Synopses & Reviews
Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of "whiteness" for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of "race" is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.
"One of the most important books ever on the social construction of the notion that there is a 'white' race." Tikkun
"[I]ntriguing and well researched. This is an important addition to the nascent academic field of whiteness studies, which examines the social construction of whiteness with particular attention to the American experience. It should be read by all historians and anyone with an interest in cultural studies." Library Journal
An insightful and lively exposition from a distinguished scholar. --Linda Gordon
"Compelling, energetic, [and] highly readable." Alan Nadel
A bestseller: "This terrific new book . . . [explores] the 'notion of whiteness,' an idea as dangerous as it is seductive."--
About the Author
Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey, and the Adirondacks.