Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

December 16, 2015
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Book Review, InToriLex,
Between the World and Me


In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.


Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates. InToriLex, Book Review, Angela Davis, Black Power

This is required reading. These are my thoughts and feelings that I have been unable to express in words until I read this book. I loved it for it's honesty, and boldness eloquently and thoroughly used to explain the state of black people in America. But the explanation is not simple and you can't ignore how everyone has a played a role in it. I had to re-read passages a few times to digest and grasp everything captured concisely in wonderful prose.
 "Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible--this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white."
This was a book club read so I'm excited to talk about the many different views, issues, and awesomeness conveyed in a small and powerful book when we meet. The best part of this book is it is accessible and universally relateable. Losing someone to injustice and unfairness is too common, but the systems that exist to allow it, must change. This was a invitation for the reader to learn more about a black culture, systems of oppression and love in a wonderful way.
"It struck me that perhaps the defining feature of being black was the inescapable robbery of time, because the moments we spent readying the mask, or readying ourselves to accept half as much, could not be recovered."
I can sing this books praises over and over. But you won't get it, unless you read it. This book made me cry, reflect, and think. The struggle of life and to do what's right is just as important because in it hope, and we must all hold on to that. This books asks you to recognize your smallness, but don't let it diminish your fight to live, and do so without apologies. Do yourself a favor and read this, you'll feel bad for everyone else missing out.
"Plunder has matured into habit and addiction; the people who could author the mechanized death of our ghettos, the mass rape of private prisons, then engineer their own forgetting must inevitably plunder much more. "


Kindlemom said...

Glad this was such a good read and had an emotional impact on you!

Kathy Reads Fiction said...

Everyone I know who has read this book has raved about it. Six stars? It must really meet the hype, and I'm glad about that. It's on my leftover list from 2015 and while I'm not a nonfiction reader, this is one that I really want to read in the coming year as I catch up on those I didn't get to.

InToriLex said...

Thanks for commenting, it was definitely something to remember!

InToriLex said...

Definitely do, it definitely made me think and learn more about very important topics.

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