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Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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 more than 20 honorary degrees.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401921868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401921866
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and obtained his MA and PhD in philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary (where he has recently returned to teach), Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Paris. He has written nineteen books and edited thirteen books. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, published by Beacon Press in 1993. His latest books are Black Prophetic Fire, which offers a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders (Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells) and The Radical King, a collection of MLK's writings curated and introduced by Prof. West to reclaim Dr. King's prophetic and radical vision as both a civil rights leader and--more broadly--as a human right activist. Both books were published by Beacon Press.

Cornel West appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN and C-SPAN, and he makes numerous appearances speaking to audiences large and small on subjects ranging from racial justice and queer rights to climate justice. Prof. West has appeared in over twenty-five documentaries and films, including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk, and Stand. He has also made three spoken-word albums, including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and the late Gerald Levert. His recent spoken-word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard's Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best jazz album of the year for 2009).

He has recently been deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter protests and was among those arrested in Ferguson in 2015. Cornel West has a passion to communicate in writings and orations, through music and film, and in solidarity with groups and faith communities committed to justice in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.--a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

Photo credit Sigrid Estrada.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before I state what Hope On A Tightrope: Words and Wisdom by Dr. Cornel West is, let me begin by stating what it is not. Although this book has 12 chapters, titles ranging from Courage, Philosophy, Family to Music, Freedom and Wisdom, to name a few, this is not a book in the traditional sense; certainly not like Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism or Race Matters. It reads, as the subtitle alludes, as though one is reading excerpts from Dr. West's speeches. Having seen and heard Dr. West on a number of occasions, I recognize the many Westian core concepts included in this book and it may seem all too familiar to you as well.

That said, Dr. West is still an educator and a leading authority on faith, freedom and justice, particularly as it relates to the African-American community. His insights are, as usual, critical, coherent and profound. Anyone who has not had the opportunity to partake in any his words of wisdom would find this book enlightening.

A couple of final thoughts: This book was released on Nov. 1st, 2008 and in it there are references to Barack Obama as a candidate for President of the United States. I believe better timing of the book's release (delaying to a later date) and having Dr. West speaking from the view point of Barack Obama winning the general election would have been worthwhile. Secondly, the companion CD which contains an interview facilitated by Tavis Smiley along with couple of musical selections from Dr. West's ventures in spoken word, seems by itself worthy of the book's retail price. The fact that the CD is included with the book is a bonus.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unbelievably touching and down to earth, Dr. West is able to restore true love in our hearts living in a rough world. At the height of academic and philosophical excellence, Dr. West graces us with his wisdom on a variety of topics, ranging from Faith, to Family, to Music, and to Philosophy; all respectable chapters in this life-changing book.

Give it a read, you will not be the least bit disappointed with his work.

Then again, what's new? All his literature is fascinating and real. Plus, the book comes with an audio CD in the back with a fantastic interview between Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West.
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Format: Hardcover
Now, in truth, I've read a lot of Dr. West, mostly in college. While I've always respected his work and have been deeply effected by what he's written, I have to admit that I've enjoyed seeing him speak live and whenever he's been on shows like Bil Maher's the most.

This newest work is the first time a Cornel West book has come as close to "the real thing." This isn't "Democracy Matters" or "Race Matters", nor is it his more academic text. The book really gives bite-sized gems of Dr. West's brilliance, without sacrificing any of the impact or depth. The scope of what's covered goes across all of Dr. West's subject matter so, whether you love seeing him on late-night TV or have digested all of his academic text, you have points of entry. Definitely suggest this as a gift for anyone looking for a little inspiration this holiday season.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this edition, starting with the included CD interview of West by Tavis Smiley, West challenges us to bring ourselves to a higher level, to become the difference, to not depend on recent elections or change, but to become the change . . . instead of looking for another Martin Luther King, Jr. . . .strive for the higher level as an individual. West's challenging us to think outside of the box, doesn't allow for lazy minds. Cornell West, is himself an icon for social justice and inspires all those who read Hope on a Tightrope to join him in the journey. Hope on a Tightrope is a book where the value of the content far exceeds the monetary investment to purchase the book. Thank you Dr. West.
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Format: Hardcover
In this quick read, Dr. West engages the reader on several topics germane to America yet geared toward the African American community and family. Brief topics of discussion include American race relations, past and present conditions of African Americans, politics, philosophy, family, love, Dr. West's Christian beliefs, and his views on prominent past and present leaders who helped shape our nation, including the then Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The CD with an interview by Tavis Smiley is an added plus.

I enjoyed all chapters of the book as well as the section on books and music that helped shape Dr. West as a brother to all, but particularly to those whose crosses are often significantly heavier than most, who find themselves unsteadyily walking a tightrope due to unfair scrutiny and criticism from others.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. West is renowned for his brilliance and understanding of American culture, politics and stereotypes as related to translating policy and action into something more meaningful to the academic and laymen alike.

Though this snippet style of writing may be disappointing to some, "Hope on a Tightrope" is a good read. It appears as if Dr. West is not providing us with a dissertation-type manual, but information that provides "food for thought" and does so in an inspirational way that encourages you to go "Hmmmm."

The question is whether this should be categorized along the line of his previous writings or as a motivational book on another level?
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