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The Souls of Black Folk (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) Hardcover – January 6, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1593081713 ISBN-10: 1593081715 Edition: REPRINT Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics; REPRINT Edition edition (January 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593081715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593081713
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) is the greatest of African American intellectuals--a sociologist, historian, novelist, and activist whose astounding career spanned the nation's history from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Fisk, Harvard, and the University of Berlin, Du Bois penned his epochal masterpiece, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. It remains his most studied and popular work; its insights into Negro life at the turn of the 20th century still ring true.

With a dash of the Victorian and Enlightenment influences that peppered his impassioned yet formal prose, the book's largely autobiographical chapters take the reader through the momentous and moody maze of Afro-American life after the Emancipation Proclamation: from poverty, the neoslavery of the sharecropper, illiteracy, miseducation, and lynching, to the heights of humanity reached by the spiritual "sorrow songs" that birthed gospel and the blues. The most memorable passages are contained in "On Booker T. Washington and Others," where Du Bois criticizes his famous contemporary's rejection of higher education and accommodationist stance toward white racism: "Mr. Washington's programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races," he writes, further complaining that Washington's thinking "withdraws many of the high demands of Negroes as men and American citizens." The capstone of The Souls of Black Folk, though, is Du Bois' haunting, eloquent description of the concept of the black psyche's "double consciousness," which he described as "a peculiar sensation.... One ever feels this twoness--an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." Thanks to W.E.B. Du Bois' commitment and foresight--and the intellectual excellence expressed in this timeless literary gem--black Americans can today look in the mirror and rejoice in their beautiful black, brown, and beige reflections. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“One hundred years after publication, there is in the entire body of social criticism still no more than a handful of meditations on the promise and failings of democracy in America to rival William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’s extraordinary collection of fourteen essays.” —from the Introduction by David Levering Lewis --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Dr. W.E.B. DuBois was brilliant.
S. Heggie
The veil blocks insight into the problems, as well as preventing blacks from taking their place in American society as full American citizens.
Jeffrey Leach
As such, it is a very balanced and well-thought out book.
Newton Ooi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Stelly on December 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Souls of Black Folks, as other reviewers have pointed out, is a masterpiece of African-American thought. But it is even more than that when we consider the context and time in which the book was written. Most of what DuBois discusses is still relevant today, and this is a tribute to the man, not only as a scholar, but as someone who was continually adapting his views in the best image and interests of black people.
Some reviewers refer to DuBois as "the Black Emerson" and, as a university instructor, I heard similar references made: 'the Black Dewey" or "the Black Park," referring to the Chicago School scholars. Du Bois was brilliant; indeed, these white men should be being called "the white Du Bois"! Du Bois literally created the scientific method of observation and qualitative research. With the junk being put out today in the name of "dissertations," simply re-read Du Bois' work on the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and his work on the Philadelphia Negro and it is clear that he needs not be compared to any white man of his time or any other: he was a renaissance man who cared about his people and, unlike too many of the scholars of day, he didn't just talk the talk or write the trite; he walked the walk and organized the unorganizable.
White racism suffered because Du Bois raised the consciousness of the black masses. But he did more than that; by renouncing his American citizenship and moving to Ghana, he proved that Pan Africanism is not just something to preach or write about (ala Molefi Asante, Tony Martin, Jeffries and other Africanists); it is a way of life, both a means and an end.
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88 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963) was the first black man to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. This fact alone doesn't really mean much in today's world; there are many firsts occurring at a rapid pace. But DuBois accomplished his feat when America subscribed to Jim Crow segregation and openly espoused racism. Moreover, DuBois went on to a spectacular career of stunning accomplishments-he was, by turns, a sociologist, a historian, a cultural critic, and an accomplished essayist. In "The Souls of Black Folk," DuBois wears all of these hats and a few more. Published in 1903, this collection of DuBois essays quickly became a cornerstone for future black progressives who wished to bring about changes in American society long promised since the days of the American Civil War. DuBois went on to help found the NAACP before disillusionment with the slow pace of change led him to leave the country. He died in Ghana in 1963.
Every essay in this collection is an absolute jewel of intellectual prowess, eloquent and captivating language, and groundbreaking insight into the conditions of America's black population. Time and time again, DuBois calls it like he sees it and does so without malice or hysterical claims. DuBois's writings are the archetype of calm, reasoned analysis. His goal is not to divide but to expose, not to create divisions but understanding. He differs radically from current race hustlers such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, whose only concern is creating a perpetual black underclass with them as self-anointed leaders. One of DuBois's essays actually take aim at a black leader who, during DuBois's time, harmed black progress. This man was Booker T.
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Campbell Roark on March 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Along with Malcolm X's biography, this book should be a mandatory text in American high schools. If you got this far, please, engage yourself and read the sample pages that amazon has allowed to be shown here.
This work is not just an eloquent attempt of one man to make sense of himself and his history, it is also by far the most sensitive, interesting (and accessible) treatment of Hegel the world has yet to see (including Marx- even though Du Bois spent the later years of his life smitten with socialism and the USSR- a viewpoint that eventually led him to abandon the NAACP's ((which he helped found in 1910)) agenda of integration).
One could spend much time tracing Du Bois' intellectual movements and his confrontations (as with Booker T. Washington). I won't attempt that here. Instead I'll attempt a cursory revealing of his Hegelian sensibilities. I don't use the word debt, because Du Bois doesn't borrow from Hegel- he resurrects him.
Du Bois's understanding of himself as a `problem,' is as illuminating now as it was in 1903. I think at least a cursory engagement with Hegel is needed to truly understand this book and Du Bois' thought in its entirety. For that reason I highly suggest you purchase the critical Norton version of this book (ISBN: 039397393X). It adds a great deal. The preface alone is worth the ten-note...
The master/slave dialectic, as well the unfolding and development of a consciousness of freedom: Du Bois breathes life into this system of `necessary' rational progression. Hegel himself traced the development of `World Spirit,' through six historical peoples: Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, Romans and Germans. This forms the genesis of Du Bois' conception of black Americans as historically a, "...
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