An informed and intimate account—accompanied by some disturbing photos—of one of the worst days in American history.

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WATCHING THE WORLD CHANGE

THE STORIES BEHIND THE IMAGES OF 9/11

A photojournalist (formerly of Life, now Vanity Fair) examines the images of 9/11—from the iconic to the lesser-known—and discusses photography’s pervasive presence in that disaster and in contemporary culture.

Friend first tells the stories of those photographers, amateur and professional, who had cameras pointed at the World Trade Center on that crisp fall morning, then moves into a fascinating description of the use of photography in the aftermath. He talks about photos taken from an NYPD helicopter; the video of George W. Bush in that Florida classroom, as an aide whispered to him the news; the photos and X-rays used to identify victims’ remains; the proliferation of posters featuring the images of missing loved ones; efforts by galleries and museums to display artifacts and photos; the anger many felt when images of the catastrophe (and of Ground Zero) were sold for profit. He explores the efforts of the electronic media to cover the crisis. He discusses the possibility that a video of Osama bin Laden released just before the 2004 election helped Bush defeat John Kerry. He tells of people who claimed to see images of angels and devils in the clouds of smoke billowing from the buildings. Friend introduces a fireman’s widow who ate her meals looking at a large photograph of her husband positioned in a chair across the table. He examines the role of photography in the lead-up to and execution of the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, including Colin Powell’s presentation at the U.N., the “imbedded” photojournalists, the president’s “Top Gun moment” on the carrier Abraham Lincoln, Abu Ghraib and more. Friend ends with the complex story of what became a symbol of Ground Zero: the celebrated image of three firemen raising the American flag—à la Iwo Jima—in the rubble.

An informed and intimate account—accompanied by some disturbing photos—of one of the worst days in American history.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2006

ISBN: 0-374-29933-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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