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Twelve Gates to the City Hardcover – December 6, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312582684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312582685
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.3 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Elements of magical realism ... mixed with black folkloric tradition are described with conviction and passion. Black’s personal connection to the material gives a hard-won reconciliation genuine emotional impact."
--Publishers Weekly
"Black describes black tradition and spirituality well."

About the Author

DANIEL OMOTOSHO BLACK was raised in Blackwell, Arkansas and now teaches at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned the Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University then returned to Clark Atlanta as a professor with hopes of inspiring young black minds to believe in themselves. His heart's desire is to write literature which celebrates the African American presence in America and teaches the world how to be more human. He is the author of Perfect Peace, They Tell Me of a Home and The Sacred Place.

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Customer Reviews

I was captivated as the story unfolded.
Andrea R.
If it is half as good as the other two books it will get 5 stars from me!
Norma M. Jackson
This is my third book that I read by Daniel Black.
Roxanne Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Angelia Menchan on December 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first time I read a Daniel Black novel was in May 2010,Perfect Peace, and was blown away by the original story line and the characters that felt like people I know, so much so that I ran out and bought copies for my family and friends so we could discuss. Immediately I purchased his other work and found that They Tell Me of A Home was one of the most touching books I had read. To place the icing on the cake, I met Mr. Black at a literary function and was amazed by his kindness, eloquence and humor and more than thrilled to know he was writing the follow up to They Tell Me of A Home.

It took more than a year to get my hands on Twelve Gates to The City and I must say I was not disappointed. I read the book slowly, savoring every word because I did not want to miss anything. I was entranced from the start and loved the way the story was told from the viewpoint of Dr. Tommy Lee Tyson, better known as T.L. and his Sister, who had died, quite mysteriously.

T.L. has returned to Swamp Creek Arkansas after ten years away and has earned a PHD, he is now in the small town and planning to teach at the local elementary school. Though, this is not what he planned, he knows it is what he must do to survive. He is also interested in finding out how his beloved sister died. What he does not anticipate is how much he will learn and how it will transform his life and the lives of those close to him.

I love the way Mr. Black slowly exposes us to the relationships, the painful one between a mother and son, the renewing one between a teacher and student and more importantly the two selves at war within T.L. He does not try to give us tidy answers, but allows us to see the whole person and their struggles and demons.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on December 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so thankful! Thankful to Daniel Black for giving a voice to southern/rural black folk....cause country AIN'T crazy! This book does so many things one of which is call me out on my self- absorbed ways. It speaks to my soul and my consciousness and brings greater awareness to my thoughts and actions. I am thankful to Dr. Black and God for this gift!

I read Twelve Gates this weekend (started Friday after work and finish early Sunday morning). I am still in that place of reflection and contemplation. This book is so much more than a mere story is history, philosophy, African-American studies, self-help, religion, new age spirituality (which ain't hardly new).......wrapped in the package of a novel! This book called me out on my "ish" and makes me want to be the person God put me here to be.

"Twelve Gates to the City" picks up where "They Tell Me of a Home" left off. Only this time we get to see the characters from a slightly different perspective. We get to see who they are from their vantage point not just that of TL's. We get to see what perfect love looks like when coming from imperfect people.

This book is heavy with spirituality, Black southern traditions, and the importance of family and community. The characters are so real and vibrant you feel as though they are long-lost friends....or the strange family members you sometimes want to deny (you'll get that after you read the book).

PLEASE read this book! It has the potential to change your life.......or at least change how you view your life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Chavis on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Twelve Gates To The City by Daniel Black is the follow up to They Tell Me of a Home but if you haven't read it, you don't have to in order to enjoy this one but I highly recommend you read both.

Tommy Lee aka T.L., after getting off the bus just when he thought he was about to get away from where he grew up, is the start of an intriguing story that pulls you in page after page as he not only grapples with the past but with a cast of characters also come into view who as you learn more about them, help bring the story full circle.

Swamp Creek, Arkansas where T.L. is from has "secrets", from what happened to his sister, who was his birth mother and why is Cliffesteen the town "crazy". T.L. is drawn to his new life, wrestling with his decision to stay or leave and figure out how these "secrets" impact his future.

Stand out characters from the book for me were Cliffesteen the town "crazy" or was she? Dressed in black and always showing up babbling about some event she had witnessed. Uncle "harmonica" Jesse Lee quite the character passing out wisdom under the meeting tree, and Ezekiel, the young student that anyone who is a teacher can identify with, and who had his own drama at home that broke my heart to read.

Over all, I found this book to be for me the literary work we readers are searching for. I loved, loved, loved this book and will read it again and again. It was wonderful. Daniel Black is a STORY TELLER and if you miss this, well all I can say is, your loss. Did I say I LOVED this book..??!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Khareem Mitchell on January 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been eagerly waiting for this book since reading They Tell me of a home and can say it was worth the wait. I have read very few books that engages you so thoroughly. Where a community releases through laughter and camaraderie, I as the reader did the same, no matter where I was. I felt as if I was there with Mr. Blue, Mr. Somebody and the rest of Swamp Creek, purging and releasing. This connection was further garnered when "The Peace boys" were introduced to the story from his other work and the emotions from that story permeated through me.
I could not help but to be drawn in and captivated by this story. I thank Dr. Black for this story and the freedom it brought to my spirit.
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