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Posted September 11, 2003
Lewis's illuminating double-volume biography on the exceptional historian, literary artist, and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois is one of the most fascinating and informative in all American letters. It's a literary treasure in a class in which few biographies may be placed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2002
Thus was to be my introduction to Du Bois, but it was stillborn. The book was intimidating in that it uses words not used by the educated public and sentence structures that are fit for academic journals. Also, there was rarely a description of the background to the event being discusses. And this was only the first chapter. I gave up in the second chapter. I felt guilty and stupid, so I looked at the review on the B&N site. There was no review by a typical reader. I quote parts of the review by Anthony C. Davis - Black Issues Book Review ¿If all it took was in depth research to make a best seller, then this book would be in the top ten. However, one might ask if yet another book on Du Bois is what today's black reader is clamoring for¿. Written in an almost clinical style, it is not for the casual Du Bois fan.¿Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2001
There were few americans of any hue who led a life as filled with encounters with destiny as did W.E.B. DuBois. David Levering Lewis's tour de force on this pioneering African American Civil Rights Leader's first fifty years earned him the Pulitzer for Biography in 1995. And remarkable as it may seem, the second installment, which covers the final 45 years of his life is an even more compelling story. DuBois who was born aourn the time of Andrew Johnson''s impeachment (1868), and died the morning of the 1963 March on Washington, found himself, at age 50 undersiege by the very people he believed ready and willing to take the matle of leadership from DuBois and his sometime nemesis Booker T. Washington. Instead, this 'talented tneth', as DuBois dubbed them, found themselves mired in in-fighting, and often grappling not for equality or civil rights, but often for lesser gains. and even when they were fighting for civil rights gains, they marginalized DuBois, much as he had been by his white counterparts decades earlier. Lewis weaves a story which such grace and power, that it is difficult to not react to things which happened 70 or more years ago. W.E.B. DuBois was a complicated man: he fought fiercely for womens rights, yet subjugated his wife and daughter to subordinate roles, while having numerous adulterous affairs. He was a pioneering pan-Africanist who was almost blindly continental. He was an asiduous researcher and intellectual who wrote some of the most insightful and prophetic political works of the 20th century, yet could be given to trust the most unsavory characters who were subtile enough to lather him with a compliment. Lewis deals with all these personalities, with delicacy, without mincing words or side stepping criticism of his subject. This biography is more than 600 pages long, with an additional 100 plus more in notes - Lewis has, as in all his previous works researched every conceivable angle - yet, I can guarantee that when you complete the book, you will wish, as DuBois had planned, that he'd lived another 20 or 30 years to give you more. If the literary Gods are just, when Pulitzer time rolls around again, David Levering Lewis's named will be called to claim his prize!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2010
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