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Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: SmileyBooks; First Edition edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401921892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401921897
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important public intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice, and the New York Times bestseller Democracy Matters. He is the recipient of the American Book Award and holds more than 20 honorary degrees.

Award-winning writer David Ritz is the co-author of the autobiographies of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and B.B. King.


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Customer Reviews

This book is one of his greatest!
William A. James
This memoir is lively and engaging, and gives us a personal glimpse into the true nature of this amazing man.
D. C. Thompson
May your light continue to shine and guide others!
Marie Antionette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By soulonice on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those four words help me sum up someone I hold in extremely high regard. Dr. West's memoir has many lessons to be taken; self-discovery, education, community, and living for a purpose. It's amazing to see a person such as him struggle with portions of his being, which to me, only contributes to his importance, simply because you'll see pieces of yourself in this book. Even with those questions he has of himself, you'll see a degree of self-esteem and self-love, as well as love for others, that's simply remarkable.

There are parts in here that will make you laugh, such as the encounter he had with Amiri Baraka, or the time he took his folks to hear Eldridge Cleaver speak; he talks about his highly-publicized disagreements with Lawrence Summers in vivid detail. He even talks about his appearance, and why he chooses to wear his attire we've come to known him associated with: three-piece suit, tie, scarf, with the big 'ol afro. All of it brings a range of emotions, and it was a pleasure being exposed to them.

By his own admission, he is a bluesman, a man who loves hard, speaks truth, questions unapologetically, and a servant of the people. He truly, unequivocally loves all people. Music has shaped, and continues to shape and contribute to, his daily being. Most importantly, he remains a child of God, something he holds near and dear, and at the forefront of everything he does and all everything that he's about.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By P.D.B. on September 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir by the legendary Dr. Cornel West opened my eyes to the life of one of the people that I admire most in the field of higher education. West unapologetically laid his accomplishments, failures, joy, and pain out for the world to see in black and white. After reading about West's journey from a hot tempered youth to becoming one of the leading educators, writers, and lecturers in the American academy I was left feeling inspired and encouraged to follow my own "calling." The book was very motivational and I recommend it to anyone who is looking to read a story about what "could be" if you work hard enough for it .
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Cornel West's books are approaching mediocrity. His earlier works were deep, philosophical, and serious. But his recent works are just collections of anecdotes that skim the important issues.

LIVING AND LOVING OUTLOUD is full of unnecessary name-dropping. I think it's great that Dr. West appreciates the works of other writers, but he doesn't go into any detail when he compares himself to Proust or Pound. He annoyingly compares himself to a "Bluesman" throughout the book, but it doesn't add anything but filler. He makes some references to the "Bluesmen" being downtrodden, always on the move, unloved, etc. But how is his life anything like that? He says his ex-wives have taken all his money, but how could he be "homeless" or "broke" when he gets $5000 for a lecture? He says he let his wife "Eleni" divorce him and sue him for all he's worth, but then he says "I let her." Now whose fault is that? This "Bluesman" comparison sounds more ike self-pity.

I'm giving this book two stars because there are some great topics here. He has a chapter on his childhood, his conflict with the Black Muslims, his fued with Lawrence Summers. But then he starts skimming; he gives a small anecdote about his relationship with a Turkish woman and their daughter, then a self-pitying story about her demands for child support. But he mentions that she and their daughter live in Germany, he flies over every six weeks, they have "long walks by the Rhine". I'd be interested in learning more about this; how does the life of a Black-American-Turk in Germany compare to how her life would be in the USA? Does she get treated differently at school in Germany because of her color? Does this tri-racial kid have any identity issues? How does Dr. West compare life in Germany to life in the USA?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James M. Denson on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since I like Cornel West, and am inspired by him and his work; it was a given that I would have good things to say about his memoir: Brother West:Living and Loving Out Loud. I do like the book:very much. The best thing about it is that it chronicles his development to a point he may not have expected to land in life.

His self-description as "a jazz man in the life of the mind, and a blues man in the world of ideas" is a colorful way to sum up the fact that he has uniquely taken the mantle of Martin Luther King. In his speeches and other public appearances, West lovingly bears witness to the pain and struggles of the poor and disposessed; and relentlessly challenges
us to be our best selves all the time. Said another way: West, like King, can walk with crowds and keep his virtues, and talk with kings, but not lose the common touch. All people seemed to count with them, but none too much. How easy it would've been for King and West to rest on their academic laurels, and retreat to the ivory tower. Each chose the opposite path, and we are all the better for it. Both King and West belong to all of us. This is probably part of the reason that West's most intimate personal relationships have been so painful for him.

I hear those who say the book is shallow in places-especially the little he actually writes about his own son, and their relationship. It's not necessarily a weakness of the book, though. It's just West's recognition of his own human frailty; and that he is work in progress. West's letter to his children late in the book is deeply moving.

This book is an important reminder that the people we grow up with and befriend; and the music and books we gravitate to are not just personal window dressing. They actually can shape lives in ways we never imagined. For that, I thank brother West.
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