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Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 [Hardcover]

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 22, 2011 0307593428 978-0307593429 1
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.

Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship and including more than seven hundred images—ancient maps, fine art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the signal achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single “black experience.”

Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination.

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Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 + The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross + African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Henry Louis Gates’s Life Upon These Shores

“A distinguished scholar surveys, with lavish illustrations, 500 years of the African-American experience. . . . From the conquistadors and the origins of slavery, through the Revolutionary period, the rise of abolitionism, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, the Great Migration, both World Wars and the 20th century civil-rights movement, up to President Obama’s election, the supremely qualified Gates guides us through centuries of history . . . stunning illustrations . . . striking, comprehensive.” –Kirkus Reviews
“You can’t beat the fresh and heady scholarship of Life Upon These Shores…Challenging the notion of a single ‘Black Experience,’ Gates contextualizes his narrative with more than 800 images and doesn’t duck controversy.” –Library Journal
“Gates documents the famous, the obscure, and the long forgotten…[A] chronicle of the pressing issues and events of each generation and the incredible diversity covered by the appellation African American. A tour de force.” –Booklist
“Meticulously researched…a book that truly celebrates the resilience and achievements of African-Americans.” –
“Gates avoids cliché, meticulously illuminating the influence and contributions of Blacks in America: from African conquistadors to the election of President Barack Obama. This ambitious title redefines the relevancy of the past to our lives.” –Uptown Magazine
“[Life Upon These Shores] would make an excellent addition to a home or school. In fact, if you’re feeling generous this season, pick one up and donate it to the middle school library nearest you.” –Journal Sentinel
“Compiled with rigorous ambition and scholarship by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this book weaves nearly 900 images and reams of clear-eyed storytelling into an extraordinary chronology. Not only does a breathtaking range of African-American expression and experience emerge, a portrait of independence, fortitude and deep faith—the essence of American life—comes shining through.” –NPR (Best Gift Books of 2012)
“an excellent example of Gates’s ability to maintain high standards of scholarship while making a broad, dense subject accessible to a modern audience…A remarkable accomplishment that should endure through many editions. Highly recommended.” –Choice
“Reading Life Upon These Shores is like walking through history one day at a time. The rich content of this book pulls the reader in many different directions, and yet Mr. Gates keeps the direction focused…With each new story we sit at Mr. Gate’s feet, rest our chin in our hands, and listen and learn…Mr. Gates makes us richer with the knowledge of what went before—and what can be in the future.” –New York Journal of Books
“This is not a book to plunk down on the coffee table and flip through on occasion. It deserves to be read and read closely, short essay by short essay.” –Philly Online
“[Gates] tells things the way they were, not the way we would like them to be…This book pulls together a valuable account of the African-American experience upon these shores. It is worth a read by all Americans who want to learn where we have been as a nation.” –Houston Chronicle
“A stupendous undertaking…a cornucopia of riches…conceptualized and executed with loving care and rigorous intellectual grounding.” –Counterpunch
“An amazing compendium of information…it is enlightening to have a wide-angle lens turned on this epic, to see a picture of the whole.” –Arts Critic Atlanta

About the Author

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is editor in chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center and of the daily online magazine The Root. He has received more than forty honorary degrees from institutions the world over.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307593428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307593429
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive history of African Americans, why not? December 29, 2011
I have given this book the highest rating, based on the fact that this book exists. I haven't come across an illustrated, encyclopeadic account of African American history prior to this, which is why I appreciate the effort. I am in the process of reading the book and although I wish there was a bit more details in the chapters, I understand that this is not the intention of the book itself. I see it as intended to objectively point out the history of African Americans as a point of reference for which one can further research a more detailed history. Still, I find mention of facts about African American life on these shores that I had not known prior to picking up this book. I can't wait to delve further into the book, I am reading it from cover to cover, as I am eager to learn the history that was left out of shaping of America. This a great endeavor. A book that should exist in the home of anyone who is curious about the history of people who have played an integral part of making this country what it is.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE UPON THESE SHORES December 1, 2011
Lavish illustrations accompany poignant text; it's a wonderful reference guide to African American history, curated by one of the foremost scholars on the subject. Can't think of a better holiday gift for an interested reader.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gates Histiry of African Americans in the U.S. January 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Professor Gates provides the reader an excellent resource book on the subject. The combination of clear writing, pictures, and linkages throughout the book makes it a outstanding value for those interested in the topic, those who want to learn about the history of African Americans in the United States, and particularly history teachers who can use the book to enrich the information provided in public school texts that generally are sadly lacking on the subject. A valuable addition to anyone's collection.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Encyclopedia! January 7, 2012
By True!
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Encyclopedia for African American History in the 21st Century. More than a coffee table book. Informative and loving it to go with Genealogy work, for pieces in timeline.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing January 5, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reading novels centered on African American life can be simultaneously frustrating, empowering, humbling and joyous. The photo history deepens the emotional impact of and appreciation for the culture of my people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review January 27, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book based on a review that I read in a news article and I am so glad that I made the investment. I look forward to sharing it with my children this summer so that they can develop a greater appreciation of the Black American story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Know you history April 4, 2013
: Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008 by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a very thorough look into the accomplishment and history of African American History. This book delves deep into the start of slavery and the journey of notable African American.
The illustrations are very colorful and full of interesting notes to events we feel already know. It is broken down in eras and themes from origins, forging freedom, race and religion to name a few.
What I enjoyed about this book is that it shares the story behind the story. Some of the dynamics that were in play in some of the most important events of our nation's history.
The book crosses from the world of politics, education, and entertainment. This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to know more about the historic journey of the African American experience.
Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, has done an outstanding job in adding to his seminal works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE UPON THESE SHORES February 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book ,should be in every home,apartment, is the best read I've enjoyed in long time, everyone that come to my home and pick it up is taken back to a time in history that they were apart of that is coveded in Mr Gates, JR book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It came as new for a great price.
I haven't read it yet,but its a new book for a great price.Know your history.Read about it and enjoy it.
Published 1 month ago by Glen E. Lucien
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and researched!
If you love this book you will also like: 'They don't want us here,' by Kevin Watson. You can buy it on Amazon only. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Diamonds67
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive
Life Upon These Shores has to be one of the most comprehensive book about African American history. This would a great addition to anyone's library.
Published 4 months ago by bluemoon100
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Worm
I love this book, it was very informative and well written. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is one amazing man he gives it to you straight.
Published 4 months ago by Ramona Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Black History
Black history at it's best. I highly recommend this book to every school and household to read and share with family and students as well. Skip Gates has done it again!!!! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sylvia Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Beautiful book. Glad I purchased it. Would recommend this book to any individual who is interested in the subject matter.
Published 6 months ago by Valerie A. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Owning....
Liked this book. Good information. Beginning to appreciate Henry Louis Gates more every day. He is working hard to record and include African American history in the American... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars African American History, 1513-2008, November 01, 2013
This book ibu Mr. Gates is mandatory reading for Africans Americans. I enjoy reading historical and factural history, because for so long this African American Historical History... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Roy R Ferrantini
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book!
I was stunned by the quality and beauty of this book. Not only does it present a history, but it does so with an array of visual representations of art, texts, and portraits. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gena Diltz Probst
5.0 out of 5 stars You can count on (Skip) Dr. Gates
Dr. Gates research and attention to details and informative writing without the use of too many ten dollar words is always a great read.
Published 12 months ago by Patrice Williams
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