Books by Carl Senna

Released: Oct. 1, 1993

From the appearance of Freedom's Journal in 1827 to what Senna sees as today's ``integration of black journalists into the mainstream of American journalism,'' the battles for emancipation, and then for civil rights, have been the black press's chief raison d`àtre, the battle for commercial viability its Waterloo. Senna's account of prominent journalists, from Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells to Carl Rowan, and generally evanescent publications (Ebony and others from John H. Johnson's publishing empire are exceptions) suggests the integral role that press has played in our social and political history. Unfortunately, the book is superficially researched (endnotes cite only secondary sources plus a 1969 Britannica article), and heavily padded with general history; despite frequent quotes, it lacks all but the barest hint of the special flavor of black journalism. This may have some appeal for its unusual focus but, if possible, steer readers to Wolseley's imposing Black Press, USA (Iowa State University Press, second editon 1990). Perfunctory, dark b&w illustrations; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. YA) Read full book review >
COLIN POWELL by Carl Senna
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

The Gulf War showcased the skills and talents of our highest-ranking African-American general. In this sympathetic, straightforward biography, a journalist presents his life in well-documented detail, apparently based largely on interviews with Powell's sister and on press interviews. A career officer, Powell volunteered for two tours of duty in Vietnam, and rose rapidly through hard work, dedication, and political skill. While holding strong personal opinions, he avoided making waves and was adept at resolving touchy interracial conflicts. Senna portrays him as hoping for peace yet fully prepared to follow presidential orders to use force, without public disagreement. Particularly clear here is Powell's reasoning on the need for a strong defense to ensure peace, even today. Senna also provides balanced background information on the conflicts with Panama and Iraq, and mentions the ``dream ticket'' speculation that saw Powell as a ``Black Eisenhower'' vice-presidential candidate for Bush. A book that generally seems to reflect Powell's own sense of balance and proportion. B&w photos; chronology; source notes; bibliography; index. (Biography. 10-14.) Read full book review >