An important document of the struggles (and triumphs) faced by African-American journalists from the 1960s until today.

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A PIONEERING JOURNALIST'S FIGHT TO MAKE THE MEDIA LOOK MORE LIKE AMERICA

Affecting memoir by an African-American journalism pioneer focused on racial and gender equality.

Retired Washington Post reporter and columnist Gilliam (Paul Robeson: All American, 1976) looks back on her distinguished career, during which she helped spur diversity in the media, beginning in an era when such change seemed nearly impossible. “I saw myself,” she writes, “as one of the new-style, aggressive black Americans moving up in Washington and elsewhere [and] I immediately faced prejudice outside and inside the tension-filled newsroom.” Gilliam (b. 1936) was the first black woman journalist hired at the Post, and though some colleagues reached out, the author amply shows the surreal, hurtful quality of social segregation in the early 1960s. Before that, she experienced Jim Crow during a childhood in Memphis and Louisville; her father’s occupation as a pastor showed her both poverty and an aspiration for knowledge and success. In the book’s most powerful section, Gilliam narrates her experiences covering infamous civil rights flashpoints, including recollections of white supremacist mob violence: “As a Southerner, I knew Mississippi was a land of black death, but I went anyway.” After a hiatus, during which she raised children with the artist Sam Gilliam, she received an offer from Ben Bradlee to come back to the Post, which was then being questioned for its lack of diversity. “As a black person,” she writes, “I had been fighting racial discrimination in the media for more than a decade.” Gilliam remained at the Post until 2013 and then immersed herself in efforts to bring young people of color into the media. The author writes with an acute sense of the historical significance of her career and the changes she witnessed, and she forcefully demonstrates the continuing crisis regarding people of color in mainstream journalism. Only occasionally does the narrative become repetitive or tiresome, but on the whole, the pages turn easily.

An important document of the struggles (and triumphs) faced by African-American journalists from the 1960s until today.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5460-8344-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Center Street/Hachette

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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