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No Place Like Home Paperback – October 6, 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Black British journalist Younge contrasts the racial atmosphere of the U.S and Britain in this personal journal of his travels in the American South. Younge, whose parents immigrated to Britain from Barbados, grew up in an isolated suburb aching for racial identity, feeling neither British nor Bajan. Instead, he felt the strong appeal of the American South, for it provided those things he lacked--a sense of place and history. Younge felt that southerners, black and white, had a "heartfelt affinity" for their environment. So he decided to take a personal journey from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans to retrace the route of the first freedom fighters in 1961 to get a feel for the racial climate of America. He discovered a complex environment, greeted with familiarity by other blacks and yet viewed as foreign, granted points by whites because of his accent but still subjected to racism. Younge's book is a blend of travelogue, historical research, and social commentary leavened with the sharp eyes and tongue of an outsider examining the American racial milieu. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Travelogue, social commentary, and journey to self-discovery, the story of a black Englishman’s amazing trek through Dixie to connect with his racial identity --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (October 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330369814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330369817
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,999,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Gary Younge is a black Englishman who decides to travel through the US South by bus, following the path of the 1961 Freedom Riders, who did such things as having their black participants use white-only restrooms in an effort to spur civil rights reforms. The Freedom Riders were key players in the US civil rights movement, and some of them were beaten or even murdered. Younge wanted to retrace their steps in 1997 to see if there was anything that would resonate with him as a British black man.
The book is successful on several levels: As a travelogue, as a history of the civil rights movement, and as an introduction to the South for the non-US reader. (A blunt hint from Younge to non-US readers: Avoid long-distance bus trips.)
To my surprise, Younge was generally positive about the US, despite some instances when he's exposed to modern racism, such as being turned away from an empty motel. Although racism lingers, Younge seems impressed that the US has dealt with its sordid past of racial oppression in a more constructive manner than Britain has. He marvels that US blacks can salute the flag and be patriotic without feeling hypocritical, whereas he, as a British black, finds it impossible to salute the Union Jack or to feel patriotism as a Brit. All in all, it's a fascinating treatment of the American South and its complicated history of race relations.
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At the Brits say, this book is spot on.
I discovered this book almost 20 years after it was published but I found it so
relevant to today.
Younge, as a Brit who's also Black, travels the South. He may feel some discrimination but
it all seems to dissipate when he opens his mouth. A British accent raises your perceived I.Q. no end.
I looked him up and he's been in the States, still working for the Guardian.
But now, he's leaving and going back to England. We'll miss it.
What a great read!

I don't know Gary Younge. I just bought his book recently.
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An interesting look at U.S. race relations (during the 60's) and the effect on African Americans from the perspective of a British subject of African (West Indian) descent. As a U.S. citizen of color, the narrative of the writer's life and experiences at home in England and around the world was not only fascinating but also eye-opening.
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If Lewis Lapham, Toni Morrison, Christopher Hitchens (the old school one, not the current crazy one), and Dave Chappelle decided to raise a child together, Gary Younge would be the result. His trenchant wit and radar for the ridiculous combine with a devastatingly precise writing style that yields "shock and awe" yucks on every page. I read him everywhere I can, and when my "The Nation" arrives, he's the first writer I look for. (The second is Patricia Williams).
Younge's travelogue amounts to a long overdue manifesto standing in sharp contrast to those I've groaned through authored by dominant culture "experts." Paul Theroux comes (painfully) to mind. Germaine Greer...wow.
I think Younge's books should be used in high school U.S. History, Journalism, and English course; at the very least, use his texts as a counterpoise to conventional ones. As I sit patiently listening to lachrymose PTA parents offer testimonials about how "my child" was "transformed" by the "Journey to the Past" field trip, I grit my teeth and wish I could suggest that everyone save thousands of dollars by simply reading this book.
There were so many times I laughed, closed the book and my eyes, and felt reassured that I'm not the only one not drinking the KoolAid about the reality of race in the U.S.
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As usual, Gary Younge is very eloquent in his writings... about race, about politics, about social issues. In this book he is in a very different situation, as he travels the American South, following the path of the bus-riding freedom riders of the 60s. It is a very different trip, as contemporary southern Americans meet a black man with a British accent. It throws them off and casts Younge into a series of conversations that only an outsider--but one who is also black--can have with modern southerners. He extracts stories and insights that no other writer could.
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