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The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – May 20, 1994

190 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486280417 ISBN-10: 0486280411 Edition: Unabridged

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 - 1963)

William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community. After graduating from Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Du Bois was a prolific author. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (May 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486280411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486280417
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 126 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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95 of 102 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David Lupo on November 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this work to read and be part of a book discussion group in downtown D.C. I came away amazed by many aspects of this seminal work. First, it may not be seminal if it were written in 2003, but it was written in 1903! An in-depth critique of the structures that support racism written in words that have carried themselves over a century. Second, W.E.B DuBois is not only a sociologist in the inchoate years of sociology, he is a philosopher as well. Yet, there is a tender chapter on the loss of his first born child. DuBois did not reject the head to follow his heart, nor did he reject his heart to follow his head. He was balanced regarding what influenced him, following sometimes the heart and sometimes the head. To see him only as someone who opposed slavery and racism is one-dimensional. However, this cannot be dismissed, either. Still, he is a magnificent story-teller, as seen in the chapter, "Of the Coming of John". Hurt more than helped by official religion, he is nonetheless spiritual, as seen in his chapters of faith, and the sorrow songs. He is a prolific author, writing well over a dozen books. Because his voice is dangerous, the powers-that-be have kept his name away from our ears and eyes. That needs to change. It is time for an awakening! I don't give 5-stars easily. This book demanded it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Navarro on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Circumstances rule men, men don't rule circumstances" - Herodotus. This book deserves a 5 for it's historical importance, it was revolutionary for it's time as a transitional way of thinking suited to it's circumstances, but it's real value is as a sign pointing away to something better. Stylistically it's verbose, lots of it isn't content but rhetoric, necessary back then but tiresome today. We are given explanations of causes for the actions of the grouping of people called "black" but we are never given causes for the actions of the grouping of people called "white", we need both to understand the relationship that held and therefore to reveal the truth of the situation. The value of a book shows itself in the usefulness of it's ideas, the concepts contained herein are mostly old technology. What a lot of people don't understand is that "white" and "black" are types of concepts, in addition to being historical words like those used in the Spanish casta sytem that nobody uses anymore, they are a kind of technology for categorizing people: forming a group and then getting that group to act a certain way. They really aren't even opposing ideas, they are both expressions of the same "race-religion". To believe that the color of the light that bounces off the molecules of someone's body tells us anything about that person's character, their thoughts and actions, is exactly the same as believing in astrology... and yet there are people today who continue to hold this faith in race, and live their lives according to a set of possibilities decided upon by someone else who died a long time ago and who is today a pile of dust. Thought calls on us to think individually, never as a mass. Old conceptual frameworks become prisons for our thoughts.Read more ›
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The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions)
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