Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

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Overview

New in paperback, this groundbreaking biography captures the full sweep and epic dimensions of Marcus Garvey's life, the dazzling triumphs and the dreary exile. As Grant shows, Garvey was a man of contradictions: a self-educated, poetry-writing aesthete and unabashed propagandist, an admirer of Lenin, and a dandy given to elaborate public displays. Above all, he was a shrewd promoter whose use of pageantry evoked a lost African civilization and fired the imagination of his followers. Negro With a Hat restores Garvey to his place as one of the founders of black nationalism and a key figure of the 20th century.

"A searching, vivid, and (as the title suggests) complex account of Garvey's short but consequential life."
—Steve Hahn, The New Republic

"The story of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic and tireless black leader who had a meteoric rise and fall in the late 1910s and early '20s, makes for enthralling reading, and Garvey has found an engaging and objective biographer in Colin Grant.... Grant's book is not all politics, ideology, money and lawsuits. It is also an engrossing social history.... Negro With a Hat is an achievement on a scale Garvey might have appreciated."
—New York Times Book Review

"Dazzling, definitive biography of the controversial activist who led the 1920s 'Back to Africa' movement.... Grant's learned passion for his subject shimmers on every page. A riveting and well-wrought volume that places Garvey solidly in the pantheon of important 20th-century black leaders."
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"This splendid book is certain to become the definitive biography. Garvey was a dreamer and a doer; Grant captures the fascination of both."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Grant's strength lies in his ability to re-create political moods and offer compelling sketches of colorful individuals and their organizations.... An engaging and readable introduction to a complicated and contentious historical actor who, in his time, possessed a unique capacity to inspire devotion and hatred, adulation and fear."
—Chicago Tribune

"A monumental, nuanced and broadly sympathetic portrait."
—Financial Times

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Negro With a Hat, he has produced a searching, vivid, and (as the title suggests) complex account of Garvey's short but consequential life."—Steve Hahn, The New Republic

"The story of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic and tireless black leader who had a meteoric rise and fall in the late 1910s and early '20s, makes for enthralling reading, and Garvey has found an engaging and objective biographer in Colin Grant.... Grant's book is not all politics, ideology, money and lawsuits. It is also an engrossing social history.... 'Negro With a Hat' is an achievement on a scale Garvey might have appreciated."—New York Times Book Review

"Dazzling, definitive biography of the controversial activist who led the 1920s "Back to Africa" movement.... Grant's learned passion for his subject shimmers on every page A riveting and well-wrought volume that places Garvey solidly in the pantheon of important 20th-century black leaders."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Dense with detail, but consistently readable, this splendid book is certain to become the definitive biography. Garvey was a dreamer and a doer; Grant captures the fascination of both."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Grant's strength lies in his ability to re-create political moods and offer compelling sketches of colorful individuals and their organizations.... Negro With a Hat is an engaging and readable introduction to a complicated and contentious historical actor who, in his time, possessed a unique capacity to inspire devotion and hatred, adulation and fear."—Chicago Tribune

"Grant's biography ably captures the Garvey moment, although, perhaps wisely, he leaves the many contradictions in Garvey's character unresolved."—The New Yorker

"Informative and fascinating, Grant's profile of Garvey is a vital contribution."—Booklist

"Grant...provides a monumental, nuanced and broadly sympathetic portrait.... Grant's book - his first - is a welcome and scholarly corrective."—Financial Times

"If a few blacks congregating on a street corner is still considered a threat to National Security, you can imagine the problems that Marcus Garvey encountered when he organized a whole bunch of them. Hounded by the Federal Government, the right, the left, the usual arm chair intellectuals and academics, Garvey found himself constantly under attack, yet, like the Napoleon, with whom some compared "The Man With A Hat," Garvey survived to fight on. He was also a prophet, predicting the day when KKK thinking would become mainstream. Colin Grant has not only written the best biography of one of the most fascinating persons of the 20th Century, but, for a historical work, an exciting read, part romance, part big screen political thriller."—Ishmael Reed

"...new, well-written biography.... Describing Garvey's rise and fall in great detail, the author writes a compelling narrative and places Garvey clearly within his time and place.... Grant's discussion of Garvey is rich and nuanced."—CHOICE

"Critics on both sides of the Atlantic seem to agree that this passionate and well-balanced work will go a long way to cementing Garvey's place among black historical figures."—Caribbean Beat

"Grant's book is a fine and valuable monument to his memory."—New Statesman

"Masterly ... [an] engrossing social history."—New York Times Book Review

"[A]n artful life story that should appeal to the general reader interested in Garvey and his movement. Grant has a sparkling prose style and an eye for the sorts of anecdotes that provide appropriate depth and context to the subject." — North Carolina Historical Review

"Synthesizing an incredible amount of scholarship, Grant has produced a portrait of Garvey which is richly detailed on both Garvey himself and his larger milieu...Grant offers a more detailed picture of Garvey's life than almost any previous biography." — African American Review

"[An] important new work...Grant has mined numerous primary and secondary sources to produce what will likely remain the definitive biography of Garvey for some time to come; scholars of African American history, the United States in the early twentieth century, and the African Diaspora will find this a richly rewarding work." —The Historian

"Contains long and well-crafted, occasionally lyrical, passages on Garvey's contemporaries and on the era as a whole....provides an entertaining introduction to Marcus Garvey's rise, struggles, and fall." — American Studies Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195367942
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/17/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Grant is an independent historian who works for BBC Radio. The son of Jamaican parents, he lives in London.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: A Premature Death
Chapter One: Bury the Dead and Take Care of the Living
Chapter Two: Almost an Englishman
Chapter Three: In the Company of Negroes
Chapter Four: An Ebony Orator in Harlem
Chapter Five: No Flag but the Stars and Stripes - and possibly the Union Jack
Chapter Six: If We Must Die
Chapter Seven: How to Manufacture a Traitor
Chapter Eight: Harlem Speaks for Scattered Ethiopia
Chapter Nine: Flyin' Home on the Black Star Line
Chapter Ten: A Star in the Storm
Chapter Eleven: He Who Plays the King
Chapter Twelve: Last Stop Liberia
Chapter Thirteen: Not to Mention his Colour
Chapter Fourteen: Behold the Demagogue or Misunderstood Messiah
Chapter Fifteen: Caging the Tiger
Chapter Sixteen: Into the Furnace
Chapter Seventeen: Silence Mr. Garvey
Chapter Eighteen: Gone to Foreign
Epilogue

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    Colin Grant brings fresh insight to the iconic Marcus Garvey

    Every once in a while, I come across a book which is a truly magnificient piece of work. Colin Grant's extensively researched and nuanced writing in 'Negro With a Hat', is up there, with the very best. Even more so when I realised that he is a first-time author. I'm convinced that he is a writer that we shall be hearing much more of. I've read many glowing reviews in the British press, but wanted to make up my own mind. As I understand it, this is the first biography on Garvey in decades. Grant skillfully demonstrates that, in order to understand Garvey, it is necessary to have an appreciation of the era in which he came to the forefront and complexities therein. I was stunned by the exciting, almost cinematic approach of 'Negro With a Hat' to this maddeningly complex character, Marcus Garvey. Grant's portrayal is lucid and intelligent and doesn't shy away from the questions that I and my friends have been asking for years - was Marcus Garvey a prophet or a fool? Grant clearly admires the great leader without playing down his foibles. His honest and compelling book is also accessible and deserves to be widely read. For those who relish a challenging read and want to be enlightened with a completely different perspective on Garvey, the man, this is a must-read. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    Enjoyed this book

    Marcus Garvey was a true hero of his people!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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