Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America

Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America

4.6 86
by Nathan McCall
     
 

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In this "honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America" (San Francisco Chronicle), Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall tells the story of his passage from the street and the prison yard to the newsroom of one of America's most prestigious papers. "A stirring tale of transformation."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New Yorker.… See more details below

Overview

In this "honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America" (San Francisco Chronicle), Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall tells the story of his passage from the street and the prison yard to the newsroom of one of America's most prestigious papers. "A stirring tale of transformation."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New Yorker.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
McCall's autobiography-a seven-week PW bestseller-tracks his trajectory from the streets of Portsmouth, Va., to prison, rehabilitation and a job at the Washington Post; features a new introduction by the author. (Feb.)
Library Journal
McCall pulls out all the stops to tell the story of his rise from poverty to success as a journalist at the Washington Post . He uses graphic language, blunt descriptions, honest expression, introspection, and careful observation to describe his early years in Portsmouth, Virgina, as a young black male, the recipient of a 12-year prison sentence for armed robbery, whose life was dangerously out of control. Insensitivity, alienation, racial hatred, drugs (especially crack), guns, rape, robbery, the black American as an endangered species--McCall covers it all in a depressing yet spellbinding documentary of a contemporary American problem so complex as to be almost intractable. The power of this strong narrative transcends McCall's personal struggle; each reader will ``wanna holler'' about the situation.-- Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
School Library Journal
YA-An autobiography that captures the pain, anger, and fierce determination of a black journalist writing today for the Washington Post. McCall's open and honest description of his life as a boy in a black neighborhood in Portsmouth, VA, his participation in violent criminal acts, and his eventual imprisonment for armed robbery seem somehow to be an expression of the rage of so many young people in America's urban areas. While imprisoned, he worked as inmate librarian and was so moved by Richard Wright's books that he became fascinated by the power of words and decided to become a writer. Though he's made a successful career against great odds, he makes it plain that he doesn't feel completely at ease with his peers in the establishment or those on the streets. His difficult story is told in such an immediate and compelling fashion that young people will be caught up in this strong narrative and gain real insight into McCall's growth and change and, thus, contemporary urban issues.-Patricia Noonan, Prince William Public Library, Manassas, VA
John Mort
One of the more harrowing passages of McCall's autobiography describes the practice of lulling teenaged girls into "trains," or gang bangs. But almost everything is harrowing in this story of a black man succeeding in a white world--rivalries among gangs, drug use, violent crime; even the efforts of a strong mother and stern stepfather, and the fact that McCall was a good student, were not enough to keep him out of prison. There he became a Christian, then a Muslim, all the while reading voraciously. He learned the printing trade and began to write. At last he returned to college, graduated, and made a steady, if tortuous, ascent to the "Washington Post". The latter portions of his book detail his attempts to come to terms with his destructive youth, whether it's through raising his son or looking up the victim of a train. He also comments on the ongoing newsroom wars between white men and white women--still another process, he feels, by which black journalists are excluded from real power. Despite McCall's success--and some celebrations of that success, as in his coverage of and travels with Andrew Young--this is no triumphant memoir. It's frustrated, angry, and worried, as if the story were far from complete. A good companion would be Jill Nelson's account of working at the "Post", "Volunteer Slavery".
From the Publisher
"Not since Claude Brown's Manchild in the Promised Land has there been such an honest and searching look at the perils of growing up a black male in urban America....A compelling depiction of the toll that racism and misguided notions of manhood have taken in the life of one black man—and, by implication, many others."—The San Francisco Chronicle

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780685678527
Publisher:
Random House, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/01/1994

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