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Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement Paperback – January 7, 2003


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More from Jon Meacham
As the editor of Newsweek, Jon Meacham has written about war, politics, religion, and race--topics he also examines in his bestselling books. Visit Amazon's Jon Meacham Page.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037575881X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758812
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The civil rights movement not only changed America for the better, it also inspired some of the nation's best writing, as the pieces collected in Voices in Our Blood illustrate. The 40 essays contained in this anthology succeed in "capturing the complications behind the public spectacles and charting the competing impulses of grace and rage--the proper province of reporting, reflection, and writing," writes editor Jon Meacham in the introduction. Many famous novelists, journalists, and poets appear in these pages--Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, William Faulkner, Rebecca West, Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, Eudora Welty, E.B. White, Tom Wolfe--as well as many obscure writers who managed to capture moments in time for the benefit of all. All of these pieces deal with the multifaceted dimensions of America's dark history of racism and discrimination, its consequences, and, hopefully, its cure. This first major collection of enduring writing on the civil rights movement is a powerful and moving portrait that deserves to be read by all Americans. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

To "give a flavor of what life was like" as the Civil Rights movement played itself out, Meacham, the managing editor of Newsweek, has assembled "a highly personal anthology" of "the country's best writing on the midcentury crisis." Extending far beyond the decade between Rosa Parks's bold act of resistance to the proprieties of segregation in 1955 and the landmark civil rights bills of 1965, Meacham includes some unexpected works written in the heat of the moment: Tom Wolfe's "wicked portrait of the liberal elite's fascination with the Black Panthers," Alex Haley's Playboy interview with Malcolm X and Howell Raines's memoir of his family's complex relationship with their black housekeeper. The pieces range broadly, from "the fissures between the young and the old within the black community" in the late 1950s (embodied in the relationship between Stokely Carmichael and John Kaspar), to the "cornucopia of discontent" afflicting "blacks in the 1980s and 1990s" as rendered by Ellis Cose. Mixing the work of artists and journalists, including Rebecca West, Taylor Branch, William Styron, Eudora Welty, Stanley Crouch, Elizabeth Hardwick, Alice Walker, Hodding Carter and Richard Wright, this compilation is a useful resource for tracking the daily realities of civil rights struggles. Meacham captures the movement's "complications behind the public spectacle" with immediacy, driving home the point that black and white citizens of the U.S. remain "connected by a common heritage, yet hopelessly divided by skin color." (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jon Meacham is the author, most recently, of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, a No. 1 New York Times bestseller that has been named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, The Seattle Times, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion, his bestselling 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Franklin and Winston and American Gospel. Executive editor and executive vice president of Random House, Meacham is a contributing editor to Time magazine, a former editor of Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. He is a regular contributor on Meet the Press, Morning Joe, and Charlie Rose. A Fellow of the Society of American Historians, Meacham serves on the boards of the New-York Historical Society; the Churchill Centre; and of The McCallie School. He is a former trustee and Regent of The University of the South and has served on the vestries of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Trinity Church Wall Street. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, Meacham was educated at McCallie and at The University of the South, where he was salutatorian and Phi Beta Kappa. He began his career as a reporter at The Chattanooga Times. He and his wife live with their three children in Nashville and in Sewanee.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By bleary in NYC on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was amazed when I first saw the contents of this anthology--had had no idea that so many big names had written about the civil rights movement. But when you actually read the anthology, a lot of these pieces, as fun as they may be to read in general, aren't really about the civil rights movement at all or only very tangentially, or are "think pieces" without much first-hand observation. The editor goes for star power over relevance. There's a Eudora Welty piece with some African-Americans in it (not sure how else it's related), a Maya Angelou memoir fragment (she reflects to a limited extent on race in her upbringing, but it's not really about civil rights), a Ralph Ellison article about Harlem (excellent writing, partly about Harlem as the place where Southern fantasies about freedom meet reality, but it's about Harlem...) Meacham deserves praise for trying to put together a literary and readable anthology--others about the movement tend to be full of "documents," sometimes boring to read, whereas this is usually entertaining. But he missed the chance to include some less well known writers who really wrote about events in the movement--Lillian Smith, Ted Poston, Robert Coles, Mike Thelwell, Gordon Parks, Paul Good, Bayard Rustin, Anne Moody...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading in high schools and universities across the nation. Mr. Meacham has done a superb job of finding the best and most moving writings on the civil rights movement. This book is a collection of such exquisite writing - to have it all in one place is a treasure. Mr. Meacham's editing is beyond compare. I am familiar with his contributions to Newsweek and I am impressed with his work here. This book is a splendid look into our nation's history and it should not be missed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been blown away by this collection. I have lived in East Tennessee all my life, and generations before that. I think every emotion that one could have about the birth defect of America, slavery and the racism that has followed, is included in this work. While it is an inspiring road marker of how far we have come, it is also a sobering and frightening reminder of how far we have to go.
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