Synopses & Reviews
Oakland is a blues city, brawling and husky . . .
Often overshadowed by San Francisco, its twinkling sister city across the Bay, Oakland is itself an American wonder. The city is surrounded by and filled with natural beauty—mountains and hills and lakes and a bay—and architecture that mirrors its history as a Spanish mission, Gold Rush outpost, and home of the Wests most devious robber barons. Its also a city of artists and blue-collar workers, the birthplace of the Black Panthers, neighbor to Berkeley, and home to a vibrant and volatile stew of immigrants and refugees.
In Blues City, Ishmael Reed, one of our most brilliant essayists, takes us on a tour of Oakland, exploring its fascinating history, its beautiful hills and waterfronts, and its odd cultural juxtapositions. He takes us into a year in the life of this amazing city, to black cowboy parades and Indian powwows, to Black Panther reunions and Gay Pride concerts, to a Japanese jazz club where a Lakota musician plays Coltranes “Naima.” Reed provides a fascinating tour of an un-tamed, unruly western outpost set against the backdrop of political intrigues, ethnic rivalries, and a gentrification-obsessed mayor, opening our eyes not only to a singular city, but to a newly emerging America.
New in the Crown Journeys series--a walk through the vibrant multicultural stew of Oakland, California, with one of America's most distinguished intellectuals and satirists. Oakland is often overshadowed by San Francisco, its neighbor across the Bay, but is itself an American wonder. The city is surrounded by and filled with physical beauty--hills, mountains, bays, and the ocean--as well as architecture that mirrors its history as a Spanish mission, Gold Rush outpost, and home of the West's biggest robber barrons in the early 20th century. Today, Oakland is perhaps most famous for its astonishingly diverse communities. In one district alone, more than 200 languages are spoken--more than on the entire continent of Europe. This is a city of refugees and immigrants, of political radicals, utopians, and apocalyptics of all stripes. In Blues City, Ishmael Reed--a longtime Oakland resident himself--takes us on a tour of what he calls "planet city," exploring its fascinating history, its beautiful hills and waterfronts, and its odd cultural juxtapositions (Japanese jazz clubs and black cowboy parades), opening our eyes to not only a singular city, but to a newly emerging America.
Readers can take a walk through the vibrant multicultural stew of Oakland, California, conducted by one of America's most distinguished intellectuals and satirists.
About the Author
shmael Reed has taught at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth and has long been on the faculty at U.C. Berkeley. Reed is the award-winning author of more than twenty books—novels, essays, plays, and poetry—that have been translated into seven languages. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was twice nominated for the National Book Award. He lives in Oakland, California.