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[Raising Cain] is a bravura performance, an astounding feat of intellectual detective work that—at its best—reassembles the world in new ways that challenge our assumptions...It's always provocative, as when Lhamon finds evidence of awareness of blackface minstrelsy in works like Benito Cereno, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Martin Delaney's novel Blake...Connections between the past and the present are no less provocative. Lhamon invokes Al Jolson, rock-and-roll, Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Norman Mailer, Bob Dylan, M.C. Hammer (remember him?) and even talk shows and stand-up comedy as substitutes for vaudeville, claiming all descend from blackface performance...This is a rich and enduring work, a secret history of how the world we live in came to be.
— David Nicholson