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The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Historical Analysis of the Failure of Black Leadership (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – June 30, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1590171356 ISBN-10: 1590171357

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (June 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171356
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Harold Cruse wrote The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual for the moment and for the future. He succeeded in both….Cruse’s book not only reflected the frustration, anger and confusion of its time, it also promised an explanation and a solution…an enduring document."
TLS

"Eloquent, passionate, forceful—Harold Cruse has had an electrifying impact on an entire generation of African American intellectuals."
— Gerald Horne

"Crisis dwarfed almost all other books of the period when it came to bringing together politics, art, and social movements related to or inspired by the Afro-American condition."
— Stanley Crouch

"Cruse repositioned the interpretive axes of the study and conduct of black political debate. Where Malcolm X was the intellectual inspiration of Black Power and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Turé) was its principal ideological architect, Cruse was without question its definitive critical interlocutor."
— Adolph Reed, Jr., New School University

"When all the manifestoes and polemics of the Sixties are forgotten, this book will survive as a monument of historical analysis—a notable contribution to the understanding of the American past, but more than that, a vindication of historical analsis as the best way, maybe the only way, of gaining a clear understanding of social issues."
— Christopher Lasch, New York Review of Books

From the Publisher

"[T]he most imaginatively documented and politically sophisticated working prospectus on the built-in contradictions and disjunctions of the Negro Revolution."—Albert Murray

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. D. Daniels on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this sparwling 500 page book, Cruse lays out his polemics against the Civil Rights movement for ignoring the economic issues that plagued us then and now,acusses black artists for betraying their own cultural gifts to gain wider credibility and lays down the basic ethos of American captialist life.. Every racial group for themselves. And on top of that goes first after black ministers who were more concerned about their own power than uplifting American- Americans and Norman Podhoretz practically calling him a fascist (he is) and the scared cow of all... Saying the so-called Black- Jewish alliance was a sham seeing all this by 1967. Unlike Black intellectuals of today, Cruse spares no one institution in American life in one of the great books in American Thought.

This one book I read 10 years ago along with the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" changed my life and committed me to a life of reading and seeking truth wherever it led me.Cruse who died last year, was America's last great intellectual unlike those today who appear on C-SPAN, Fox and other news outlets being "pop intellectuals" Cruse was searching for truth and solutions in the lives of African- Americans and for that we should be grateful.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Third World on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I don't think Black people can ever have a real conversation about unity until they read this book. Especially the chapter called 'Idealogy in Black'. The book is extremely honest about West Indian, African and African American behavior towards each other which ultimately leads to implosion. He covers everything, The Harlem Renaissance, Communism and many other critical topics but I think his thoughts on why Black movements fail (internal strife/lack of cultural, political and economic direction) are dead on.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Harold Wright Cruse (1916-2005) was an American academic who was an outspoken social critic and teacher of African-American studies at the University of Michigan until the mid-1980s.

He writes in the first chapter of this 1967 book, "I have attempted to define what a considerable body of Negroes have thought and expressed on a less analytic and articulate level... There is, however, a broad strain of Negro social opinion in America that is strikingly cogent and cuts through class lines." He later summarizes, "The purpose of this study so far has been to explore the origins of the many factors leading to the impasse the Negro movement has reached as of this moment." (Pg. 402)

Here are some quotations from the book:

"Harlem is the black world's key community for historical, political, economic, cultural and/or ethnic reasons. The trouble is that Harlem has never been adequately analyzed in such terms." (Pg. 12)
"But Harlem also fostered something else which has not been adequately dealt with in the history books---a cultural movement and a creative intelligentsia." (Pg. 22)
"West Indians are never so 'revolutionary' as when they are taken away from the Islands." (Pg. 47)
"Unable to arrive at any philosophical conclusions of their own as a black intelligentsia, the leading literary lights of the 1920's substituted the Communist left-wing philosophy of the 1930's, and thus were intellectually side-tracked for the remainder of their productive years." (Pg. 63)
"It is true that the coming of Wright and Ellision marked new achievements in the novel, and Baldwin, did prevent that trend from losing its luster. But in QUALITY the Negro has retrogressed in every creative field except jazz." (Pg. 69)
"But not a single Garveyite settlement ...
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Armen on October 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book should be given to every student in the African American community. It is rich and full of insight. Every chapter is an ah moment. Some books ask the question this book gives the answer and challenges the reader to be apart of the answer.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Erren Geraud Kelly on May 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
after 11 years, i finally got around to reading this book....what i liked about it was cruse put it bluntly that the main job of the negro intellectual/artist was not to be a politician unless they were a politician of culture..at times, it seemed that they book was a 500+ page advertisement for the communist party...i didn't realize that so many blacks were marxists....i found the segments of the books where he revealed the shortcomings of paulrobeson as a leader and lorraine hansbury's unwiillingness to write black plays interesting....he also get into detail about the black arts movement, and it's leader, leroi jones. the only complaint i have about books like this is that sometimes reading them feels like your dragging around a ball and chain....but the subjects rewarded my patience...this is a good place to start for the beginning black intellectual...
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