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Black Like Me Mass Market Paperback – August 2, 2005


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Mass Market Paperback, August 2, 2005
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; 35th anniversary edition (August 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451192036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451192035
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Griffin's (The Devil Rides Outside) mid-century classic on race brilliantly withstands both the test of time and translation to audio format. Concerned by the lack of communication between the races and wondering what "adjustments and discriminations" he would face as a Negro in the Deep South, the late author, a journalist and self-described "specialist in race issues," left behind his privileged life as a Southern white man to step into the body of a stranger. In 1959, Griffin headed to New Orleans, darkened his skin and immersed himself in black society, then traveled to several states until he could no longer stand the racism, segregation and degrading living conditions. Griffin imparts the hopelessness and despair he felt while executing his social experiment, and professional narrator Childs renders this recounting even more immediate and emotional with his heartfelt delivery and skillful use of accents. The CD package includes an epilogue on social progress, written in 1976 by the author, making it suitable for both the classroom and for personal enlightenment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up-John Howard Griffin's groundbreaking and controversial novel about his experiences as a white man who transforms himself with the aid of medication and dye in order to experience firsthand the life of a black man living in the Deep South in the late 1950s is a mesmerizing tale of the ultimate sociological experiment. Ray Childs' narration is both straightforward and deeply satisfying. A skilled reader, he incorporates different dialects to help listeners distinguish among the various characters. His ability to convey a full spectrum of emotions, including exhilaration, bone deep sadness, and gut wrenching fear is riveting. Equally fascinating is Childs' description of how Griffin's unheard of approach to studying racial discrimination changed his personal life and ignited a storm of argument and discussion around the nation. This recording deserves a place in every public library collection.
Cindy Lombardo, Tuscarawas County Public Library, New Philadelphia, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Every high school and college student should read this book.
maxs grandma
Even more interesting than these experiences was the way in which Griffin was allowed to converse with blacks and whites on racial matters.
mwreview
I think that this was a good book for people to read because I feel like this man did a great thing.
DeNebra M. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Mike Christie on May 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I write this review I have my old copy of Black Like Me in front of me. It's a Panther paperback, printed in 1964, bought by my parents, and found by my sister and myself on their shelves a few years later. I can still remember the shock when I read this, at the age of perhaps eleven, at realizing just how inhuman people could be because of something as seemingly trivial as skin colour.
Griffin spent a little over a month--parts of November and December, 1959--with his skin artificially darkened by medication. In that time he traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, finding out at first hand what it is like to be treated as a second-class citizen--or, as he says, as a tenth-class citizen. Everyone now know the story of the big injustices, the lynchings, the civil rights cases, and for most people those are now just another page in the history text book. Griffin's experiences take the daily evils of racism and thrust them in your face, just as they were thrust in his--the rudeness of the clerk when he tried to pay for a train ticket with a big bill; the difficulty he had in finding someone who would cash a traveler's check for a Negro; the bus-driver who wouldn't let any blacks off the bus to use the restrooms; the white man who followed him at night and threatened to mug him.
I've heard people worry that this is the white experience of racism: that whites can read this book and feel good because a white person felt the pain too. I'm white, so I don't know that I can judge that argument completely impartially, but I can tell you that this book profoundly shaped my views on racism, and that any book that can do what this book did for me is a book that is good to have around.
One more thing.
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By mwreview on October 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Howard Griffin offered one of the most important contributions to the Civil Rights movement when his work Black Like Me was published in 1960. Griffin approached his study on race relations in the South by asking a very poignant question: "If a white man became a Negro in the Deep South, what adjustments would he have to make?." To answer this question, Griffin shaved his head and had his skin temporarily darkened by medical treatments and stain in order to travel through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia as a black man.

Griffin had a deep understanding of discrimination even before he began this ambitious project. As a medic in the French Resistance Army, Griffin helped evacuate Austrian Jews away from the advancing Nazis. During the Second World War, Griffin lost his sight and was forced to live with this disability for over ten years. By 1959, Griffin was a published author and a specialist on race relations. Despite such credentials Griffin "really knew nothing of the Negro's real problem." Only by becoming black did Griffin understand what it was like to live as a second class citizen in "the land of the free."
As a black man, Griffin described the variations and similarities of race relations in different areas of the South. Although some states were more "enlightened" than others, blatant acts of racism were found almost everywhere Griffin went.
In Alabama, where Martin Luther King first introduced passive resistance, Griffin endured the hate stares from whites and observed that even graduates from Tuskegee Institute would not be allowed to climb the social ladder in the South because, "whites cannot lose to a traditionally servant class.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By thepaxdomini on December 9, 2007
Format: Unknown Binding
Originally published in 1961, Black Like Me is the account of how white journalist John Howard Griffin had his skin medically darkened and traveled through the Deep South as a black man in an attempt to explain the hardships black people in the South faced. It also covers the backlash against the publication of his story.

Black Like Me is a concise, fast and engaging read. The reader is often able to see things through Griffin's eyes, even as Griffin tries to see things through the eyes of others. He does an excellent job communicating the cultures of fear and despair he encountered. The entire account of his travels as a black man is riveting.

If there is any nit-picking to be done, let it be for this: at times, particularly early on, Griffin's descriptions of mundane, everyday objects and details seem forced and do not aid the narrative.

While today's racial tensions are much less overt (and much less publicized), Black Like Me still has quite a bit to say about the universal elements of human nature and the culture of racism.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are only a few books that have really given me a deeper understanding into the issues of the world around us. This book is one of them.

John Howard Griffin penetrates into a world that seems almost beyond belief and yet is undeniably and startlingly real. Realizations await on every page to show that the generally sheltered cultural perspective of the typical white (like myself) could not conceive the situation which confronted blacks in the south every day just a very few years ago -- as experienced by a white man who changed his skin color and dealt with the consequences.

The book is made even better by a series of stories about his experiences after returning to the world of caucausions and going on the lecture circuit about the plight of blacks in the south. He demonstrates the rationalization and close mindedness that characterizes even those who consider themselves "good people".

This book would probably be too much to accept if not for the authors remarkably unassuming and explanatory style. Rarely has such a sore subject been confronted so directly and yet so plainly.

Highly recommended. I keep having to buy new copies because people will read a few pages and want a copy.
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