Jesse Jackson: A Biographyby Marshall Frady
His ambition since his youth has been to be nothing less than the nation's moral evangel, the American Gandhi. But as he courses deliberately through American politics he has continued to be misperceived as simply a political being. In Jesse: The Life and Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson, Marshall Frady writers with brilliant insight and understanding of the forces shaping… See more details below
His ambition since his youth has been to be nothing less than the nation's moral evangel, the American Gandhi. But as he courses deliberately through American politics he has continued to be misperceived as simply a political being. In Jesse: The Life and Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson, Marshall Frady writers with brilliant insight and understanding of the forces shaping this unique American character, and uncloaks the Jackson enigma. Over the last seven years, Frady has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles with Jackson in the United States and abroad and has had unparalleled access to his entire family, especially his wife, Jackie, a vivid and outspoken character in her own right, and his friends and associates of the last half century. He has explored the mystery of this tumultuaously mixed man; Jesse is a biography of singular power.
For several years journalist and biographer Frady (Wallace, not reviewed, etc.) has been granted close access to Jesse Jackson, whom he first met while covering the civil rights movement for Newsweek in the late 1960s. Yet unlike many authorized biographies, this portrait has nothing hagiographic about it. Frady reports that Jackson is driven by an unusual thirst for public acclaim (former NAACP head Roger Wilkins once said, "I just wish sometimes that he would not need recognition as much as he does"). And his ambitionto say nothing of his unseemly rush to don Martin Luther King's mantle after King's assassination in 1968, his ill-begotten alliance with Louis Farrakhan, and his infamous "Hymietown" remarkhas come close to being his undoing. For all that ego, however, Jackson has rightfully become many things to many people, "not just a preacher, not just a politician, not just a social activist, not only a militant young black Joshua to his people but also . . . a star of sorts in the nation's pop firmament of the diversely famed." Through his hard work and genuine commitment to a multiethnic progressive politics, Frady suggests, Jackson has given hope to what James Baldwin called "the most dangerous creation of any society . . . that man who has nothing to lose." His uncategorizability makes him a complete original, Frady says, perhaps the most original figure in American public life. Ill-used by Bill Clinton and seemingly irrelevant to a younger generation of black activists, Jackson continues to be everywhere at once (Frady calls this "the Jacksonian physics of reality"), pressing his cause and enlivening the national debate.
Well written and well balanced, this is essential reading for students of contemporary American politics in this election year.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 6.54(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.75(d)
Meet the Author
A native South Carolinian, Marshal Frady has been a journalist for over twenty-five years, writing principally on political figures and racial and social tensions in the American culture, first as a correspondent for Newsweek, then for Life, Harper's, Esquire, The New York Review of Books, The Sunday Times (London), The Atlantic Monthly, and most recently The New Yorker. In the 1980's, he was chief writer and correspondent for ABC News Closeup and a correspondent for Nightline. He is the author of the acclaimed biographies Wallace and Billy Graham: A Parable of American Righteousness. He is currently at work on a novel.
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