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


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Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom + Race Matters + Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism
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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 (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. A current professor at Union Theological Seminary, he has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. The recipient of more than twenty honorary degrees, he has written many important books, including Race Matters and Democracy Matters. He appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, Democracy Now, CNN, C-SPAN, and other national and international media. He lives in New York City.

Photo credit Sigrid Estrada.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Hutchinson on November 25, 2008
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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Hamilton on December 2, 2008
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christine Thomas on December 26, 2008
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DBG on September 19, 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Anthony Mills on March 19, 2009
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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