×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Alice Walker: A Life
     

Alice Walker: A Life

3.5 2
by Evelyn C. White
 
Born to a sharecropping family in Georgia, Alice Walker thrived in the rich culture of what she called the "agrarian peasantry" to become one of our most important and popular writers. Evelyn C. White charts Walker's childhood, marked by an incident at eight that left her blinded in her right eye and with disfiguring scar tissue and that prompted her, out of a sense

Overview

Born to a sharecropping family in Georgia, Alice Walker thrived in the rich culture of what she called the "agrarian peasantry" to become one of our most important and popular writers. Evelyn C. White charts Walker's childhood, marked by an incident at eight that left her blinded in her right eye and with disfiguring scar tissue and that prompted her, out of a sense of "ugliness," to probe human suffering through her poems and stories. In this compelling and skillfully researched biography, we learn of Walker's activism in the 1960s freedom movement, and her leadership in the debate on black women's art, politics, and sexuality. The Color Purple garnered Walker the Pulitzer Prize in fiction - the first awarded to a black woman writer. Drawing on papers, letters, journals, and extensive interviews with Walker, her family, friends, colleagues, and leading American cultural figures including Gloria Steinem, Quincy Jones, and Oprah Winfrey, White assesses one of the most influential writers of our time.

Editorial Reviews

Farah Jasmine Griffin
White's attentiveness to personal stories as well as their historical context is the greatest achievement of this important work. She presents the life of Walker -- the precious, precocious and cherished eighth child of sharecroppers -- from her birth and childhood in the Jim Crow South to her politicization and involvement in the civil rights movement, her years at Spelman and Sarah Lawrence colleges, her interracial marriage, and her celebrity as a world-famous writer.
— The Washington Post
Stacy D'Erasmo
The rich, complex story White tells, however, is never less than fascinating.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In this vibrant narrative, White strives to go beyond simply mapping the movements and accomplishments of the first black female Pulitzer Prize winner. While White relies heavily on interviews with Alice Walker (b. 1944), her family and friends, the stories are always told in a historical context. Walker's childhood as a daughter of Georgia sharecroppers is framed by what it meant to be a poor black female in the Jim Crow South. White particularly focuses on an accident that transforms the eight-year-old Walker from talkative and precocious to introverted and sad. Walker was shot with a BB gun and left disfigured and blind in one eye, and her father was refused a ride to transport the injured girl into town and swindled out of $250 by a white doctor. These events, according to White, brought the young Walker to a new level of understanding of the inhumanity of Southern racism and later moved her to search and reveal, through her writings, the depths of human suffering. This understanding also drove Walker to become active in various causes, most notably the Civil Rights and black feminist movements. From beginning to end, White (The Black Women's Health Book), in her first biography, meticulously traces and analyzes the stages of Walker's life, emphasizing the impact on and importance of her literature in American culture. Agent, Faith Childs. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Color Purple gave Alice Walker her greatest acclaim (and a Pulitzer Prize), but the novel and its movie adaptation were not without controversy. Walker was attacked for portraying black men negatively, writing in dialect, and focusing on lesbianism. In this inspiring biography, journalist White (Chain Chain Change) covers every facet of Walker's life, which began in poverty in segregated Georgia with her seven siblings and sharecropper parents. Walker faced major discrimination in the South, but she survived Jim Crow, suicidal depression, interracial relationships, and an illegal abortion. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement, risking her life as a freedom fighter, and refused to conform to society's expectations; she married a white man (and was labeled a race traitor), then divorced him and came out as a bisexual. White has presented a superb study of an important and popular writer, though she devotes too much time to the now-dated controversy surrounding Walker's most celebrated book. Nevertheless, this first biography of Walker is highly recommended for African American and women's studies collections. Ann Burns, Library Journal Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393058918
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.63(d)

Meet the Author

Evelyn C. White, journalist, author, and editor of The Black Women's Health Book, is a visiting scholar in women's studies at Mills College. She lives in Oakland, California, and in Canada.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Alice Walker 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I chose this book to read for a biography project. Although it was very lengthy, there was great historical context of Walker's life and I felt like an expert after I finished reading. The book was very interesting, and I am glad I read it because White really explained the importance of authors like her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This biography reads more like an autobiography, than a biography. Absolutely no critical or subjective analysis given, but a straight retelling of the 'story' of Ms. Walker´s life, as any astute reader of Ms. Walker´s essays already knows it. Author feels, in so many cases, like a 'hired hand,' which is really disappointing for I had eagerly anticipated this book. Read Ms. Walker´s essays for there is nothing new here.