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The Omni-americans: Black Experience And American Culture (Da Capo Press Paperback) Paperback – March 22, 1990


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Novelist, essayist, and cultural critic Albert Murray--a classmate of Ralph Ellison at Tuskegee University--has spent his whole life affirming the positive aspects of Afro-American culture while rejecting the sociologically flawed assumptions of white America. These essays from the '60s and '70s attack what he called the "social science fiction" propagated by Marxist theorists, black activists, sociologists, and politicians. The book's goal, he wrote, was "to expose the incompetence and consequent impracticality of people who are regarded as intellectuals but are guided by racial bias rather than reason based on scholarly insight." For Murray, black culture derives from the American South; is blues-based in its oral, literary, and musical traditions; and is heroic in its eternal attempts to affirm the principles set down in the Constitution. With the skill of a jazz pianist, Murray lays down some cool intellectual chords that drown out the bleak dissonances of black life articulated in mainstream culture to create a black, brown, and beige--and brilliantly American--composition of his own. --Eugene Holley Jr.

About the Author

Albert Murray was born in Alabama in 1916. A cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, he has taught at several colleges, including Colgate and Barnard, and his works include The Omni-Americans, South to a Very Old Place(nominated for a National Book Award), The Hero and the Blues, and Trading Twelve: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray. He has also won the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award for Stomping the Blues.
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Product Details

  • Series: Da Capo Press Paperback
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 22, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030680395X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306803956
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jim Kibble on June 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although it's now 30 years old, Albert Murray's debut has hardly aged a day, and his potshotting at the shallow pieties of sociology remains all too relevant. The reader from Pittsburgh seems concerned that Murray isn't positive enough. But I think his central thesis--that we are all omni-Americans, sharing a hybrid, black-and-white culture--is one of the most hopeful things to come down the pike since Whitman hung up his versifying shoes. Add to that the fact that Murray is funny (not an easy thing to be when you're taking Daniel Patrick Moynihan down a peg) and you've got an essential volume on your hands. Three cheers for Da Capo for keeping this in print!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By dredscott on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I totally enjoyed the spirit of this book. I might disagree with a few points and admit that Murry at times overstates to make a point. But he is allowed to signify! I disagree with the person from pittsburgh. I think Murry can be a skilled polemicist/intellectual himself, but think he'd rather not. But the book was speaking to polemicist and intellectuals in their terms. That's the whole point. They gotten so caught up in their rhetoric that they've forgotten how to see or speak about the human experience in any other terms. It is positive, the book continues to add a freshness and bounce to the stale social science dialogue about race, culture and particularly Blacks. As he says 'we (blacks) can't afford to be reduced to oppression and repression'. Murry would probably rather chop it up at a jazz bar or barber shop. That's why he gets to signify.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ematarese on October 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There should be no White America or Black America....or anything inbetween....The richness of our culture depends on the appreciation and assimilation of the diversity that is represented by all of our citizens. Murray shows the connections that have been developed through music and through the commonalities that we whould recognize.
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7 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Murray condemns both polemic and intellectuals yet he only manages to look at things from an intellectualist viewpoint when he discusses things in-depth and he seems very skilled as a polemicist himself. Very critical of anyone except those with a similar background, including many shots at social scientists, northerners and whites as well as Murray's fellow writers even. Hardly a positive work, despite the subtitle "Some Alternatives to the Folklore of White Supremacy" which makes you think it will be more than it is.
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