Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015

Premise: This blend of memoir, academic treatise, and cultural theory takes the form of a letter from Ta-Nehisi Coates to his teenage son.

Read this book.

It's not very long, but it might take you a while. If you, like me, stop to savor the language, to let the ideas sink in, to sit with the truths and the history, it might take you a while.

Coates recounts his personal history of striving to understand and survive being black in America: from the fear behind teenage street-corner bluster to his discovery of great voices to follow to learning the breadth of black experience at Howard University to becoming a parent.

Around every corner he finds a new nuance, and every page is full of the kind of wisdom that comes from a combination of alert observation of lived experience and directed, intelligent study.

It's both emotional and academic, unflinching in criticism of the racist systems and attitudes that maintain American society while telling a personal story of searching for truth and meaning.

Read this book.

Read it particularly if you live in America. Read it particularly if you, like me, check the "White" box on the form.

5 Stars - A Goddamn Masterpiece.


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