A delightful and illuminating memoir of a man whose piercing insights changed our understanding of Modern Europe. (30...

CONFRONTING HISTORY

A MEMOIR

A richly enjoyable autobiography of the esteemed cultural historian.

Mosse (1918–99) was born into a wealthy German-Jewish family in Prussia. Young George grew up in rather grand, if lonely, family houses in Berlin and its environs, and combined the family ethos of hard work with the values of discipline and physical hardship that he learned at Salem, his English-inspired boarding school. He continued his education at Bootham, a Quaker public school in Yorkshire, and attended Cambridge for two years. In America visiting family on the eve of the WWII, he decided to remain in the US rather than risk internment as an enemy alien in Britain. He was admitted to Haverford College and later completed a Ph.D. at Harvard. He taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was renowned for his lectures, and routinely attracted over 500 undergraduates to a single course. Mosse produced groundbreaking scholarship establishing that there were intellectual and cultural foundations to Nazism and Fascism. His more recent works concentrated on Jewry, representation, and sexuality in Modern Europe. He trained a generation of scholars and wrote over a dozen books (including The Crisis of German Ideology, Toward the Final Solution, The Nazionalization of the Masses, Nationalism and Sexuality, Germans & Jews, and Fallen Soldiers). With Walter Laqueur, Mosse was the cofounder and coeditor of the Journal of Contemporary History. Mosse concentrates here on his intellectual development and is circumspect about the more personal aspects of his life (such as his homosexuality). While his memoir may not satisfy those looking for a confessions and sensation, it succeeds admirably in portraying him for what he was—a great scholar and teacher who just happened to be a German, a Jew, and a homosexual.

A delightful and illuminating memoir of a man whose piercing insights changed our understanding of Modern Europe. (30 b&w photos, 6 b&w illustrations)

Pub Date: July 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-299-16580-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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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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