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Pride: The Seven Deadly Sins (New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities) Paperback – August 23, 2006

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the final book in a collaborative series between the New York Public Library and Oxford University Press on the seven deadly sins, Dyson examines pride in its many iterations, invoking pop culture icons and events to lend accessibility to a potentially didactic subject. (Francine Prose wrote earlier of gluttony, Wendy Wasserstein of sloth...) "If pride is a sin," Dyson writes, "it is no ordinary sin, to be sure." Indeed, Dyson, a prolific author, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an ordained Baptist minister, takes his time in explicating the virtues and dangers of pride. Although an initial chapter on the "philosophical and religious roots of pride" proves less than engaging, Dyson's discussions of "personal pride," "white pride," "black pride" and "national pride" are thoughtful and exhibit a fine balance of scholarship and philosophizing. In the black pride section, the book's liveliest, Dyson (Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?) talks about political figures such as Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and the effects they do and do not have on the black electorate. He analyzes Halle Berry's and Denzel Washington's acceptance speeches at the 2002 Academy Awards, concluding one was "brave," the other "cool." Readers already familiar with the "sins" series will welcome this final volume, as will those interested in issues of race.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In this final part of a series on the seven deadly sins sponsored by Oxford and the New York Public Library, Dyson, in his distinct style, examines the sin of pride. Dyson posits Aristotle's notion of "proper pride," reflective more of virtue when used as a shield for survival, as reflected in a black man's struggle in America. However, the form of pride that "precedes the fall" is reflected in the practices of some black elites who are cold and condescending to the less fortunate. The nation's pride, however, especially post-9/11, provokes great trepidation for Dyson, who fears that patriotism is viewed too narrowly and truth is deflected by hysterical distortion that denies foreign policy vices.^B Dyson moves from pride as a vice on the human plane to pride as a sin in the sacred realm. He admonishes fundamentalists, whose rigid perceptions of right and wrong carry a tinge of hubris. This is an excellent essay on pride in its various dimensions. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195312104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195312102
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.3 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was drawn to the New York Public Library's series on the seven deadly sins for its stated aim of examining the ways in which faith, belief, ideology, and politics shape our contemporary world. I read this last book in the series first and was left bitterly disappointed.

Dyson pays lip service to the long and intriguing history of pride as a sin (pp. 7-26); in truth, he is a poor chronicler of the theological and philosophical roots of the notion of pride, or self-regard. It's tempting to suggest that Dyson composed this short chapter based on only a cursory reading of a handful of books that address the topic more substantively. His analysis of pride from Pope Gregory I to Stanley Hauerwas rings hollow and reads like a middle-school book report.

But the lack of "critical reflection" to which I refer in my review title stems from Dyson's mobilization of his own self-regard in the rest of this unfortunate book. Aside from the brief chapter mentioned above, Dyson offers blustering criticism of contemporary errata -- almost every example of which does not illuminate the complexities of pride as both concept and practice.

If anything, Dyson's examples shore up his own rhetorical self-worth and display an astounding lack of concern for broader social, political, and cultural views on pride. A chapter devoted to "Personal Pride" (pp. 27-42) is an insincere reflection on the ups and downs of Dyson's childhood and career, while his later discourses on versions of white and black pride are so simplistic (e.g., the KKK espouses a "bad" form of pride; Halle Berry's winning the Academy Award in 2002 evinces a "good" form of pride) as to insult the reader's intelligence.
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Format: Hardcover
Pride has often been viewed as being the worst of the seven sins, yet it is the only sin known to also be a virtue as well as a vice. The first part of this book looks at historical views of Pride, from Plato to Aquinas, who clearly labeled it as a terrible vice, to Aristotle, who not only did not condemn it but also encouraged it. The tone then shifts to racial pride, and the author's take on the damaging affects of identity politics and the negative influences of white pride upon black pride.

Though all that is probably a must for those interested in race issues, the gem of this book is the chapter on national pride (My Country, Right or Wrong?). In it, the author examines the differences between patriotism, a love of country and its values, and nationalism, an uncritical support of a country's national and international interests and affairs. He also brings to light religious extremism and the injustice of the American government upon its own people during times of war or crisis. I strongly urge anyone interested in issues of patriotism, racial prejudice, and the war on terrorism to read this chapter.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought it would be about the pride of everyone as humans without the racial distinctions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Eric Dyson suggests in his book Pride that sin a virtuous value,
he agrees with Aristotle as he engages in long diatribes of Black and
White pride. His arguments are compelling, if you like Dyson you will be drawn into his views-cheering and pumping your fist into the air. I want to believe him; pride has helped African Americans on a path to equality in The United States and has provided moral paragons that America needed in the past. However, since the King years I have become incredulous of Dyson's claim that pride is a virtuous value. For example, in the 21 first century African Americans use "Black Pride" to obtain an allowance to stuff their personal piggy banks, even exploiting own exploiting their community in the process, which has lead them away GOD. This is the reason Thomas Aquinas preached that pride was a sin.
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