Synopses & Reviews
Here is the superb second edition of the annual anthology devoted to the best nonfiction writing by African American authors—provocative works from an unprecedented and unforgettable year when truth was stranger (and more inspiring) than fiction.
The galvanizing election of Barack Obama was on the minds—and the pages—of authors everywhere. Best African American Essays 2010 features the insights of writers from Juan Williams to Kelefa Sanneh and even Obama himself (his seminal speech on race is included here in its entirety). Ta-Nehisi Coates, in The Nation, proclaims that the president has "redefined blackness for white America," while Adolph Reed, Jr., in The Progressive, calls him a "vacuous opportunist" and Colson Whitehead, in The New York Times, lightheartedly revels in the election of "someone who looked like me . . . slim." The First Lady is considered, too, as Lauren Collins, in The New Yorker, assesses the radical quality of Michelle Obama's very normalcy.
But Best African American Essays 2010 goes beyond the Obamas with brilliant pieces from such writers as Hua Hsu, who declares the end of white America in "a new cultural mainstream which prizes diversity above all else"; Henry Louis Gates, who researches his family tree, adding to the "young discipline" that is African American history; and Jelani Cobb, who dares to defend George W. Bush. There are thoughtful and heartfelt tributes to living legends, including Bill Cosby (and an analysis of his famous "pound cake" speech, which promoted black responsibility, empowerment, and self-esteem), and remembrances of those who have passed, including Miriam Makeba, Isaac Hayes, Eartha Kitt, and Michael Jackson.
Selected by guest editor Randall Kennedy, a leading intellectual and legal scholar, the wide-ranging pieces in Best African American Essays 2010 comprise a thrilling collection that anyone who wishes to understand the meaning of the new America must own.
This exciting collection introduces the first-ever annual anthology of writing by African Americans. Here are remarkable essays on a variety of subjects informed by--but not necessarily about--the experience of blackness, as seen through the eyes of some of our finest writers.
From art, entertainment, and science to technology, sexuality, and current events--including the battle for the Democratic nomination for the presidency--the essays in this inaugural anthology offer the compelling perspectives of a number of well-known, distinguished writers, among them Malcolm Gladwell, Jamaica Kincaid, James McBride, and Walter Mosley, and a number of other writers who are just beginning to be heard.
Selected from a diverse array of respected publications such as the New Yorker, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, and National Geographic, the essays gathered here are about making history, living everyday life--and everything in between. In Fired, author and professor Emily Bernard wrestles with the pain of a friendship inexplicably ended. Kenneth McClane writes hauntingly of the last days of his parents' lives in Driving. Journalist Brian Palmer shares The Last Thoughts of an Iraq War Embed. Jamaica Kincaid describes her oddly charged relationship with that quintessentially British, Wordsworthian flower in Dances with Daffodils, and writer Hawa Allan depicts the forces of race and rivalry as two catwalk icons face off in When Tyra Met Naomi. A venue in which African American writers can branch out from traditionally black subjects, Best African American Essays features a range of gifted voices exploring the many issues and experiences, joys and trials, that, ashuman beings, we all share.
Please click the Behind the Book link for contributor's bios.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Gerald Early, a noted essayist and cultural critic, is a professor of English, African, and African American Studies and American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of several books, including The Culture of Bruising, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.