Nominated for the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction
Synopses & Reviews
An awardwinning writer delivers a major reckoning with religion, place, and sexuality in the aftermath of 9/11
Hailed in The Washington Post as one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in America,” Richard Rodriguez now considers religious violence worldwide, growing public atheism in the West, and his own mortality.
Rodriguezs stylish new memoirthe first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalistmoves from Jerusalem to Silicon Valley, from Moses to Liberace, from Lance Armstrong to Mother Teresa. Rodriguez is a homosexual who writes with love of the religions of the desert that exclude him. He is a passionate, unorthodox Christian who is always mindful of his relationship to Judaism and Islam because of a shared belief in the God who revealed himself within an ecology of emptiness. And at the center of this book is a consideration of womentheir importance to Rodriguezs spiritual formation and their centrality to the future of the desert religions.
Only a mind as elastic and refined as Rodriguezs could bind these threads together into this wonderfully complex tapestry.
"Richard Rodriguez's beautiful new book, Brown, is a meditation on America's family secrets." Los Angeles Times
"[A] provocative and challenging meditation on identity, racial and otherwise, in American culture....This book is written for anyone looking for a way out of limiting self-conceptions." Publishers Weekly
"A poetic, often contrarian meditation on race in modern America....Elegant, controversial, and altogether memorable." Kirkus Reviews
"Rodriguez is one of our most interesting and courageous thinkers on the subject of race....[B]e prepared, as you approach Brown, for a challenging and at times frustrating undertaking." Johathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Brown is an eloquent, nuanced plea for the individual as the primary force in American life..." San Francisco Chronicle
"The recurrent strands of [Rodriguez's] thought...gain new resonance each time and stand, in the end, for the complexity of a whole greater than the sum of its parts." Anthony Walton, The New York Times Book Review
In his two previous works, Hunger of Memory and Days of Obligation, Rodriguez wrote about the intersection of his private life with public issues of class and ethnicity. With Brown, his consideration of race, Rodriguez completes his "trilogy on American public life."
In his dazzling new memoir, Richard Rodriguez reflects on the color brown and the meaning of Hispanics to the life of America today. Rodriguez argues that America has been brown since its inception since the moment the African and the European met within the Indian eye. But more than simply a book about race, Brown is about America in the broadest sense a look at what our country is, full of surprising observations by a writer who is a marvelous stylist as well as a trenchant observer and thinker.
In his dazzling new memoir, Richard Rodriguez reflects on the color brown and the meaning of Hispanics to the life of America today. Rodriguez argues that America has been brown since its inception-since the moment the African and the European met within the Indian eye. But more than simply a book about race, Brown is about America in the broadest sense—a look at what our country is, full of surprising observations by a writer who is a marvelous stylist as well as a trenchant observer and thinker.
About the Author
"The best American essayist." -Village Voice
Richard Rodriguez is the author of Hunger of Memory, Brown, and Days of Obligation. He is a fellow of New America Media. He was a long-time contributor to PBS and continues to write for Harper's Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
The Triad of Alexis de Tocqueville, 1
In the Brown Study, 33
The Prince and I, 47
Poor Richard, 81
The Third Man, 125
Dreams of a Temperate People, 145
Gone West, 169
Peter's Avocado, 193