Books Read in 2016: January

Some highlights of my reading this month. One-sentence reviews follow for each.

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Belknap, 2004)

After rereading this contemporary treatment of the Haitian Revolution to prepare a course on the topic, I was impressed again by the use of archival sources to weave a coherent, well-written, and comprehensive narrative.

Eddie Glaude, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul (Crown, 2016)

Purposely provocative and written for a wide audience, I was most impressed by Glaude’s critique and condemnation of the Black liberal establishment.

Lester Spence, Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics (Punctum, 2015)

An extension of his 2012 Souls article, Spence’s deft handling of neoliberalism makes it palatable and accessible by examining the ways it has infected Black churches, urban educational policy, and city governance.

Daniel Black, The Coming (St. Martin’s, 2015)

As I stated on Twitter, if Coltrane were a novelist this is what his work would look like–a seminal work on the spiritual meaning of forced migration.

Leah Wright-Rigueur, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton, 2015)

Reveals the history of modern (1936-1980) Black conservatism as mostly (though not exclusively) an attempt to stall the New Right’s lurch to the extreme fringe–its failure assuredly is meaningful for Black (neo)liberal politics.

Paul Frymer, Uneasy Alliances: Race and Party Competition in America (Princeton, 1999)

Explores the racist foundations of the two-party system, uncovering the flaws inherent in playing one party against the other in matters of racial justice.



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