My friend over at the Anxiety of Influence blog recently wrote a piece addressing the Trouble with Amazon. Moreover, he went on to state:
Admittedly, I buy almost all of my books from Amazon.com. Their low prices combined with quick shipping, great review features, and their handy Wish List make book shopping from my desk easy, fast, and–most importantly for me–reasonably affordable. Rarely, unless it’s the new DeLillo novel, will I buy a book new. For the most part, good quality used books can be purchased through Amazon’s site from other vendors that also benefit from Amazon’s ubiquity in the book market. With that, I border-line covet the Kindle (but I’m resisting for now) and am curious what the company will unveil next.
Above: Books from Amazon (not all) at home and on campus
I too like Amazon; however, only if I know exactly what work(s) I am looking to study. Specialty books of an academic nature are best here. But, if I am in the mood to peruse or purchase mainstream books, then I seek to visit book stores. Yesterday I shopped Amazon for a few works to add to my library.
My friend Phil suggested Glenda Gilmore’s Defying Dixie, which I found of interest from this review:
Two characters in her narrative particularly stand out. The first is Lovett Fort-Whiteman, a Dallas-born graduate of Tuskegee Institute who was one of the first blacks recruited into the American Communist Party. Dispatched soon afterward to Moscow as part of an official delegation, he lectured about race discrimination in the United States to an audience that included Joseph Stalin. In the style of many radicals of the era, he became a thorough Russophile: in Gilmore’s marvelous account, he walks down a street in a black neighborhood in Chicago greeting friends shortly after his return from his pilgrimage to Moscow, sporting a robochka — a Russian peasant blouse — as well as “knee-high felt boots and a small mustache.” Fort-Whiteman was instrumental in pushing American Communists to broaden their concept of class struggle to include the fight against racism. In the 1930s he moved permanently to Moscow, married a Russian woman and entertained black visitors who had come to see the vaunted Soviet experiment in action. Like many foreign Communists living in Moscow in that era, he ran afoul of the secret police, and died of starvation and mistreatment in a labor camp in 1939. (view the review here)
#2 Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement by Patricia Sullivan
Ten years in the making, Lift Every Voice is the first major history of America’s oldest civil rights organization and destined to be a classic in the field. Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) got its start as an elite organization dominated by white reformers at a time when segregation had triumphed in the South and the color line was tightening its hold in the North. By the end of World War I, the NAACP had become a mass-black membership organization reaching from Boston to Los Angeles and into the Mississippi Delta; after World War II, it had become synonymous with the freedom movement itself. Historian Patricia Sullivan unearths the little-known early decades of the NAACP’s activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkins. The book then moves into the critical postwar era, when, with a string of legal victories culminating in Brown v. Board, the NAACP knocked out the legal underpinnings of the segregation system and set the stage for the final assault on Jim Crow. An epic narrative of struggle against injustice, Lift Every Voice lays a new foundation for understanding the modern civil rights movement.
#3 Delaying the Dream: Southern States and the Fight against Civil Rights, 1938 – 1965 by Keith Finley
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of academic interest in white southern opposition to the civil rights movement. Historians such as David Chappell, George Lewis, and Jeff Woods have enriched our understanding of what southern whites were and, just as significantly, were not able and willing to do to defend Jim Crow. Keith M. Finley adds a new dimension to this scholarship in his fine study of southern senators’ efforts to curtail federal civil rights legislation
#4 Hammer and Hoe by Robin D.G. Kelley (already read and own). See post on Black Communist for this review.