In the 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the ratificiation of the Thirteenth Amendment, the story of race and America has remained a brutally simple one, written on flesh- it is the story of the black body, exploited to create the country's foundational wealth, violently segregated to unite a nation after a civil war, and, today, still disproportionately threatened, locked up and killed in the streets. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can America reckon with its fraught racial history? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates' attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son - and readers - the story of his own awakening to the truth about history and race through a series of revelatory experiences- immersion in nationalist mythology as a child; engagement with history, poetry and love at Howard University; travels to Civil War battlefields and the South Side of Chicago; a journey to France that reorients his sense of the world; and pilgrimages to the homes of mothers whose children's lives have been taken as American plunder. Taken together, these stories map a winding path towards a kind of liberation - a journey from fear and confusion, to a full and honest understanding of the world as it is. Masterfully woven from lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me offers a powerful new framework for understanding America's history and current crisis, and a transcendent vision for a way forward.
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Winner of PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay 2016 and US National Book Award for Non-Fiction 2015. Shortlisted for Dayton Literary Peace Prize: Non-Fiction 2016 and National Book Critics Circle Awards: Criticism 2015.
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