One of our most important black intellectuals limns the lives of black Americans with subtle, lucid rigor. As both an academic and Baptist minister, Dyson (Communications/Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Making Malcolm, 1994, etc.) winningly combines the roles of prophet and teacher for which Cornel West has gotten such acclaim, but to even better effect. Dyson's discussion ranges across the complexities of class, race, and gender, touching on politics, personalities, music, and the culture wars. A regular contributor to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and other journals (where most of the essays here originally appeared) Dyson comfortably adjusts his pitch to suit the many various audiences he addresses. Uppermost, always, in Dyson's mind is the knotted relations of black men and women. He uses the O.J. Simpson trial in particular to examine gender relations, noting how the pressing issue of spousal abuse was sidelined by many blacks, who focused instead on the oppression of black men by a white system. He also looks hard at black popular culture for its misogyny and impoverished racial vision, although in reviews of popular musicians like Luther Vandross and Anita Baker, he delights in black culture's infinite variety, understanding it as the repository ``of our deepest desires and fears.'' In the most moving part of the book, the author reprints a letter he wrote to his brother in jail for murder, offering frightening proof of the tenuousness of the lives of black men. Dyson gladly places his concern for blacks within the larger concern for all Americans, knowing that afflictions of race do not cripple blacks alone, but all who are a part of this national experiment in democracy. Synthesizing the disparate poles of the sacred and the secular, men and women, ``high'' culture and ``low,'' Dyson's wisdom is a needed antidote to the poisons of racial hatred and gender inequality ever present in our lives.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-509898-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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