The matter of black lives Writing from the New Yorker

Book - 2021

Bringing together reporting, profiles, memoir and criticism from The New Yorker to present a bold and complex portrait of black life in America, told through stories of private triumphs and national tragedies, political vision, and artistic inspiration throughout history.

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305.896/Matter
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2nd Floor New Shelf 305.896/Matter (NEW SHELF) Due Jul 15, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Essays
Poetry
Published
New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2021]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xvi, 828 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780063017597
0063017598
Other Authors
Jelani Cobb (editor), James Baldwin, 1924-1987 (-), Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, 1963-, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 1977-, Kelefah Sanneh, Andrea Lee, Jamaica Kincaid, Danielle S. Allen, 1971-, Sarah M. Broom
  • Reflection
  • Personal histories
  • The political scene
  • Life and letters
  • Onward and upward with the arts
  • Annals of the law
  • The uprisings and after.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Features editor and a tech reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek, Chafkin tells the story of The Contrarian, that is, billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who has significantly influenced the course of Silicon Valley. Columbia history/journalism professor Cobb and New Yorker editor Remnick illuminate The Matter of Black Lives in pieces collected from the magazine, starting with Rebecca West's account of a lynching trial and James Baldwin's "Letter from a Region in My Mind" and moving on to embrace works by Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Zadie Smith, Hilton Als, Jamaica Kincaid, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., among others (100,000-copy first printing). Having left behind her hometown in England's declining coal-mining region when her father declared There's Nothing for You Here, Brookings senior fellow Hill—now an American citizen and a former member of the National Security Council—draws on her extensive national intelligence work in Russia to warn that America's rocky situation today mirrors circumstances that led to Russia's socioeconomic decline (100,000-copy first printing). Rejecting the view that humans are irredeemably off-the-wall in their thinking (we have elucidated the laws of nature, for instance), two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Pinker argues in Rationality that we don't avail ourselves of logic in many everyday situations because we don't really need to. But we can learn how to think more logically, even as we recognize that some rational acts (he cites self-interest) can lead to damaging irrationality for society. Oxford professor Srinivasan's The Right to Sex talks about talking about sex in the #MeToo era, stating, for instance, that we need to deepen the prevailing concept of consent into something more nuanced (50,000-copy first printing). Award-winning journalist Streep's Brothers on Three revisit the players, families, and community that celebrated when the Arlee Warriors brought home the high school basketball state championship title to the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana (75,000-copy first printing). Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In his introduction, Cobb (The Substance of Hope) grounds this essential anthology in the American experience: "Race has exerted a profound, distorting effect on American life—all of it, not simply the portion labeled with the racial modifier 'Black.'" More than an antiracist reading list, this collection of mindfully curated historic and contemporary New Yorker texts surveys a wide range of voices and narratives, from Rebecca West's 1947 account of a lynching trial in South Carolina to Kelefa Sanneh's recent analysis of corporate hip-hop. It includes canonical authors (James Baldwin, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison) alongside recent works by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Jill Lepore, and Elizabeth Alexander. Cobb and Remnick have assembled a dialogue across generations of New Yorker contributors that encourages readers to engage with the nation's history of racism and potential for change. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries, this anthology offers an engaging and highly relevant selection for American audiences.—Asa Drake, Marion Cty. P.L., FL Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In his introduction, Cobb (The Substance of Hope) grounds this essential anthology in the American experience: "Race has exerted a profound, distorting effect on American life—all of it, not simply the portion labeled with the racial modifier 'Black.'" More than an antiracist reading list, this collection of mindfully curated historic and contemporary New Yorker texts surveys a wide range of voices and narratives, from Rebecca West's 1947 account of a lynching trial in South Carolina to Kelefa Sanneh's recent analysis of corporate hip-hop. It includes canonical authors (James Baldwin, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison) alongside recent works by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Jill Lepore, and Elizabeth Alexander. Cobb and Remnick have assembled a dialogue across generations of New Yorker contributors that encourages readers to engage with the nation's history of racism and potential for change. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries, this anthology offers an engaging and highly relevant selection for American audiences.—Asa Drake, Marion Cty. P.L., FL Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

New Yorker staff writer Cobb (The Substance of Hope) and editor Remnick (The Bridge) present an expansive anthology of pieces from the magazine's archives on the "political, cultural, and economic questions surrounding race and Black achievement." James Baldwin's "Letter from a Region in My Mind," later published as The Fire Next Time, opens the proceedings, setting a high bar that the collection, for the most part, maintains. Other highlights include Hilton Als's "Homecoming," which interweaves reflections on the 1967 Brownsville uprising and the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by police in 2020 with insights into the cultural burdens placed on Black artists; Renata Adler's report on the 1964 Selma to Montgomery civil rights march, which captures the homespun feel of the movement before it was mythologized; and Sarah Broom's "The Yellow House," a poignant meditation on the loss of her family home in Hurricane Katrina that became a National Book Award–winning memoir. Beyond the stellar prose, what unites these pieces, which range widely in length, tone, and point of view, is Baldwin's insight, paraphrased by Cobb, that "the American future is precisely as bright or as dark as our capacity to grapple with ." This standout anthology illuminates a matter of perennial concern. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Bringing together reporting, profiles, memoir and criticism, this bold and complex portrait of black life in America, told through stories of private triumphs and national tragedies, political vision and artistic inspiration throughout history, is culled from The New Yorker. 100,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Bringing together reporting, profiles, memoir and criticism from The New Yorker to present a bold and complex portrait of black life in America, told through stories of private triumphs and national tragedies, political vision, and artistic inspiration throughout history.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A collection of The New Yorker‘s groundbreaking writing on race in America—including work by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hilton Als, Zadie Smith, and more—with a foreword by Jelani CobbThis anthology from the pages of the New Yorker provides a bold and complex portrait of Black life in America, told through stories of private triumphs and national tragedies, political vision and artistic inspiration. It reaches back across a century, with Rebecca West’s classic account of a 1947 lynching trial and James Baldwin’s “Letter from a Region in My Mind” (which later formed the basis of The Fire Next Time), and yet it also explores our current moment, from the classroom to the prison cell and the upheavals of what Jelani Cobb calls “the American Spring.” Bringing together reporting, profiles, memoir, and criticism from writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Elizabeth Alexander, Hilton Als, Vinson Cunningham, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Jamaica Kincaid, Kelefa Sanneh, Doreen St. Félix, and others, the collection offers startling insights about this country’s relationship with race. The Matter of Black Lives reveals the weight of a singular history, and challenges us to envision the future anew.