A passionate, lucid, and necessary memoir, then and now.

A reprint of the author’s account of her work as a white lesbian “thinking race, feeling race, acting against racism” in the American South.

First published in 1994, this memoir tells the highly topical story of how Segrest (Emeritus, Gender and Women’s Studies/Connecticut Coll.; Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice, 2002, etc.) developed intersectional feminist consciousness and struggled against far-right extremism in North Carolina. As a member of a conservative Alabama family, the author began questioning white privilege when she witnessed the intense struggles black students faced during forced integration in the early 1960s. A decade later, she came face to face with her own minority status when she realized she was gay. During the 1970s, Segrest gravitated to feminism but quickly saw that its ideologies were as classist as they were racist and heterosexist. The author then evolved a socialist consciousness that regarded misogyny, homophobia, and racism as byproducts of capitalism, and she eventually realized that liberation movements “separate people as much as bring them together.” This understanding became the cornerstone of her work at the intersection of race, class, and gender. Her “race traitor” activism during the 1980s and ’90s led her to forge fraught but necessary alliances with black activists in North Carolina while speaking out against the Ku Klux Klan for its acts of white supremacist violence. Segrest also worked for justice in hate crimes against members of the gay community, but the extreme homophobia she encountered in the more conservative parts of North Carolina sometimes meant having to keep her sexual orientation hidden. She presciently concludes that unless Americans understand and take action against the legacy of “racism…homophobia…hatred of Jews and women [and] greed,” it will “sicken us all.” Twenty-five years later, in the shadow of increasing worldwide white nationalism and hyperpredatory capitalism, Segrest’s reflections are exceptionally chilling, fresh, and urgent.

A passionate, lucid, and necessary memoir, then and now.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62097-299-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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