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Matt Martinson has commented on (7) products.

Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies) by Joshua Bloom
Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies)

Matt Martinson, October 31, 2013

If you are interested in who the Black Panthers really were, this is a good place to start. Most of us have been misinformed about who the Black Panthers were and why they existed. Bloom and Martin are trying to remedy that problem. The book lacks the angry rhetoric that makes Huey Newton's and Bobby Seale's books so great, but what it has instead is the perspective of time and research. Bloom and Martin are thorough in their research and provide a compelling read. There are two issues in particular that this book does a good job of illuminating. First, the role of women in the party, which was not as equal as the Party leadership claimed. And second, the decline of the party, which the authors do a good job of describing. They trace the decline of the BPP to the most unexpected of causes. But I'll leave it to you to see what they think caused it.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)



Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies) by Joshua Bloom
Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies)

Matt Martinson, October 31, 2013

If you are interested in who the Black Panthers really were, this is a good place to start. Most of us have been misinformed about who the Black Panthers were and why they existed. Bloom and Martin are trying to remedy that problem. The book lacks the angry rhetoric that makes Huey Newton's and Bobby Seale's books so great, but what it has instead is the perspective of time and research. Bloom and Martin are thorough in their research and provide a compelling read. There are two issues in particular that this book does a good job of illuminating. First, the role of women in the party, which was not as equal as the Party leadership claimed. And second, the decline of the party, which the authors do a good job of describing. They trace the decline of the BPP to the most unexpected of causes. But I'll leave it to you to see what they think caused it.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)



Almost Invisible: Poems (12 Edition) by Mark Strand
Almost Invisible: Poems (12 Edition)

Matt Martinson, January 30, 2013

I recently finished this miracle of a book. Each of its brief fifty pages consists of one paragraph. Each paragraph is something indefinable. They are not stories per se, nor are they poems exactly; they are too long to be aphorisms, too whole to be fragments, too concrete to be metaphysical, and too surreal to be flash fiction. Of course, defining something by what it is not only gets us so far. Perhaps I could call them scenes, but even that description doesn't quite fit. Maybe I can call them scenarios that evoke particular ideas, emotions, and questions. But that is still not good enough. So here's what I'm going to do: I will say what I think of the book, then provide an example for you to judge for yourself.

So what did I think of this book? I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I wished I could spend hours with each paragraph, ruminating upon it. But I also was so anxious to get to the next one that I had a hard time stopping myself. There's not much to say beyond that without gushing. So here is one of my favorite examples:

"Bury Your Face in Your Hands"
Because we have crossed the river and the wind offers only a numb uncoiling of cold and we have meekly adapted, no longer expecting more than we have been given, nor wondering how it happened that we came to this place, we don't mind that nothing turned out as we thought it might. There is no way to clear the haze in which we live, no way to know that we have undergone another day. The silent snow of thought melts before it has a chance to stick. Where we are is anyone's guess. The gates to nowhere multiply and the present is so far away, so deeply far away.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



Twilight by William Gay
Twilight

Matt Martinson, September 20, 2012

I rarely get good book recommendations, but Twilight was a fantastic exception. The plot, action, and characters in this book are so evil, yet it is so well written! The book starts with two siblings digging up graves, yet they aren't the antagonists. Then we meet the undertaker, who mistreats the dead in horrific ways, yet he also is not the most sinister character in the book. Trust me, when you meet this villain, you will be mesmerized and appalled. Although I've read O'Connor, Faulkner, and the like, I don't typically seek out Southern Gothic lit--but I now intend to read all of Gay's works, which are unfortunately few. If you like good writing, read this book. I have no idea why Gay isn't discussed and applauded more often. Read it now!
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Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Literary Library) by John Barth
Lost in the Funhouse (Anchor Literary Library)

Matt Martinson, August 4, 2012

From the first story--once I realized it was a first-person narrative of a sperm, not a salmon as I'd originally thought--I was drawn into this book. Barth is hilarious and clever, but he also expands what is possible with fiction. Many of the stories are a kind of metafiction, very self aware, without seeming pretentious or annoying. Instead, I found myself highly interested, entertained, and happy about the entire book. I highly recommend it!
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