Synopses & Reviews
An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.
Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with
the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in
free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his
basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization.
Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons
across the shoals of inner-city adolescence — and through the collapsing
civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack — and into the safe arms of
Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for
Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were
Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for
his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the
challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their
divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s
steadfast efforts — assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths,
histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a
troubled present — to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their
With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the
lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his
own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys
trying to become men in black America and beyond.
“A remarkable, blunt portrait of an adolescence filled with danger,
chaos, flaws, and tragedy . . . a love story, dispatched from the front
lines of a family.” Time Out New York
“A brilliant coming-of-age story.” People
“Haunting and healing . . . a splendid memoir” Essence
“Ta-Nehisi Coates is the young James Joyce of the hip-hop generation.” Walter Mosley
With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father's generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.
About the Author
TA-NEHISI COATES is a blogger for TheAtlantic.com. He is a former staff writer at The Village Voice and Time, and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and numerous other publications. He lives in New York City.