Reveals some of the directions that questions of race and racism will take as we approach post-Obama America.




Contemplating the current state of race in America.

Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, there have been countless discussions about the concept of a “post-racial America.” Whether unduly optimistic or simply silly, this assertion had legs even as some of the most aggressive opposition to the new president came in the form of barely cloaked racial animosity. In their new essay collection, Mack (Law/Harvard Univ.; Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer, 2012) and Charles (Law/Duke Univ.), who founded the Duke Center on Law, Race, and Politics, bring together 12 scholars and writers to reflect on the “New Black.” While the contributors take wide-ranging and often contradictory approaches to the issue of race in contemporary America, they all write from the perspective that “the civil rights idea,” the integrationist model expressed in the classical phase of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, “no longer provides an easy way to describe, or address, America’s continuing race problem.” The contributors cover an array of issues, from the infamous arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, which led to the so-called “beer summit” in 2009, to the relevance of politics (including the role of Obama) and law in the world of minorities, to reconsiderations of civil rights history and questions of the failures of a binary black-white view of race relations in the U.S. The contributors, who include Elizabeth Alexander, Lani Guinier, Glenn C. Loury and others, tackle this perpetual issue in thoughtful essays that vary in quality but rarely in the seriousness of their engagement. 

Reveals some of the directions that questions of race and racism will take as we approach post-Obama America.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59558-677-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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


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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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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