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Rituals Of Blood: The Consequences Of Slavery In Two American Centuries (Frontiers of Science) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1582430393 ISBN-10: 158243039X

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Rituals Of Blood: The Consequences Of Slavery In Two American Centuries (Frontiers of Science) + Punishment and Inequality in America + More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (Issues of Our Time)
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Product Details

  • Series: Frontiers of Science
  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books (December 10, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158243039X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582430393
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

African Americans have triumphed over slavery and continue to fight the good fight against racism and segregation in America, but according to noted Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, the battles have exacted a heavy price on Afro-American social relations. With pointed, precise, and often painful prose, Patterson outlines several areas of contention in the black community: combustible male-female relations, the destructive media images of African American males, and the horrible legacy of lynching and its parallel of religious sacrifice. His conclusions may be controversial for some, as were those of 1997's The Ordeal of Integration, but Patterson takes on the role of a doctor willing to endure the protests of his patient to lead him to good health. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

There are at least 95 good reasons, if there's one, why this is an immensely readable and eye-opening new work by Patterson. A Harvard sociologist, Patterson won the National Book Award in 1991 for Freedom in the Making of Western Culture. The current volume is his second in a trilogy on race and the legacy of slavery that started with Ordeal of Integration (1997). In this work he offers three very different but linked essays on the obstacles still facing Afro-Americans at the end of the 20th century; he examines relations between Afro-American men and women, the cult of lynching as ritual sacrifice, and a portrait of the Afro- American male as a media figure. He succeeds in each essay not least because, whether writing of slavery or of the relatively short life span of the black male (64.9 years), he does not indulge in a kind of woe-is-me hand-wrenching that leaves both reader and writer in a strange state of paralysis. However grim the facts, he states them and moves on. Also he accepts but is unafraid to challenge authorities in other fields, whether its Ralph Ellison or William Julius Wilson. Then again, he is an unabashed supporter of black radical feminists Michelle Wallace and Ntozake Shange. Indeed, unlike many social scientists, Patterson makes frequent forays into other disciplines if he feels it better explains his point. Finally, he is inclined to disturb and challenge African- American readers. Debunking, for example, the liberal assessment that Afro-Americans who have been lynched were all innocent, Patterson asserts that many of them were heroically guilty, notwithstanding the fact that many mistakes were made by the lynch mobs in sacrificing the wrong person. At another point he concludes that one of the byproducts of slavery is the high infidelity rate among black males (27 percent, as compared with 19 percent for white men). The latter may seem like a stretch. But what is problematic in Patterson is unfailingly provocative. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is sociological analysis of a very high order. However, the best review of these three analytic essays, appear in the introduction to the book. Nothing I, or anyone, could say can improve on that. However it is important to note a few things about the book.

Professor Patterson, an ex-Marxist turned Harvard Sociology Professor is nothing if not daring, brave, almost intrepid. He is fearless in choosing as his topic one of sociology's most pressing and most difficult problems: getting at the roots of the problem of race in America.

He performs a dangerous high-wire act (without a net) in this three-ring sociological circus and does so with commitment, grace and aplomb. This book is an obvious labor of love for a professional whose job is to advance the frontiers and boundaries of his profession, and in order to do that one must be prepared to take some risks, and in this volume, Dr. Patterson does so in scads. He takes methodological risks, logical risks, political risks, professional risks, and most of all theoretical risks.

That he does not always succeed - and indeed at times crashes and burns - is almost beside the point. In the end you know that you have been on an exhilarating ride that is worth far more than the few flaws in the book.

In fact it is almost embarrassing to attempt to critique such elegant analyses because they are such good examples of what is needed; because there are just too many sociological trails that need blazing; because the boundaries of sociological analysis needs more of this kind of testing; and because all of the social sciences need more pioneers of Dr. Patterson's caliber.

Having said that it must also be said that the author has committed at least one category one error in the first essay.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"Rituals", is the most disturbing and open writings on ethinicity and religion that I can recall. I am shocked but not surprise at the review ratings. "Rituals", Strips down everyone who has ever stepped foot on American soil, and only those who are willing to humble themselves can truly learn from these essays, and will earnestly understand that,this nation's history has been an exercise in duplicity, upon all of it's citizens. From the true reason these colonies were established and not the promulgated belief of freedom of religion. America has come a long way due to the law and the education of it's citizens. But we, as Americans, don't know why we hate most of the time, and this book shows that not only does religion repress the innate hate the man has, but can also conjure and cause riotous and rapacious behavior. Mr. Patterson's essays are truths that we don't want to know. FIVE STARS AND BRAVO. Payton Jones,Jr.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Armstrong on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Orlando Patterson's thesis is that America's experience with slavery and post-Reconstruction violence against black persons(extending over another 100 years), and black men in particular, continues to taint and distort American race relations. On one hand, he writes breathtakingly well, passionately, fluidly, and coherently. It is hard not to feel the shame and sorrow of American racial life. On the other hand, he characterizes modern racial life - and especially the thinking of white men - as tortured as that which preceded the Civil Rights era. His examples? Dennis Rodman and his sexual encounter with Madonna. O.J. and the murder of Nichole. By using these examples, he substitutes (white? male?) prurient interests for good sociological analysis and the results of yellow journalism and bad justice for coherent models of how America thinks about race.
He is a brilliant writer, so he almost carries it off. Almost.
I was reminded of Garcia Lorca's play, Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding). In America, we are wedded together, at times loving one another and at times drenched in the blood of our past. Even this fine writer and thinker knows that we cannot restore innocence to our thinking and behavior, which is why Lift Every Voice is the first hymn in our hymnal. In the face of our bloodlust we can never find innocence, but better to go ahead as best we can than to be captured in the idea that our bloodlust is permanent, indelible, and inevitable. Can we never truly love one another, as our ancestors could not and did not?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henry Sands on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Rituals of Blood traces the impact of slavery on modern-day Black Americans in such an incisive way as to be required reading for anyone who wants to speak on the subject of the past, as it impacts on the prospects of Black Americans. It's main thesis: the degradation of Africans from the day they entered this country until now, has been constant and devastating. The conclusions Professor Patterson opine are supported by unimpeachable resources from some of the best sociological minds, past and present and hard data. This is must reading for Blacks and Whites.

Henry William Sands, Esq. (Ret.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pinocchio on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Referred to Patterson's book by a colleague in anthropology and sociology, I was unprepared for the thrill and shock of the information contained in Rituals of Blood. Thrilled, because critical sociological data on two centuries of American slavery are well-codified and catalogued in one place. But while my colleague and I may argue with some of Patterson's conclusions, this does not detract from the shock of seeing documented those factors and conditions that shape the status of twenty-first century Afro-America and the human relationships African Americans attempt and fail to form. I welcome the book's evidences of what has warped friendship, intimacy, and sexuality and find the background reality that created the warpage far more egregious in their impact than I had ever imagined. Not so shocking is how clueless is American society as a whole and Black American society in particular to this reality. (The truism about a serious dearth of marriageable black men for every eligible black woman, we learn, is hardly a recent development.) The data certainly provide new outlines to draw from for understanding why the status of friendship, relationship formation, and constructive marriage among African Americans borders on tragic. (Patterson allows us to recognize more objectively that Tyler Perry's cinematic works, like "Why did I ever get married?", are more painfully accurate than is comfortable for many observers to bear.) There is much work to be done in the area of mental-emotional "reparations and recovery" of Afro-America as an urgent prerequisite for group survival. At least Patterson has created a map of the socio-psychological territory and how it shapes the cultural, political, and economic terrain in which Black Americans struggle to live their lives.
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