From Library Journal
Rodriguez, the founder of QBR: The Black Book Review, joins with a former editor of Black Elegance to compile a listing of the 100 most important books in black history.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
David walkers Appeal. The Souls of Black Folk. Things Fall Apart. Their Eyes Were Watching God. The Fire Next Time. Beloved
Books are a cornerstone of black culture. Charting over 200 years of transition and turmoil, perseverance and triumph, intelligence, horror, and exquisite beauty, black literature rings with a remarkable peoples vitality and passion, improvisational spirit and spiritual questing. Now, capturing the full sweep of writing from the Diasporafrom Africa to the Caribbean to AmericaSacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books celebrates the most influential works in this rich tradition, one of world literatures strongest forces. QBR: The Black Book Review is the preeminent showcase for the critical review of contemporary African American books and authors. The editors of QBR have tapped a blue-ribbon panel of leading scholars, historians, authors, and booksellers to reach a consensus on works having the most significant impact across the decadesthe books that matter most. The resulting list of 100 books is an impressive collection of poetry, short fiction, novels, drama, autobiography, and history. Divided into six thematic sectionsintroduced by outstanding young writers like Eisa Nefertari Ulen, Arthur Flowers, and Robert Flemingthe books are excerpted and highlighted with insightful commentary. The first section, "Ancestors, Origins, and Memory," explores books that have shaped our views of slavery, oppression, and the African continent as paradise lost. Included in this section are The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, the first independently written slave narrative; Beloved, Toni Morrisons haunting tale of slavery and its aftermath; and Ivan Van Sertimas ground-breaking challenge to European history, They Came Before Columbus. The section called "Community and Identity" celebrates books that explore individual freedom and the collective power of the alienated and marginalized, featuring the works of W. E. B. Du Bois, Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes, Chinua Achebe, and Lorraine Hansberry, among others. Their range is matched by their depth. In the sections "Politics, Nationalism, and Revolution" and "Soul and Spirit," one finds Eldridge Cleavers Soul on Ice, Chancellor williamss The Destruction of Black Civilization, Martin Luther King Jr.s Letters from a Birmingham Jail, and Marian Wright Edelmans Guide My Feet. In "Sisters Stories," works by Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, and other outstanding writers capture the varied experiences of black women. "Brothers Lives" salutes the seminal works on black manhood by writers like Richard Wright, August Wilson, and Ernest Gaines. Honoring and exploring the greatest achievements in black writing across the centuries, Sacred Fire is soul-shaking, essential reading for all lovers of literature and lively opinion.