On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance

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Overview

From 1920 to 1940, the Harlem Renaissance produced a bright beacon of light that paved the way for African-Americans all over the country. The unapologetic writings of W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, the fervent fiction and poetry of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, the groundbreaking art of Aaron Douglas and William H. Johnson, and the triumphant music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong gave voice and expression to the thoughts and emotions that Jim Crow ...
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On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance

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Overview

From 1920 to 1940, the Harlem Renaissance produced a bright beacon of light that paved the way for African-Americans all over the country. The unapologetic writings of W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, the fervent fiction and poetry of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, the groundbreaking art of Aaron Douglas and William H. Johnson, and the triumphant music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong gave voice and expression to the thoughts and emotions that Jim Crow segregation laws had long sought to stifle.

In On the Shoulders of Giants, indomitable basketball star and bestselling author and historian Kareem Abdul-Jabbar invites the reader on an extraordinarily personal journey back to his birthplace, through one of the greatest political, cultural, literary, and artistic movements in our history, revealing the tremendous impact the Harlem Renaissance had on both American culture and his own life. Beginning with the rise of the Harlem Rens as pioneers of professional basketball, Kareem traces the many streams of historical influence that converged to create the man he is today—the NBA's all-time leading scorer and a veritable African-American icon.

Travel deep into the soul of the Renaissance—to the night clubs, restaurants, basketball games, and fabulous parties that have made footprints in Harlem's history. Meet the athletes, jazz musicians, comedians, actors, politicians, entrepreneurs, and writers who not only inspired Kareem's rise to greatness but an entire nation's.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was born in the midst of a cultural reawakening, carried on the shoulders of athletes trying to prove there was a lot more at stake than a ball game, men and women who made music that could break your heart, and writers and intellectuals who gave voice to not just the ideals of a movement but the raw emotions. Kareem tells what it took to get these revolutionaries to Harlem and how they changed the world. A world that is still riding on the shoulders of giants.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Brace yourself for one of the most unconventional sports memoirs of all time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is, of course, one of the greatest basketball players in history; in fact, the highest scorer in NBA annals. But this book is less about the on court career of the 19-time All-Star than about the influences that shaped him as a person. In particular, he cites the seminal ideas and practices of the Harlem Renaissance. For Kareem, the Renaissance was not simply a literary movement; it was a wellspring of political, cultural, musical, and, yes, sports activism and affirmation. On the Shoulders of Giants includes interview excerpts from Magic Johnson, Quincy Jones, James Earl Jones, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jay-Z, and others.
Michiko Kakutani
In On the Shoulders of Giants, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continues his intriguing evolution from iconic professional athlete to astute cultural historian. By mixing personal anecdotes with traditional research and reporting, he acts as a knowledgeable, passionate tour guide through the artistic and social history of one America's most dynamic creative eras.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
Not about basketball: how the Harlem Renaissance changed America and -Abdul-Jabbar himself. Look for the accompanying documentary by Spike Lee. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Richard Allen's voice has both gravitas and a conversational quality.... Allen's voice also reflects the love Abdul-Jabbar has for his subject." —-AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416534891
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 291,116
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is recognized by Sports Illustrated and Time magazine as history's greatest basketball player.

Raymond Obstfeld is an associate professor of English at Orange Coast College.

Richard Allen is a five-time Audie-nominated narrator whose work has been acknowledged on the Best Audiobooks Lists for Audiofile and Library Journal.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Amazing

    If you want to learn about this this is a great book for you

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    For anyone interested in the Harlem Renaissance, this is a very comprehensive book. Before reading this book, I honestly was unsure that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could deliver. I only knew him as the great basketball player that he was. Deliver he does -- this is a must have book with great insightfulness to the period.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

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    Posted July 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews

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