The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America

The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America

by Hugh Pearson

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The first complete and balanced history of the Black Panther Party  See more details below


The first complete and balanced history of the Black Panther Party

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a devastating, compelling inside look at the Black Panthers, the militant party launched in 1966 that preached armed resistance to white racism and police brutality, Pacific News Service editor Pearson challenges the view that the Panthers were destroyed by a conspiracy of police informants and FBI agents provocateurs. The author, who is African American, extensively interviewed party veterans and their associates, concluding that the Panthers' downfall was due primarily to internal corruption, factionalism and the criminal behavior of members. Party cofounder Huey Newton, murdered in West Oakland, Calif., in 1989, was, by this account, a longtime severe cocaine and alcohol addict who siphoned off many of the funds earmarked for free breakfast programs, schools and clinics. Pearson charges that Newton organized hit squads to engage in wanton murder, while his elite cadre of enforcers shook down local businesses for contributions and extorted money from pimps and drug dealers. This often shocking report, which opens with a masterful chronicle of the civil rights movement, strips away nostalgic myths surrounding the Panthers. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal
Pearson, a Pacific News Service editor and writer, critically reassesses the Black Panther Party and its leader Huey Newton in relation to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the struggle against racism, and the American political left. From interviews with former Panthers and other sources, Pearson narrates the party's rise in articulating the aspirations of inner-city black Americans and its self-destructive fall, including Newton's cocaine addiction and drug deal death. Pearson depicts the party at its best (e.g., free breakfast and medical programs) and its worst (e.g., misogyny and gangsterism). Along with recent works by former Panthers David Hilliard (This Side of Glory, LJ 1/93) and Elaine Brown (A Taste of Power, LJ 12/92), this book is recommended for public and academic libraries.-Charles L. Lumpkins, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., Pa.
Pearson (Pacific News Service) offers a history of the Black Panthers and an account of the rise and fall of Huey Newton. He traces the development of the civil rights movement from the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping-Car Porters in the 1920s through the leadership of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and demonstrates how Newton's personal conflicts mirrored those of the Black Panther Party. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Product Details

Da Capo Press
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Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.14(h) x 1.06(d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Pearson is currently an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Essence, and other publications. A graduate of Brown University, he lives in New York City.

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