The All-American Skin Game, or Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994

Overview

In this brilliantly acerbic collection of essays--a New York Times Notable Book in 1995--Stanley Crouch confirms that he is one of the most eloquent and unpredictable commentators on race and culture in American society--something already known to anyone who's seen him on 60 Minutes or read his columns in The Village Voice and The New Republic. 288 pp. National media appearances.

In this collection of essays long and short, the hugely controversial critic and author ...

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The All-American Skin Game, or Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994

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Overview

In this brilliantly acerbic collection of essays--a New York Times Notable Book in 1995--Stanley Crouch confirms that he is one of the most eloquent and unpredictable commentators on race and culture in American society--something already known to anyone who's seen him on 60 Minutes or read his columns in The Village Voice and The New Republic. 288 pp. National media appearances.

In this collection of essays long and short, the hugely controversial critic and author of Notes of a Hanging Judge gives us a refreshingly iconoclastic view of race in American culture and society. Whether Crouch is writing about the U.S. Constitution as blues, or jazz (Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis), he is always incisive and provocative.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A very shrewd commentator with an ability to spot the racial cant and hypocrisy with which our public discourse is infected"--The Washington Post
Salon

"We Americans," Stanley Crouch argues in the introduction to this collection of his recent essays and reviews, "no matter our superficial distinctions, are always in the middle of a dialogue, an eternal -- and inevitable -- democratic discourse." On the evidence of these pieces, Crouch brings one of the most provocative and original voices in American letters to the discussion. Whether he's writing about race and the Simpson trial, the careers of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, the films of Quentin Tarantino, the sociology of W.E.B. DuBois or the novels of Saul Bellow, Crouch is always working, with considerable zest, to discard layers of cant and confusion, to return every debate to first causes, to identify the essential features of any question.

Crouch first gained recognition for his writings on jazz, and there is a wonderful improvisational energy to his prose, a free flowing and very deft interweaving of precise observation and frank autobiography. There are also echoes in his prose of the two writers he most admires, Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison.

Throughout these pieces Crouch is at pains to remind his readers that our increasingly dogmatic and ill-formed concepts of race are distracting us from coming to grips with the core problems we face. He is, nonetheless, guardedly optimistic: "It seems to me that we are rising, head first...to a world far more complex and rewarding." If that's so, it very likely owes something to the bracing clarity and force of Stanley Crouch's work.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In speeches, essays and reviews from publications like the New Republic, Crouch (Notes of a Hanging Judge) offers eloquent, pungent takes on racial politics, literature, film and music. The author made his name as a jazz critic, and he invokes jazz to proclaim that our society's "multiple miscegenations'' are proof and source of enduring vitality and renewal. Thus, he has no truck with racial balkanizers or those who claim rapsters as the soul of black authenticity. A disciple of Ralph Ellison, he hails the recently departed writer as "a citizen of this nation'' and argues that black filmmakers must develop a more nuanced American vision. Crouch's deconstruction of Miles Davis, his sympathy for Quentin Tarantino, his celebration of novelist Leon Forrest-all make good reading. So what's missing? Crouch's view of a practical politics to engage and enhance his oft-invoked democratic vistas. (Nov.)
Booknews
A collection of incisive speeches, essays, and reviews on race and culture in American society, by the eloquent though frequently combative Crouch. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679776604
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/14/1997
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 5.12 (h) x 0.57 (d)

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