If He Hollers Let Him Go

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This story of a man living every day in fear of his life for simply being black is as powerful today as it was when it was first published in 1947. The novel takes place in the space of four days in the life of Bob Jones, a black man who is constantly plagued by the effects of racism. Living in a society that is drenched in race consciousness has no doubt taken a toll on the way Jones behaves, thinks, and feels, especially when, at the end of his story, he is accused of a brutal crime he did not commit. "One of ...

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1995 Paperback Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

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Overview

This story of a man living every day in fear of his life for simply being black is as powerful today as it was when it was first published in 1947. The novel takes place in the space of four days in the life of Bob Jones, a black man who is constantly plagued by the effects of racism. Living in a society that is drenched in race consciousness has no doubt taken a toll on the way Jones behaves, thinks, and feels, especially when, at the end of his story, he is accused of a brutal crime he did not commit. "One of the most important American writers of the twentieth century ... [a] quirky American genius..."—Walter Mosley, author of Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Devil in a Blue Dress "If He Hollers is an austere and concentrated study of black experience, set in southern California in the early forties."—Independent Publisher

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Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
With his first novel, Chester B. Himes secured his place in the vanguard of the emerging young black writers of his time who were honestly detailing the rigors of black life in America. Unlike his contemporaries Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, Himes was not a writer with overt political concerns. His novel does, however, delve into the existential cost that black men had to pay for the racism around them: that they had to live constantly, absurdly aware of the color of their skin.

Bob Jones's story is a simple one told in clear, direct prose. All Bob wants is "to be accepted as a man&#8212without ambition, without distlnction, either of race, creed, or color." But in the 1940s and 1950s, nothing was simple between blacks and whites. Bob quickly finds himself losing his hopes and ambitions as he is crushed beneath the weight of racism and discrimination. His life spins out of control until he hates everyone around him: the blacks fbr being powerless to change their lives; the whites for taking advantage of them. Bob Jones is every black man at that time, who was, every day, walking a tightrope of racial tension, except Bob falls, pushed by a loose blonde who kissed him, then framed him on a rape charge.

If He Hollers Let Him Go is a masterpiece for its bitter and honest portrayal of the life of a normal black man in America, and it speaks to any person who has felt, at some time or other, that the or she has had enough abuse on account of the color of their skin. Himes demonstrated in the person of Bob Jones that one of the most critical rights that black people have been denied is the right to just live their lives unbothered and unmolested and to follow their impulses and desires with no greater reward or punishment than nature's laws of cause and effect.

The indignity of it, the gutting of my pride, what a nigger had to take just to keep on living in this goddamned world. The cold scared feeling started damping down on me; it nailed me to my seat, weak and black and powerless.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560250975
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/17/1995
  • Pages: 203
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.27 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2003

    A Masterpiece of the Black Man's Plight in America

    This book is fantastic. It tells about how hard it is for the black man living in the white man's world and it is still relevant today. The man can write. Old school flava.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Profound. Authentic.

    I'm a white woman struggling to remove the veil of prejudice that I acquired over the years of growing up in a rural mid-western town and too many years of exposure to mass media and "white-washed" K-12 textbooks. This is an excellent novel by an African-American author living and writing about life in the U.S. during World War II. It is excellent. Reviewed and recommended by my niece, a 24-year-old, bi-lingual 5th year college student. This is a story about the honor, integrity, intelligence and insight of some humankind. It's about struggle and resiliency, and honor.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well Written and Thought-Provoking.

    This is a very down-to-earth book. This novel illustrates the emotions that go along with racism in a relatable way that all races can understand. The novel also focuses on several types of people: the blacks who hate white people, the blacks who want to be white people, and the various degrees of racist white people, from those who don't mind dealing with black people to those who would beat a black person to death in an instant.

    The book is interesting because it leaves no one 'right.' Every character's stance on the issue of racism is challenged in this book and, in turn, so are its audience's. Reading this book will leave you thinking about your own biases and lifestyle, definitely.

    The plot is fair and cohesive. None of the plot's movement felt forced, except for one (It becomes insignificant very soon after it happens). The point of the book is really the racial issues, though.

    All in all, this book will make you feel for Bob Jones, the main character, and you will learn something about yourself, too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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