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Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0810125940
ISBN-10: 0810125943
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Editorial Reviews


"Fascinating history with a resonance that far exceeds the experience of the Black Mountaineers themselves."—Newsweek

"Reading the book, it is hard to imagine how it might have been done more intelligently."—Catharine R. Stimpson, The Nation

"[Black Mountain] leaps beyond the discipline of history in its significance . . . Henceforth debates about the relation between historian and sources will have to take account of this radically new model for doing history."—Jesse Lemisch, New York Times Book Review

About the Author

 Martin Duberman is distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the City University of New York. He is the author of some twenty books, including Charles Francis Adams (winner of the Bancroft Prize); James Russell Lowell (finalist for the National Book Award); Paul Robeson (winner of the George Freedley Memorial Award); Left Out: The Politics of Exclusion, Essays 1964-2002; The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein (finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Biography); and Cures: A Gay Man’s Odyssey. His recent novel Haymarket has been published in several languages, and his play In White America won the Drama Desk Award. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press (March 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810125943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810125940
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By on February 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
Needing guidance on how to lead an artist's community, I discovered this rare and remarkable book. It takes you inside an intentional community, one better known for its mythology than for its reality, and shows you the birth, growth and death of an ideal. Unlike other books on similar subjects, it is never trivial or purely ancedotal -- every paragraph reveals something fundamental about the struggles, passions, successes and failures that are part of inventing a community. There are moments in this book that are so profoundly true -- I know this because I recognize them from my own similar experiences. I respect Duberman's perceptions and his deep emotional attachment to the subject (someday I hope to thank the author personally as this book has made a positive difference in my life and the development of my community). I recommend this as a textbook for those thinking of starting an artist's community.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Duberman's classic "Black Mountain" is the definitive work of scholarship on the school that gave America its most pivotal and influential artists of the 20th century.

A sheer joy to read, this account of the rise and fall of Black Mountain engages the reader into a world of ideas, community and art that is all too rare in today's considerations.
Teachers can learn how to Teach and Do at the same time. Students can learn the meaning of involvement, responsibility and creativity. Parents might learn a thing or two about choices. And administrators will see where they've gone wrong.
Something for nearly everyone in this erudite, and poignant dissertation.

If there was one idea that pervades the book, and, indeed, pervaded the college it was that "living" and "learning" should be intertwined, and a favorite slogan at Black Mountain was that "as much real education took place over the coffee cups as in the classrooms."

There is much that we all can learn from this account. But read it for the adventure! Think of it as a sort of Intellectual Indiana Jones where the treasure is that harmonious mix of education, art, community and life -- in other words, the very gem that these brave and gifted women and men of eminence sought at Black Mountain.

We owe these pioneers a great deal.

Honor them with your mind, and read this wondrous account by one of Black Mountain's own.

Dave Beckwith


Charlotte Internet Society
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Bromberg on May 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
With exceptional research, interviews and anecdotes, Duberman details the brief, lively history of Black Mountain College in western North Carolina. The influence of this experimental community continues to the present (the faculty and alumni included Anna and Josef Albers, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Jonathan Williams, among many others). The struggle to keep the College fiscally solvent from year-to-year, as often happens at any instution, becomes paramount to the story, but doesn't detract from the intellectual achievement of Black Mountain -- or diminish the artistic clashes of its participants. In the 1970s, the founding of the Naropa Institute, the Jack Kerouac School of Disemobodied Poetics, and other experiments in community would find echoes in the history of Black Mountain College. This is an entertaining and informative history, and essential reading for anyone interested in mid-20th century literature and art.
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