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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Black History Nonfiction
“Black History Nonfiction” sounds so staid in view of the enlightening range of topics that fit under that umbrella, as evidenced in the outstanding books listed below, all reviewed in Booklist over the past year. Each title contains a wealth of information and, taken all together, the books provide a treasure trove most public libraries can’t do without.
American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. By Rachel L. Swarns. Amistad, $27.99 (9780061999864).
The threads of Michelle Obama’s genealogy are as tangled as those of most African Americans, and this book is a completely fascinating look at her complex ancestry.
The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom. By Marcus Rediker. Viking, $27.95 (9780670025046).
The author offers a totally enthralling account of the Amistad rebellion and its place in the broader story of revolt against the threat to liberty.
And Bid Him Sing: A Biography of Countée Cullen. By Charles Molesworth. Univ. of Chicago, $30 (9780226533643).
This scrupulous biography reconsiders Harlem Renaissance poet Countée Cullen and insists that his work be appreciated for its clarity of exposition and scholarly detail.
Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul. By Mark Bego. Skyhorse, paper, $16.95 (9781616085810).
The author’s thorough knowledge and unwavering enthusiasm in chronicling Franklin’s extraordinary career and shadowed life coalesce in a definitive and irresistible biography.
Barack Obama: The Story. By David Maraniss. Simon & Schuster, $32.50 (9781439160404).
In keeping with the notion that the past is never dead, Maraniss begins this nontraditional biography long before Obama was born and ends long before the most historic events of his life.
The Black Revolution on Campus. By Martha Biondi. Univ. of California, $34.95 (9780520269224).
Biondi reexamines the national cultural revolution of the 1960s with the actions of black college students at the core, offering a fresh perspective on the student protest era.
Black White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett. By William Swanson. Borealis, $24.95 (9780873518703).
A fascinating drama of crime and punishment based on the actual ambush and death of a St. Paul, Minnesota, patrolman, in 1970.
The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. By Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey. Univ. of North Carolina, $32.50 (9780807835722).
The authors trace the tangled history of religion and race in America, revealing how racial politics have affected religious practices.
Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson. By Barbara Ransby. Yale, $35 (9780300124347).
This is an astonishing biography of a woman until now best known for her marriage to her famous husband.
The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness. By Kevin Young. Graywolf, $25 (9781555976071).
In this poet’s first prose book, an expansive and radiantly interpretive exploration of “black creativity,” Young proves to be an exceptionally fluent critic.
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