2021 new arrival The Beautiful Struggle: A sale discount Memoir online sale

2021 new arrival The Beautiful Struggle: A sale discount Memoir online sale

2021 new arrival The Beautiful Struggle: A sale discount Memoir online sale
2021 new arrival The Beautiful Struggle: A sale discount Memoir online sale_top

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Product Description

An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.

Praise for The Beautiful Struggle

“I grew up in a Maryland that lay years, miles and worlds away from the one whose summers and sorrows Ta-Nehisi Coates evokes in this memoir with such tenderness and science; and the greatest proof of the power of this work is the way that, reading it, I felt that time, distance and barriers of race and class meant nothing. That in telling his story he was telling my own story, for me.” —Michael Chabon, bestselling author of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

“Ta-Nehisi Coates is the young James Joyce of the hip hop generation.” —Walter Mosley

Review

“Ta-Nehisi Coates is the young James Joyce of the hip-hop generation.”
—Walter Mosley


“Haunting and healing . . . a splendid memoir” —Essence

“A brilliant coming-of-age story.” — People

“A remarkable, blunt portrait of an adolescence filled with danger, chaos, flaws, and tragedy . . . a love story, dispatched from the front lines of a family.”
Time Out New York

“A searing and soulful memoir.”
—Michael Eric Dyson, author of April 4, 1968

About the Author

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. His book Between the World and Me won the National Book Award in 2015. Coates is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 1


There lived a little boy
who was misled . . .


When they caught us down on Charles Street, they were all that I''d heard. They did not wave banners, flash amulets or secret signs. Still, I could feel their awful name advancing out of the lore. They were remarkable. They sported the Stetsons of Hollis, but with no gold. They were shadow and rangy, like they could three-piece you--jab, uppercut, jab--from a block away. They had no eyes. They shrieked and jeered, urged themselves on, danced wildly, chanted Rock and Roll is here to stay. When Murphy Homes closed in on us, the moon ducked behind its black cloak and Fell''s Point dilettantes shuffled in boots.

It was their numbers that tipped me off--no one else rolled this deep. We were surrounded by six to eight, but up and down the street, packs of them took up different corners. I was spaced-out as usual, lost in the Caves of Chaos and the magic of Optimus Prime''s vanishing trailer. It took time for me to get clear. Big Bill made them a block away, grew tense, but I did not understand, even after they touched my older brother with a right cross so awkward I thought it was a greeting.

I didn''t catch on till his arms were pumping the wind. Bill was out. Murphy Homes turned to me.

In those days, Baltimore was factional, segmented into crews who took their names from their local civic associations. Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front your girl.

Above them all, Murphy Homes waved the scepter. The scale of their banditry made them mythical. Wherever they walked--Old Town, Shake and Bake, the harbor--they busted knees and melted faces. Across the land, the name rang out: Murphy Homes beat niggers with gas nozzles. Murphy Homes split backs and poured in salt. Murphy Homes moved with one eye, flew out on bat wings, performed dark rites atop Druid Hill.

I tried to follow Bill, but they cut me off. A goblin stepped out from the pack--

Fuck, you going, bitch?

--and stunned me with a straight right. About that time my Converse turned to cleats and I bolted, leaving dents and divots in the concrete. The streetlights flickered, waved as I broke ankles, blew by, and when the bandits reached to check me, I left only imagination and air. I doubled back to Lexington Market. There was no sign of Bill. I reached for a pay phone.

Dad, we got banked.

Okay, Son, find an adult. Stand next to an adult.

I''m in front of Lexington Market. I lost Bill.

Son, I''m on the way.

I had crossed a border. This was more than Dad''s black leather belt--I knew how that would end. But word to Tucker''s Kobolds, this thing filing out across the way, lost boys with a stake in only each other, stretching down the block in packs, berserking everywhere, was awful and random. I stood near a man about Dad''s age waiting at a bus stop, like age could shield me. He looked over at me unfazed and then back across the streets at the growing fray of frenzied youth.

***

We''d come out that night in search of the wrestlers, who were our latest sensation. They elevated bar fights to a martial art, would rush the ring, all juiced on jeers and applause, white music blaring, Van Halen hair waving in the wind, and raise their chins until their egos were eye level with God. Moves were invented, named, patented, and feared--heaven help Bob Backlund in the camel clutch--and we loved that, too, the stew of language that gave a beat down style and grace, that made an eye gouge a ritual.

You could find us, noon on Saturdays, sprawled out on the living room floor, adjusting the hanger behind our secondhand color TV, until the Fabulous Freebirds, Baby Doll, and Ron Garvin emerged from the wavy lines and static. The wrestlers barnstormed the country perfecting their insane number. They were confused. They ranted with the rhythm of black preachers; wore silk robes, bikinis, and spangled belts; carried parasols; and recited poetry. Glossy mags sprung up from nothing, spread their gospel, their scowling mugs, their hollow threats and lore. They gave dressing room interviews, punctuated by jabs at the air. Whole histories were pillaged, myths bastardized, until Hercules Hernandez stepped off Olympus and the Iron Sheik delivered the Mideast to the Midwest. They held summits and negotiations, all of these ending in a rain of blows.

Other fans had their Hulksters or the golden Von Erichs. But for me only the American Dream could endure.

He waddled down the aisle, bathed in applause and fireworks. His gut poured over bikini trunks. His eyes were black histories.

The Horsemen would tie the Dream to the ropes, beat him until his hair was a mop of bloody blond. I''d cringe and pound the floor, yelling for him to get up. But Bill always rooted for villains, and cackled as Ric Flair strutted the ring, flipping his wig of platinum blond. Then the Dream would dig in, reverse figure fours, throw bionic elbows and Sonny Liston rights. In the midst of his fleeing adversaries--the battered Tully Blanchards and shattered Andersons--he''d look out at the crowd gone mad and snatch the mic like KRS--

It''s me, the Great. The king of the ring. Like I told you, the Dream IS professional wrestling. I have been to the mountaintop, and it will take a hell of a man to knock me off.

We had to see them. But that road went right through Dad, whose only point in life was toil. He worked seven days a week. Big Bill called him the pope, for weekly he issued sweeping edicts like he had a line to God. He outlawed eating on Thanksgiving, under pain of lecture. He disavowed air-conditioning, VCRs, and Atari. He made us cut the grass with a hand-powered mower. In the morning he''d play NPR and solicit our opinions just to contravene and debate. Once, over a series of days, he did the math on Tarzan and the Lone Ranger until, at six, I saw the dull taint of colonial power. I am sure this is what brought him comically to our side.

With two tickets to live pro wrestling, he offered a gift and a joke--

Go see Kamala the Ugandan Giant. And you will understand, as I do, that that nigger is from Alabama.

At the Baltimore Arena we were in full effect. We peered down from cheap seats so high that the ring was our own gift box. There were white people everywhere, and this was the most I''d ever seen of them. They wore caps and jeans sliced into shorts; herded kids, hot dogs, and popcorn. I thought they looked dirty, and this made me racist and proud.

I''d like to tell you what immediately happened next. But I don''t remember. I was open, and wanted to cheer the Birdman, resplendent in wraparound shades, a Jheri curl, and fluorescent gold-and-blue spandex. He was always oblivious to his theme music. His tune was internal, and maybe that night he dipped and glided toward the ring, flapping his arms and talking to the parakeets perched on each of his shoulders. I wanted to see the Dream, who was at the height of his feud with the Horsemen, and outnumbered, had taken to guerrilla warfare--masks, capes, ambushes, beef extended into parking lots, driveways and dream dates. But I lost it all out there, and when I dig for that night, all that emerges are the tendrils of Murphy Homes, how they dug into my brother''s head. He was already a kid of the streets. But this highway robbery, this thievery of your own person, pushed him toward something else. He was touched by the desperate, and now fully comprehended the stakes.

I know that Dad and Ma saved me, pulled up in their silver Rabbit, some time after I made the call; that Dad ran off into the swarming night to find his eldest son, and for the first and only time, I was afraid for him. I know that Bill''s mother, Linda, swooped down to the harbor and found Bill first, shuttled him back out to their crib in Jamestown. I know that Bill returned to Tioga days later, and when I told him how I''d dusted Murphy Homes, how I was on some Kid Flash shit, he was incredulous--

Fool, they let you get away so they could chase me.

***

If the newspapers Dad left around the house were true, the greater world was obsessed over Challenger and the S&L scandal. But we were another country, fraying at our seams. All the old rules were crumbling around us. The statistics were dire and oft recited--1 in 21 killed by 1 in 21, more of us in jail than college.

A cottage industry sprung up to consider our fate. Jawanza Kunjufu was large in those days, his book Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys promised answers and so was constantly invoked. At conferences, black boys were assembled. At schools we were herded into auditoriums. At home, mothers summoned us to dinner tables, and there they delivered the news: Our time was short.

***

We lived in a row house in the slope of Tioga Parkway in West Baltimore. There was a small kitchen, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms--but only one that anybody ever wanted to use. All of us slept upstairs. My folks in a modest master. My two sisters, Kris and Kell--when back from Howard University, in an area where Dad also stored his books. There was a terrace out back, with a rotting wooden balcony. I almost died out there one day. Leaning against the crumbling wood I tumbled headlong, but caught myself on the back door roof and came lucky feetfirst to the ground.

My room was the smallest, and always checkered with scattered volumes of World Book, Childcraft, Dragonlance, and Narnia. I slept on bunk beds made from thick pine, shared the bottom with my baby brother Menelik. Big Bill, as in all things, was up top. By mere months, he was my father''s first son, but he turned this minor advantage into heraldry. He began sentences with "As the oldest son . . ." and sought to turn all his younger siblings into warriors. Big Bill was seldom scared. He had a bop that moved the crowd, and preempted beef. When bored, he''d entertain himself, cracking on your busted fade, acne, or your off-brand kicks.

***

Bill: Ta-Nehisi, get the fuck outta here with those weak-ass N.B.A.s. Know what that shit stands for? Next time buy Adidas. And, Gary, I don''t know what you laughing at in those four-stripe Cugas. Know what that means? Nigger, can u get Adidas . . .

***

In those days, crazy Chuckie threatened our neighborhood. When we lined up for five on five, every tackle he took personally, every block was an invite to scrap. Once he pulled a metal stake from the ground, swung it at fat Wayne until he retreated all the way into our living room. That''s when Dad came out and revealed the face of This Is Not a Game. Chuckie cursed and waved the stake. Then he stalked off. That night I lay on the bottom bunk, replaying it all for Bill.

***

Me: Man, Chuckie is crazy.

Bill: Fuck Chuckie. If he ever step to me, I''ll fuck him up.

***
That fall, Chuckie killed his father, got gaffled by the jakes, and disappeared into the netherworld of Boys'' Village or Hickey Juvenile.

Private school Stevie lived two doors down. I''d sit outside playing with his G.I. Joes until I realized that this made me a target. Across the street was Mondawmin Mall, the fashion seat of West Baltimore, the pit of sex, beat downs, and cool. Every window glittered with leather, fur, sterling, and stickers with large red numbers and slash marks. But the price tags and fat-ass honeys made boys turn killer. One misstep onto suede Pumas, and the jihad begins. In those days cocaine was the air, and though I never saw a fiend fire up, the smoke darkened everything, turned our homey town into a bazaar of cheap ornaments bought expensively, a Gomorrah on the inner harbor. A young man''s worth was the width of his blond cable-link chain. The space between two, three, then four finger rings marked footmen from cavalry, cavalry from the great gentry of this darker age. In all our dreams we cruised the avenue in black Cherokee Jeeps, then parked at the corner of Hot and Live, our system flogging eardrums, pumping "Latoya" and "Sucker MCs." Even I shared those dreams, and I was only ten.

While I was hobbled by preteen status and basic nature, Big Bill was enthralled by the lights. This was the summer of ''86. KRS-One laid siege to Queensbridge. I would stand in my bedroom, throwing up my hands, reciting the words of Todd Smith--"Walkin'' down the street, to the hardcore beat/While my JVC vibrates the concrete." Bill and my brother John spent all summer busing tables. Bill schemed on a fat rope, one that dangled from his neck like sin. Still, his money was young, and he could not stomach the months of layaway. So he returned from the mall with two mini-ziplock bags, each the size of a woman''s fist, each glimmering, like him, in the light. They held massive rings, one adorned with a golden kite, another spanning two fingers, molded into a dollar sign.

He flashed them before me, and I was caught by how the glowing metal made him swell inside his own skin. He was profiling, lost in all his glory, when Dad stepped to him.

***

Dad: Son. They''re fake. Son, you''ve been had.

Bill: You''re bugging. This is fourteen-karat. I paid cash money.

Dad: Son, Son. Let''s have them smelted down and tested. If it''s ten karats or more, I will pay you for the rings. With interest.

***

Bill''s head went reeling, the dream within reach: He saw a gold herringbone spread over his Black BVD, and when he bopped through Mondawmin, jennys would jump on his jock and soldiers would collapse or salute. In the order of Slick Rick, Bill would wear the scarlet robe. So he agreed to my father''s proposition, convinced he was on the better end. We were young, drunk on ourselves, and could not know that all the alleys we took as original, he''d stepped through before. He found a place to smelt the gold, do the math. And I don''t know what was worse--the negative results or Dad''s rueful chuckle and sermon. Afterward, Dad went over to Mondawmin and had Bill point out the merchants. Then he walked to the glass counter, brandished the results, and spoke magic words. The magic words were "fraud," "Black community," and "State''s attorney." Bill never felt the same about gold again.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
989 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Jeff H
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Required reading
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2016
I found this book to be an excellent companion to Mr Coates'' more recent work Between the World and Me . The Beautiful Struggle is a lyrical journey through West Baltimore and sheds more detailed light on some of the incidents mentioned in his second... See more
I found this book to be an excellent companion to Mr Coates'' more recent work Between the World and Me . The Beautiful Struggle is a lyrical journey through West Baltimore and sheds more detailed light on some of the incidents mentioned in his second book. It shows the many paths a young person could take when faced with the results of multi-generational systemic racism and focuses on the father, the author, and an older brother. Without the social context the book would be an entertaining memoir, by the kind of writer who transports the reader into the story. Action, romance, drama, everything is here. Also a bit of Black Panther Party history, African music study, etc. It is more than just a good book though, considering where we are in this country, considering we have to be told black lives matter, considering the carte blanche granted to the police departments, it is an indispensable view of the other side.

I think both of these books should be required reading for people like me, that is people who have to check the white, non-hispanic box on surveys. While reading a couple (or a hundred) books will never place you in the shoes of someone who has experienced the struggle in real life, books like this will open your/our/their eyes to what is often swept under the rug as we pretend to live in some sort of post-racial utopia. It''s never going to happen if we as a society, we as a country, don''t realize, acknowledge, and try to remedy all the harm caused in the black community through decades of legislation. I considered myself conscious before reading any of Mr Coates'' work and now feel like I''m on step one again. There is a lot of knowledge out there.
80 people found this helpful
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Case Quarter
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
black privilege
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2019
sadly, this book is overlooked when the more popular Between the World and Me is discussed. Between the World and Me is the second installment of coates’ memoir, picking up where The Beautiful Struggle leaves off with the young coates preparing for college. the coming of... See more
sadly, this book is overlooked when the more popular Between the World and Me is discussed. Between the World and Me is the second installment of coates’ memoir, picking up where The Beautiful Struggle leaves off with the young coates preparing for college. the coming of age story of the first memoir brings to mind the progression of language found in joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and the language of place, an urban idiom in coates’ case, evokes the poetry of dylan thomas—a mention of a green hill by coates may be a toast to dylan thomas’ Fern Hill and its catalogue of green things.

the grittiness and toughness of inner-city culture during the 1980s as negotiated by a boy and his siblings and peers isn’t unique to coates’ early years as writer. like several black american writers of his generation, coates acknowledges the importance of hip-hop as a literary form for making sense of black street life as it involves gangs, drugs and promiscuity as early as the pre-teen years. what makes the story his own are his parents, especially the afro-centric teachings of coates’ father, small press publisher of black histories and former black panther. the coates’ children had the good fortune of having a father who worked at howard university at a time when children of employees received a free education and was in the home in a culture where the absent father had become pretty much the norm. as wavering as the path through the tempting streets of the inner city was, there was a lodestar, howard university, known as the black mecca.

unlike joyce and his stephen daedalus or james baldwin, coates was not a self-proclaimed genius with an eye on the prize. that the prize was there, and along the way were always guides, made the difference.

hopefully, in the future, some publisher will publish both memoirs under one cover.
11 people found this helpful
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K.Petillo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good read for all of my BLACK brothers. Sister''s read this, it may help shed some light on things.
Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2017
Pros: Read this, share this with your sons, your brothers, you fathers, your grandfathers, your cousins, your friends. As black men we go through struggles. One way to learn, to cope, to understand oneself better is to talk to or read about those who have or... See more
Pros:
Read this, share this with your sons, your brothers, you fathers, your grandfathers, your cousins, your friends.
As black men we go through struggles. One way to learn, to cope, to understand oneself better is to talk to or read about those who have or continue to struggle as well. Let us lift up one another and stop the breaking down.

The book requires a good sit down and read don''t be afraid to take out your dictionary and look up words you may not understand in this beautifully written book. Also please please please! My brothers, some of the books mentioned in the beautiful struggle should put you on on the path to seek out and research those mentioned. It will help guide you, heal you and shape your opinions of the world you see in front of you that doesn''t value YOU!
Learn, grow, be beautifully unapologetically proud BLACK!
33 people found this helpful
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W. Deason
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I Could Relate
Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2018
I feel honored to share my opinion on this memoir. Many wonderful books were on my wishlist from Christmas and I knew I wanted to start the new year off with material that would leave an impression on me so I chose The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates and it was... See more
I feel honored to share my opinion on this memoir. Many wonderful books were on my wishlist from Christmas and I knew I wanted to start the new year off with material that would leave an impression on me so I chose The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates and it was everything I had thought it would be. I was able to relate to Coates'' memoir in so many ways. I grew up during the same time and came from a similar neighborhood so it was just a matter of me relating my own experiences to those that were shared in the memoir.
10 people found this helpful
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SunshineLil
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Coates Is More than a Hero
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2016
He is as honest as a black man can be in our culture. I''m sure he uses language as a means to push past the outer layers of our engrained racism. He does not allow us time to ponder on his truths, he intends, I believe, to create a story where we will want, even... See more
He is as honest as a black man can be in our culture. I''m sure he uses language as a means to push past the outer layers of our engrained racism.

He does not allow us time to ponder on his truths, he intends, I believe, to create a story where we will want, even desire a second and third reading. This will be for those men who believe themselves white, and who have the courage to read it, an epiphany. Can they embrace these truths?

And who of us has the strength to embrace the truth in book and use those truths to make a difference.
17 people found this helpful
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laprof
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Meander worth the read
Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2018
I only know Ta-Nehisi Coates as an elegant writer. This is his autobiography thus far, and it''s a good story, as he lets us into his head throughout. I was curious to know how he became a writer, and his story highlights that. It''s not a simple chronology, nor a continuous... See more
I only know Ta-Nehisi Coates as an elegant writer. This is his autobiography thus far, and it''s a good story, as he lets us into his head throughout. I was curious to know how he became a writer, and his story highlights that. It''s not a simple chronology, nor a continuous storyline, but I felt like he was piecing his childhood days together to figure it all out, that is, how he became who he is. I enjoyed the journey, though he''s not done yet, and that resonated with me. I found it worth my time, following his thoughts.
4 people found this helpful
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Bobby Williams
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Necessary ... unfortunately.
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2015
Brilliant, Necessary, Required and at the same time bewildering. That we have to caution, teach and live life tethered to a prayer that our mainly young men and boys are able to simply make it home safely, is sobering. To live in this condition daily is heart wrenching,... See more
Brilliant, Necessary, Required and at the same time bewildering. That we have to caution, teach and live life tethered to a prayer that our mainly young men and boys are able to simply make it home safely, is sobering. To live in this condition daily is heart wrenching, but also necessary in our Black American reality. To date I''ve bought numerous copies and gave them as gifts to all the young men and fathers in my barbershop.
11 people found this helpful
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Dick
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read but a little choppy
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
It''s a good read but somewhat choppy. I almost gave up though in the first couple of pages as I couldn''t understand the street language used to open the book. After the opening it the street language is less (or I become familiar with it) and you are cheering for a young... See more
It''s a good read but somewhat choppy. I almost gave up though in the first couple of pages as I couldn''t understand the street language used to open the book. After the opening it the street language is less (or I become familiar with it) and you are cheering for a young boy who is struggling not to get sucked into the wasted life of the streets in Baltimore and his father who is trying to show him there is a different path to travel.
6 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Robert ‘Bob’ Macespera
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Magnificent. A star is born
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2021
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of one of the best written and more important non-fiction books of the last 25 years: “We Were Eight Years in Power”, his best book so far and which is all in one: an autobiography, a history book, an essay on the American society in the...See more
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of one of the best written and more important non-fiction books of the last 25 years: “We Were Eight Years in Power”, his best book so far and which is all in one: an autobiography, a history book, an essay on the American society in the beginnings of the XXI Century, a case for the reparations for the slavery years in America, a cultural self-help manual, a chronicle on the Obama Presidency, a report on the current estate of the racial issues in America; and then else. That important “else” is the two main factors around which Coates have built the ten first years of his career, first as a journalist then as a writer. This one book, "The Beautiful Struggle" is his autobiography, of sorts. Born in Baltimore in 1975, Coates grew in a working-class neighbour plagued with gangs and crack in which losing a friend to either of the two was completely normal. His refuge, assisted by both parents (his father was an activist and small-time publisher and his mother a teacher) was the studies, first, and then and more importantly, the library. His personal revelation came from the books – “I was born for the library not for the classroom”, he said. Reading voraciously took him to reporting, and suffering discrimination to go deeper into American History to understand it. His articles for the periodical “The Atlantic” started calling the attention of general readers since 2007, but the publication in June of 2014 of the long piece “The Case for Reparations”, about the right of the American blacks to be compensated for the racism and slavery after the American Civil War, made him a promising star in the cultural world. His “We were Eight Years in Power”, the compilation of eight of his collaborations in The Atlantic (each one roughly to coincide with each one of the years of the Obama Presidency), only confirm his status as one of the best nonfiction writers in English. With perhaps too much of insistence, he has been appointed as the heir of James Baldwin by such a heavy weight as the late Toni Morrison. It is a fair (and obvious) comparison, but it is still too soon. Baldwin had a very long career – he started writing while the Truman Presidency, just after World War II and in his last articles he commented on the success of Michael Jackson. Yet the vast quantity of the Baldwin''s works was matched with quality, and also by a wide and varied range of interests: writer, novelist, polemicist, cinema reviewer, memoirist, orator, and theatre and screen player (he wrote the first draft of the screenplay about the life of Malcolm X in 1968, ultimately filmed by Spike Lee in 1992). James Baldwin belongs to that special breed of writers and commentators of the XX Century – utterly coherent and tireless critics of any form of fascism or totalitarianism, or discrimination and racism, and who also wrote excellent pieces of fiction. This is the class of George Orwell and Albert Camus. And these are big names. But there are sound similarities between Coates and Baldwin, for instance a superb control of the prose in English – Coates uses effortlessly terms like “carceral”, “survivalist”, “listicle” and yet he is a very easy author to read. Also, Coates keeps a very healthy distance with politics and religion in search for answers. Coates knows full well that the solution to racism lies not in Marxism like Malcolm X (initially) or W. E. B. Du Bois; nor through religions: via the Islam like, again, Malcolm X, nor through Christianity like Dr Martin L King. The answer is moral – paraphrasing Emerson, “why some find pleasure in holding a human being under his absolute control?” Any flaws? None major. Perhaps a lack of sense of humour, even of irony. We miss it after reading pages and pages some light touch. Coates'' style ends up being too serious, almost solemn. And it is not the themes – James Baldwin wrote about the same (and in even harder times) and very often softened his speech with a touch of irony. To quote only one: “my mother had the strange habit of had one baby after another; I remember my teenage years reading and holding the book with one hand and a baby with the other”. We never read lines like these in Coates. He should loosen up a little / after all James Baldwin did it in bleaker circumstances. In “The Anatomy of Influence”, writing about the rampant degeneration of the American political, social and cultural life in the early XXI Century, Harold Bloom states that one of the reasons for that degeneration is that there''re not cultural giants, such as Ralph W Emerson in these times. Now there''s Coates. He''s not yet a giant, but he''s only in his mid forties and has a very long career ahead. Furthermore, he''s got the talent and is in the right - Emersonian - side of the reason. He needs just time to express himself. Reading books like this beautiful struggle, we realise how much the world needs more writers like him.
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marcus redvers
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Open your mind
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2018
Another great book by this author provokes thought
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Bear the cat
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best mixtape I''ve ever read..
Reviewed in Canada on February 13, 2016
Having just read ''Between the world and me'', I was eager to dive into another piece of Coates'' work as he is truly a phenomenal writer. I was happy to see his familiar writing style in this brilliantly crafted memoir, one that is just as hard to put down as his latest...See more
Having just read ''Between the world and me'', I was eager to dive into another piece of Coates'' work as he is truly a phenomenal writer. I was happy to see his familiar writing style in this brilliantly crafted memoir, one that is just as hard to put down as his latest national book awarded masterpiece. Coates is truly the new voice of black intellectualism and has a way of conveying important messages that are raw, gripping and unapologetic in nature. Quite frankly, I''m amazed that he has only written two books thus far and eagerly await his next project.
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B.K.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
difficult to read, but worth reading
Reviewed in Germany on December 4, 2016
The story of a black father with kids from various women, trying to grow all of them up successfully despite living in difficult quarters of Baltimore in a time of violence and drugs. The ways of the father are special, however successful. The book is difficult to read (for...See more
The story of a black father with kids from various women, trying to grow all of them up successfully despite living in difficult quarters of Baltimore in a time of violence and drugs. The ways of the father are special, however successful. The book is difficult to read (for a European) as it relies on specific local language. However, the story is worth to read.
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Cliente de Kindle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must-read for all Americans
Reviewed in Spain on May 19, 2015
It is about what is different and what is the same for African Americans since Martin King, Malcolm X, and the Panthers. Developing an American identity is an effortless, default experience for most Americans. For others it is still a fierce struggle, often external but...See more
It is about what is different and what is the same for African Americans since Martin King, Malcolm X, and the Panthers. Developing an American identity is an effortless, default experience for most Americans. For others it is still a fierce struggle, often external but always internal, which may have only a fragile, tentative outcome. The rest of us must listen to this story.
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