much strength in it. I was returning to it day after day to understand ‘how did they persevere?’ Not only for the purposes of the book, but for the purposes of my own life? How could I persevere as they did? By the end of the research I was like ‘I can do this.’ And it’s because of that book.”

Kix’s first book, “The Saboteur,” was an Amazon bestseller. You can read more about him at