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W. E. B. Du Bois, 1868-1919: Biography of a Race (Owl Books) Paperback – December 15, 1994

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A remarkable study . . . . Mr. Lewis so vividly evokes the environments that shaped Du Bois that one almost participates in the life.” ―Waldo E. Martin, Jr., The New York Times Book Review

“An engrossing masterpiece . . . . A dazzling feat of scholarship performed with Lewis's customary grace of style.” ―Nell Irvin Painter, The Washington Post Book World

“To say that Lewis's is the finest biography of Du Bois ever written hardly does justice to his performance. Until the publication of this superb new book, Du Bois's life had never received the treatment it deserves.” ―Eric Foner, The Nation

“A marvel of scholarship and discernement. David Levering Lewis's remarkable, stunningly detailed book reshapes our understanding of Du Bois at so many points as to instantly become the standard biography.” ―Martin Bauml Duberman

About the Author

David Levering Lewis is the Martin Luther King Jr., chair in the history at Rutgers University. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Humanities Center, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Educated at Fisk and Columbia Universities and the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Lewis is the author of several acclaimed books, including King: A Biography, When Harlem Was in Vogue, The Race to Fashoda. He and his wife live in Manhattan.

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Product Details

  • Series: Owl Books
  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (December 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805035680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805035681
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been in awe of William Edward Burghardt DuBois since I read "The Souls of Black Folk" in 1967. As a ninth grader in the heart of the civil rights era, his passion for intelligence and his people moved me. I have longed to read the history of his life since. Lewis' book more than satisfied my longing. Lewis writes artisticly. The language sometimes caused me to stop and enjoy the words on paper as DuBois' writngs had in 1967. I understand the Pulitzer award, the text is brilliant and the research complete. The life of W.E.B. DuBois is even greater than the writing. This life deserved the best possible writing and research. I am amazed with the effort spent on the lifes of mere celebrities. Lives of great people such as DuBois deserve study. This life requires two volumes as Mr. Lewis intends. This life, W. E. B. DuBois, explores many of the issues we face today with race in America. As detailed by Mr. Lewis there is little experienced since the end of slavery Dr. DuBois and not considered in his thoughts or experienced in his life. The debates of the sixties between seperation or intergration were not new to DuBuois. He challenged Marcus Garvey. The thoughts of todays Black conservatives would have been understod by DuBois. He debated with Booker T. Washington. Lewis allows us to understand the debates in their time and place. DuBois departure from America in the ninth decade of his life can be understood if we know the depths of his commitment to the american ideals of freedom and meritocracy. America broke his heart. Reading his life will help all understand the way America breaks the heart of many who accept her ideals, try to live them, and are rejeced. It hurts. I have been waiting for the second volume since the day I finished the first.
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By Top39 on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book gave me a lot of information that changed my opinion on public policy. It was written to do more than just discuss DuBois' life. By detailing the overall picture of that era and including biographies of other famous Afro Americans of that time, it put specific events into a perspective that I did not have before reading this book. One of the many changes that I experienced was the view of segregation. I did not know that many leaders were pushing for separate facilities for the recently freed slaves; that everyone for a short period was on board, and only after the concept was perverted by southern whites did the damage of segregation rear its ugly head. There were many other lessons about leadership and civil rights that are important for us all to know. This is a must read for all!
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Format: Paperback
While writing my book, A Journey Into The Mind of a Black Woman, A Journey Into The Mind of a Black Woman: In Search Of Black Men Who Live With Purpose I read this 2-volume biography of one of the greatest minds from Black America. Not only was his accomplishments impressive, as to be expected; Lewis gives us a 3-D picture of who Du Bois really was as a person: he was passionate, engaging and brave. The battles that he had with Booker T. Washington and then Marcus Garvey were mainly philosophical, but what could have happened if these three men could have worked together.

This book is a great read and is highly recommended for serious readers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sociologist, economist, historian, feminist, propogandist...W.E.B. Du Bois was a man of breathtakingly stellar intellect. He became the leading voice in the struggle for black equality and a glaring refutation, held by most whites, that African-Americans were an inferior race. But along with his huge powers of literary persuasion came a man that was arrogant, childishly egocentric, pompous as well as a subpar husband and father. You can not truly have an appreciation of Black America's struggles after the Civil War without understanding this iconic, heroic figure. His clashes with the black political-heavyweight Booker T. Washington, the founding of the NAACP, the rise of Jim Crow as well as the odious tactics of several U.S. Presidents and white powerbrokers are covered. Mr. Lewis takes great pains to explain the cultural mind-set at important junctures in Mr. Du Bois' life. The author has produced an outstanding, engrossing biography of the subject matter's first fifty-one years. Without a doubt, my next book is Mr. Lewis' follow-up volume dealing with the remainder of Mr. Du Bois' life.
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It took me forever to read this biography--of a race--but I was determined to do just that. Du Bois was a person of great influence and his choices I will leave for you to decide. The reading, however, was stilted and I had to put the book down for months at a time because of it. (I've had a stroke.) In all, I thought it was good that I persevered.
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Format: Paperback
"This is already the classic work from the life of the firebrand revolutionary, writer, scholar and political activist Du Bois who helped create the NAACP and who traveled in a Jim Crow car to attend Fisk University."
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Format: Paperback
When one thinks of the scope of American History, there are few names that stand out. Chief among them is a man by the name of William Edward Burghardt DuBois, better known as W.E.B. DuBois. For nearly all of his life, wherever DuBois attended an academic institution, he excelled at the highest levels. Though he was reared in a predominately White town in Massachusetts, his academic gifts were so apparent that the White residents got together and secured funds to send him to college since his single mother was too indigent to do so. Despite the White residents "liberalism," they weren't liberal enough to send him across state, though his academic record qualified him, to enter Harvard. In the eyes of the White townsmen, he was still, "just a Negro," so color prejudice prevented him from attending the school of his choice. So, instead DuBois was sent South to attend the historically Black institution of Fisk University, where he excelled. DuBois, ever the supremely persistent, confident, ambitious person that he was, turned right around and took his behind to his unfinished business of graduating from Harvard, where he was allowed to enter as a junior, and ultimately graduated. He went on to graduate school in Germany, at a time when the University of Berlin was considered several levels above the level of Harvard. Imagine going to Germany, having to speak an unknown foreign tongue, then having to perform in that foreign tongue at what is considered the highest levels of academic life--that is what DuBois did, and once again, he excelled. He did so well, that his fellowship was cut off "because he was receiving (in the eyes of the White Gatekeepers) an education that was too high for a Negro." Oh well, guess what? DuBois would have to settle and compromise.Read more ›
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