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1 Beaverton Ethnic Studies- General

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays

by

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays Cover

ISBN13: 9781555975180
ISBN10: 1555975186
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity

In a book that begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies, Eula Biss explores race in America.  Her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays — teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicagos most diverse neighborhood. 

As Biss moves across the country from New York to California to the Midwest, her essays move across time from biblical Babylon to the freedmans schools of Reconstruction to a Jim Crow mining town to post-war white flight.  She brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows.

These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege.  Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it.”

Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists. She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University and is co-editor of Essay Press. Her essays have appeared in Harper's Magazine and The Believer. She lives in Chicago.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
A School Library Journal Best Adult Book for High School Students
Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
 
In a book that begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies, Eula Biss explores race in America. Her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays—teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicago's most diverse neighborhood.
 
As Biss moves across the country—from New York to California to the Midwest—she brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows. These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege.
"I fought with this book. I shouted, 'Amen!' I cursed at it for being so wildly wrong and right. It's so smart, combative, surprising, and sometimes shocking that it kept me twisting and turning in my seat like I was on some kind of socio-political roller coaster ride. Eula Biss writes with equal parts beauty and terror. I love it."—Sherman Alexie
"I fought with this book. I shouted, 'Amen!' I cursed at it for being so wildly wrong and right. It's so smart, combative, surprising, and sometimes shocking that it kept me twisting and turning in my seat like I was on some kind of socio-political roller coaster ride. Eula Biss writes with equal parts beauty and terror. I love it."—Sherman Alexie
 
"'Gangs are real, but they are also conceptual,' Eula Biss says, and the wide embrace of that observation speaks well for her essays, which are always ideologically alive even as they are grounded in fascinating details: children's dolls, the history of telephone poles, the saga of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. But this book is no miscellany. All of Biss's explorations finally address race in the United States, from someone whose life seems devoted to that great pondering . . . and so this is an essential (and quintessential) American book."—Albert Goldbarth
 
"Like Blake, that other mystic poet, [Biss] sees the world in a grain of sand. Without missing a beat, she looks at a telephone pole as a symbol of our universal connection, the intrusion of technology, an instrument of lynch mobs, a reminder of her grandfather's death, and a symbol of life sprouting new leaves even after it is strung with wires."—Noel Ignatiev
 
"Essays about America and race: I know what you're thinking. You have absolutely no idea—how iconoclastic this book is, how unpredictable, how provocative, how complicit, how (potentially) transfiguring. An utterly beautiful and deeply serious performance."—David Shields
 
"Biss calls our attention to things so intrinsic to our lives they have become invisible, such as telephone poles and our assumptions about race . . . With nods to Didion and Baldwin, her sinuous essays dart off and zigzag, and we hold on tight. Biss compares the lesson plans for freed slaves in Reconstruction-era public schools with what is taught to today's African American students, and chronicles her experiences as a minority in black worlds, including her stint as a reporter for an African American community newspaper in San Diego. Matters of race, sense of self, and belonging involve everyone, and Biss' crossing-the-line perspective will provoke fresh analysis of our fears and expectations."—Booklist (starred review)

Synopsis:

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity

In a book that begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies, Eula Biss explores race in America.  Her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays — teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicagos most diverse neighborhood. 

As Biss moves across the country from New York to California to the Midwest, her essays move across time from biblical Babylon to the freedmans schools of Reconstruction to a Jim Crow mining town to post-war white flight.  She brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows.

These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege.  Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it.”

Synopsis:

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
 
A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity
 
The word pioneer betrays a disturbing willingness to repeat the worst mistake of the pioneers of the American West—the mistake of considering an inhabited place uninhabited. To imagine oneself as a pioneer in a place as densely populated as Chicago is either to deny the existence of your neighbors or to cast them as natives who must be displaced. Either way, it is a hostile fantasy.

Eula Biss grew up white in what she calls a “mixed” family. Her take on race is informed by her cousins, whose father was from Jamaica, and her mother, who adopts a West African religion and resists the confines of whiteness.

In these essays, Biss considers the legacy of Reconstruction in the public-school classrooms where she teaches, and questions the mandate to make her students “better people.” She remembers the white and black dolls she shared with her sister in light of the famous doll studies of Mamie and Kenneth Clark, and she rereads Laura Ingalls Wilder as she settles into the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Never hesitating to face the sometimes embarrassing answers to her own difficult questions, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or

About the Author

EULA BISS is the author of The Balloonists. She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University and is co-editor of Essay Press. Her essays have appeared in Harpers and The Believer. She lives in Chicago.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Almeda Roth, February 10, 2010 (view all comments by Almeda Roth)
I can't recommend Eula Biss's essays highly enough. I'm new to her work; I had just read her essay "Relations" in the 2009 Best American Non-Required Reading anthology, and I was in such admiration of her deftness with the essay form. Next I picked up The Balloonists: a short, impressionistic memoir built up out of little woolly bricks of moments, half-memories, images and quotes. Now I'm moving on to Notes From No Man's Land, which I'm happy to see also includes that "Relations" essay. She is astonishingly good. You'll want to read her all afternoon and then send copies to your friends.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975180
Author:
Biss, Eula
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
American essays
Subject:
United States Race relations.
Subject:
American essays - 21st century
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 0.715 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General
History and Social Science » Sale Books

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975180 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity

In a book that begins with a series of lynchings and ends with a series of apologies, Eula Biss explores race in America.  Her response to the topic is informed by the experiences chronicled in these essays — teaching in a Harlem school on the morning of 9/11, reporting for an African American newspaper in San Diego, watching the aftermath of Katrina from a college town in Iowa, and settling in Chicagos most diverse neighborhood. 

As Biss moves across the country from New York to California to the Midwest, her essays move across time from biblical Babylon to the freedmans schools of Reconstruction to a Jim Crow mining town to post-war white flight.  She brings an eclectic education to the page, drawing variously on the Eagles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Baldwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Joan Didion, religious pamphlets, and reality television shows.

These spare, sometimes lyric essays explore the legacy of race in America, artfully revealing in intimate detail how families, schools, and neighborhoods participate in preserving racial privilege.  Faced with a disturbing past and an unsettling present, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of American diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or the quota-making politics of it, but the real complexity of it.”

"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
 
A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity
 
The word pioneer betrays a disturbing willingness to repeat the worst mistake of the pioneers of the American West—the mistake of considering an inhabited place uninhabited. To imagine oneself as a pioneer in a place as densely populated as Chicago is either to deny the existence of your neighbors or to cast them as natives who must be displaced. Either way, it is a hostile fantasy.

Eula Biss grew up white in what she calls a “mixed” family. Her take on race is informed by her cousins, whose father was from Jamaica, and her mother, who adopts a West African religion and resists the confines of whiteness.

In these essays, Biss considers the legacy of Reconstruction in the public-school classrooms where she teaches, and questions the mandate to make her students “better people.” She remembers the white and black dolls she shared with her sister in light of the famous doll studies of Mamie and Kenneth Clark, and she rereads Laura Ingalls Wilder as she settles into the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Never hesitating to face the sometimes embarrassing answers to her own difficult questions, Biss still remains hopeful about the possibilities of diversity, “not the sun-shininess of it, or
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