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Black Cracker Paperback – March 3, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Wyatt Doyle Books/New Texture (March 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615354173
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615354170
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,265,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In 1987, writer-guitarist Josh Alan Friedman sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads (the Crossroads of the World--Broadway & 42nd Street) and moved to Texas. He'd just written TALES OF TIMES SQUARE, a cult classic. An Expanded Edition with new chapters was recently released, while the still-unfinished movie of TALES has played 35 film festivals. Josh's latest book is BLACK CRACKER, the story of his tumultuous childhood as the only white boy at Long Island's last segregated school. In 2008: TELL THE TRUTH UNTIL THEY BLEED: COMING CLEAN IN THE DIRTY WORLD OF BLUES AND ROCK 'N' ROLL. Before that: WHEN SEX WAS DIRTY; I, GOLDSTEIN: MY SCREWED LIFE (with Al Goldstein); NOW DIG THIS: THE UNSPEAKABLE WRITINGS OF TERRY SOUTHERN (co-editor). Josh also set off satirical fires and lawsuits as writer-half of the Friedman Bros, the most feared cartooning duo of the late '70s and '80s. Two anthologies remain in print, featuring the art of Josh's brother, Drew Friedman: WARTS AND ALL, and ANY SIMILARITY TO PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL. On the music front, as "Josh Alan," he barnstormed the state of Texas for 20 years, rocking whole arenas with his Guild D-40. Copping three DALLAS OBSERVER Music Awards for Best Acoustic Act, he released four albums: FAMOUS & POOR, THE WORST!, BLACKS 'N' JEWS (the title of which became a documentary on Josh's life) and JOSH ALAN BAND.

More About the Author

In 1987, writer-guitarist Josh Alan Friedman sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads (the Crossroads of the World--Broadway & 42nd Street) and moved to Texas. He'd just written TALES OF TIMES SQUARE (Feral House), a cult classic. An Expanded Edition with new chapters was recently released, while the still-unfinished movie of TALES has played 35 film festivals.

Josh's latest book is BLACK CRACKER (Wyatt Doyle Books), the story of his tumultuous childhood as the only white boy at Long Island's last segregated school.

In 2008, Josh released TELL THE TRUTH UNTIL THEY BLEED: COMING CLEAN IN THE DIRTY WORLD OF BLUES AND ROCK 'N' ROLL (Backbeat Books). Before that: WHEN SEX WAS DIRTY (Feral House); I, GOLDSTEIN: MY SCREWED LIFE (with Al Goldstein); and NOW DIG THIS: THE UNSPEAKABLE WRITINGS OF TERRY SOUTHERN (co-editor).

Josh also set off satirical fires and lawsuits as writer-half of the Friedman Bros, the most feared cartooning duo of the late '70s and '80s. Two anthologies remain in print, featuring the art of Josh's brother, Drew Friedman: WARTS AND ALL (Fantagraphics), and ANY SIMILARITY TO PERSONS LIVING OR DEAD IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL (Fantagraphics).

On the music front, as "Josh Alan," he barnstormed the state of Texas for 20 years, rocking whole arenas with his Guild D-40. Copping three Dallas Observer Music Awards for Best Acoustic Act, he released four albums: FAMOUS & POOR, THE WORST!, BLACKS 'N' JEWS (the title of which became a documentary on Josh's life) and JOSH ALAN BAND.

Josh shares new work and selections from his archives - articles, photos, music and video - on his website, www.BlackCrackerOnline.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Friedman is one of our great American storytellers.
Flickhead
Oh, and Leroi Jones... oops, I mean Amiri Baraka... might as well make room on the bench, too.
Richard Jaccoma
The story is compelling, the writing is vivid, the characters are endearing.
Bettie C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B Elizando on March 23, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A historical and personal autobigraphy of an atypical "white boy" in late 50's Long Island. Intentionally or not, Friedman's parents- hip, successful, and often-absent- enroll him in the last of the N.Y. segregated public schools, possibly because the only private schools available were Catholic. (Given what we now know, a wise choice.) The hapless kid uses his innate ability to adapt and even flourish among impoverished, often angry, black kids and their families during the volatile times of forced integration. Bizarre stories, unbelievable at times, with historical context provided. More a collection of individual experiences, Friedman painstakingly uses the accurate vernacular and pronunciation of the participants, to excellent effect. Raw, edgy, hilarious and often scary recollections. A slice of 60's America heretofore largely unspoken. Highly recommended. Would make a great movie, think Mad Men or Revolutionary Road.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Reavill on April 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
White kids who thought they were black. Some people used to call them "zebraheads," but they are known by a lot of other names, too, including the titular handle of Josh Alan Friedman's "autobiographical novel." Those easily offended by uppity black crackers beware, but for everyone else, this book dishes up laugh-out-loud responses on every page. Thrill to the stories of "Jock" Friedman's race-mixing childhood, when his benighted elders dispatched him to the last segregated elementary school on Long Island -- an experiment in politically motivated childrearing that had confusing, strange and hilarious results. At Glen Cove's South school in 1962, Josh was one of two white enrollees, soon enough to be the only one. Multiple beatings, intense friendships and Saroyan-level human comedy followed. The indelible characters of Friedman's childhood will forever live for anyone lucky enough to grab a copy of Black Cracker. In between the laughs there are some moments of nostalgic sadness for a bygone universe, and an increased respect for the bewildering varieties of human experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bettie C. on March 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really didn't know what to expect when I started reading Black Cracker, but from the first chapter I was hooked. The story is compelling, the writing is vivid, the characters are endearing. Once I started, I couldn't put the book down. I laughed out loud at many things in the book but was very touched by moments as well. While the book deals with race relations and segregation in schools, it was not at all heavy-handed. In fact, race was kind of in the background for me. It's the characters themselves who drive the story. No one is all good or all evil. The characters here are portrayed as we really are, human.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Flickhead on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Black Cracker
When I closed the back cover on Josh Alan Friedman's Black Cracker, I couldn't help but wonder why this wasn't on the list of ten best books for absolutely every literary critic out there.
How this hasn't been embraced by the McSweeny's crowd is staggering.

Friedman is one of our great American storytellers. His textural brilliance is overshadowed only by his earnest humor. The tale he has woven from actual events in his own life is at times hilarious, heart-breaking, terrifying and triumphant. Growing up the only white kid in the last segregated school on Long Island is as unique an experience as one is ought to document, but the author makes his autobiography not only highly relatable, but universal. His fondness for the past is not rose-colored, it's honest. The frank and accurate language of the day is likely to ruffle a few feathers, but the integrity of Josh's conviction champions the truth above all other things, and he's a better writer for it. If that's not a cause célèbre, I don't know what is.

Part Mark Twain and part Jean Shepherd, Black Cracker is a modern Tom Sawyer as envisioned by Mel Brooks. If you don't own this book, you should. If you don't want to buy it for yourself, buy it for that friend or loved one seeking a story that connects on a human level without the weighty melodrama of an Oprah Book Club selection.
Just make sure you read it before you give it to them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Murphy on July 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I too have been a long time fan of Josh Alan Friedman's writing. I've read several of his books and loved them. I knew nothing of the content of Black Cracker until my copy came to me in the mail. I'll tell you folks I was blown away. While reading the book I laughed out loud many times, something that's rare for me. The sincerity and humor of Freidman's childhood memoir has utterly blown me away and I would recommend this book to one and all!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Donahue on June 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It blows my mind that this story is so recent--it occasionally reads like something that might have been set 100 years ago. It's an effective reminder of the stasis of poverty. You might not think a book that deals so boldly and honestly with so deep a national wound as racism could be so entertaining. The keen, innocent eye that guides the story manages to take a pretty harrowing situation and infuse it with a real sweetness. The pace never falters and before you know it, you are full of indelible images from "Jock's" childhood that will do that thing that the best books do: change the way you look at the world around you.
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