Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Monographs, United States, Women on 2018-03-18 00:23Z by Steven

Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad

W. W. Norton & Company
February 2018
352 pages
5.9 Ă— 8.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-60926-4

Krystal A. Sital

An eloquent new Caribbean literary voice reveals the hidden trauma and fierce resilience of one Trinidadian family.

There, in a lush landscape of fire-petaled immortelle trees and vast plantations of coffee and cocoa, where the three hills along the southern coast act as guardians against hurricanes, Krystal A. Sital grew up idolizing her grandfather, a wealthy Hindu landowner. Years later, to escape crime and economic stagnation on the island, the family resettled in New Jersey, where Krystal’s mother works as a nanny, and the warmth of Trinidad seems a pretty yet distant memory. But when her grandfather lapses into a coma after a fall at home, the women he has terrorized for decades begin to speak, and a brutal past comes to light.

In the lyrical patois of her mother and grandmother, Krystal learns the long-held secrets of their family’s past, and what it took for her foremothers to survive and find strength in themselves. The relief of sharing their stories draws the three women closer, the music of their voices and care for one another easing the pain of memory.

Violence, a rigid ethnic and racial caste system, and a tolerance of domestic abuse—the harsh legacies of plantation slavery—permeate the history of Trinidad. On the island’s plantations, in its growing cities, and in the family’s new home in America, Secrets We Kept tells a story of ambition and cruelty, endurance and love, and most of all, the bonds among women and between generations that help them find peace with the past.

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The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-17 20:31Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

W. W. Norton & Company
2016-06-14
368 pages
6.1 Ă— 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-23925-6

Karl Jacoby, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

  • Winner of the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Award for nonfiction from the Harlem Book Fair

A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur.

A black child born in the twilight of slavery, William Henry Ellis inhabited a world of fraught, ambiguous racial categories on the anarchic border between the United States and Mexico. He adopted the name Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and passed as a Mexican: traveling as Hispanic in first-class train berths, staying in the finest hotels, and eating in leading restaurants. A shrewd businessman, he became fabulously wealthy and found himself involved in scandalous trials, unexpected disappearances, and diplomatic controversies. Constantly switching identities, Eliseo was a genius at identifying and exploiting the porousness of the color line and the border line.

Through Ellis’s picaresque biography, Karl Jacoby presents an intriguing narrative set in a secret and ever-changing world. The Strange Career of William Ellis reinterprets the borderlands, showing how U.S. and Mexican histories intertwined during Reconstruction, and he offers new insight into the arbitrary and evolving definitions of race in America.

Visit the website here.

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The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States, Women on 2016-04-02 18:07Z by Steven

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde

W. W. Norton & Company
February 2000
512 pages
6.2 Ă— 9.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-31972-9

Audre Lorde (1934-1992)

A complete collection—over 300 poems—from one of this country’s most influential poets.

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Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-11-03 01:28Z by Steven

Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American

Liveright (an imprint of W. W. Norton & Company)
November 2015
320 pages
9.4 Ă— 12.4 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87140-468-8

John Stauffer, Professor of English, American studies, and African American Studies
Harvard University

Zoe Trodd, Professor of American Literature
Department of American and Canadian Studies
University of Nottingham

Celeste-Marie Bernier, Professor of African American Studies
Department of American and Canadian Studies
University of Nottingham

A landmark and collectible volume—beautifully produced in duotone—that canonizes Frederick Douglass through historic photography.

Picturing Frederick Douglass is a work that promises to revolutionize our knowledge of race and photography in nineteenth-century America. Teeming with historical detail, it is filled with surprises, chief among them the fact that neither George Custer nor Walt Whitman, and not even Abraham Lincoln, was the most photographed American of that century. In fact, it was Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the ex-slave turned leading abolitionist, eloquent orator, and seminal writer whose fiery speeches transformed him into one of the most renowned and popular agitators of his age. Now, as a result of the groundbreaking research of John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier, Douglass emerges as a leading pioneer in photography, both as a stately subject and as a prescient theorist who believed in the explosive social power of what was then just a nascent art form.

Indeed, Frederick Douglass was in love with photography. During the four years of Civil War, he wrote more extensively on the subject than any other American, even while recognizing that his audiences were “riveted” by the war and wanted a speech only on “this mighty struggle.” He frequented photographers’ studios regularly and sat for his portrait whenever he could. To Douglass, photography was the great “democratic art” that would finally assert black humanity in place of the slave “thing” and at the same time counter the blackface minstrelsy caricatures that had come to define the public perception of what it meant to be black. As a result, his legacy is inseparable from his portrait gallery, which contains 160 separate photographs.

At last, all of these photographs have been collected into a single volume, giving us an incomparable visual biography of a man whose prophetic vision and creative genius knew no bounds. Chronologically arranged and generously captioned, from the first picture taken in around 1841 to the last in 1895, each of the images—many published here for the first time—emphasizes Douglass’s evolution as a man, artist, and leader. Also included are other representations of Douglass during his lifetime and after—such as paintings, statues, and satirical cartoons—as well as Douglass’s own writings on visual aesthetics, which have never before been transcribed from his own handwritten drafts.

The comprehensive introduction by the authors, along with headnotes for each section, an essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an afterword by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.—a direct Douglass descendent—provide the definitive examination of Douglass’s intellectual, philosophical, and political relationships to aesthetics. Taken together, this landmark work canonizes Frederick Douglass through a form he appreciated the most: photography.

Featuring:

  • Contributions from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. (a direct Douglass descendent)
  • 160 separate photographs of Douglass—many of which have never been publicly seen and were long lost to history
  • A collection of contemporaneous artwork that shows how powerful Douglass’s photographic legacy remains today, over a century after his death
  • All Douglass’s previously unpublished writings and speeches on visual aesthetics
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The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-04-01 17:50Z by Steven

The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey

W. W. Norton & Company
June 1999
208 pages
5.1 Ă— 8 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-31901-9

Toi Derricotte, Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Black Notebooks is one of the most extraordinary and courageous accounts of race in this country, seen through the eyes of a light-skinned black woman and a respected American poet. It challenges all our preconceived notions of what it means to be black or white, and what it means to be human.

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Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2015-01-25 02:11Z by Steven

Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
January 2015
336 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-06301-1
6.6 Ă— 9.6 in

Marie Mutsuki Mockett

How does one cope with overwhelming grief?

Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s family owns a Buddhist temple 25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In March 2011, after the earthquake and tsunami, radiation levels prohibited the burial of her Japanese grandfather’s bones. As Japan mourned thousands of people lost in the disaster, Mockett also grieved for her American father, who had died unexpectedly.

Seeking consolation, Mockett is guided by a colorful cast of Zen priests and ordinary Japanese who perform rituals that disturb, haunt, and finally uplift her. Her journey leads her into the radiation zone in an intricate white hazmat suit; to Eiheiji, a school for Zen Buddhist monks; on a visit to a Crab Lady and Fuzzy-Headed Priest’s temple on Mount Doom; and into the “thick dark” of the subterranean labyrinth under Kiyomizu temple, among other twists and turns. From the ecstasy of a cherry blossom festival in the radiation zone to the ghosts inhabiting chopsticks, Mockett writes of both the earthly and the sublime with extraordinary sensitivity. Her unpretentious and engaging voice makes her the kind of companion a reader wants to stay with wherever she goes, even into the heart of grief itself.

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William Wells Brown: An African American Life

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2014-10-24 20:15Z by Steven

William Wells Brown: An African American Life

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
October 2014
624 pages
6.6 Ă— 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-24090-0

Ezra Greenspan, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of English
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

A groundbreaking biography of the most pioneering and accomplished African-American writer of the nineteenth century.

Born into slavery in Kentucky, raised on the Western frontier on the farm adjacent to Daniel Boone’s, “rented” out in adolescence to a succession of steamboat captains on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the young man known as “Sandy” reinvented himself as “William Wells” Brown after escaping to freedom. He lifted himself out of illiteracy and soon became an innovative, widely admired, and hugely popular speaker on antislavery circuits (both American and British) and went on to write the earliest African American works in a plethora of genres: travelogue, novel (the now canonized Clotel), printed play, and history. He also practiced medicine, ran for office, and campaigned for black uplift, temperance, and civil rights.

Ezra Greenspan’s masterful work, elegantly written and rigorously researched, sets Brown’s life in the richly rendered context of his times, creating a fascinating portrait of an inventive writer who dared to challenge the racial orthodoxies and explore the racial complexities of nineteenth-century America.

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The Collected Poems of Ai

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Poetry on 2014-05-08 19:42Z by Steven

The Collected Poems of Ai

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
February 2013
464 pages
6.6 Ă— 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-07490-1

Ai

With an Introduction by:

Yusef Komunyakaa, Global Distinguished Professor of English
New York University

Before her untimely death in 2010, Ai, known for her searing dramatic monologues, was hailed as “one of the most singular voices of her generation” (New York Times Book Review). Now for the first time, all eight books by this essential and uniquely American poet have been gathered in one volume.

from “The Cockfighter’s Daughter”

I found my father,
face down, in his homemade chili
and had to hit the bowl
with a hammer to get it off,
then scrape the pinto beans
and chunks of ground beef
off his face with a knife.

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The Mismeasure of Man

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2013-04-15 01:41Z by Steven

The Mismeasure of Man

W. W. Norton & Company
June 1996 (Originally published in 1981)
448 pages
5.5 Ă— 8.3 in
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-31425-0

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology
Harvard University

The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.

When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits.

 Yet the idea of biology as destiny dies hard, as witness the attention devoted to The Bell Curve, whose arguments are here so effectively anticipated and thoroughly undermined. In this edition, Stephen Jay Gould has written a substantial new introduction telling how and why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy on innateness right through The Bell Curve. Further, he has added five essays on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general. These additions strengthen the book’s claim to be, as Leo J. Kamin of Princeton University has said, “a major contribution toward deflating pseudo-biological ‘explanations’ of our present social woes.”

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The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2013-03-30 04:12Z by Steven

The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West

W. W. Norton & Company
October 2013
352 pages
6.1 Ă— 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87140-445-9

Andrew R. Graybill, Associate Professor of History
Southern Methodist University

One of the American West’s bloodiest—and least-known—massacres is searingly re-created in this generation-spanning history of native-white intermarriage.

National Book Award–winning histories such as The Hemingses of Monticello and Slaves in the Family have raised our awareness about America’s intimately mixed black and white past. Award-winning western historian Andrew R. Graybill now sheds light on the overlooked interracial Native-white relationships critical in the development of the trans-Mississippi West in this multigenerational saga. Beginning in 1844 with the marriage of Montana fur trader Malcolm Clarke and his Piegan Blackfeet bride, Coth-co-co-na, Graybill traces the family from the mid-nineteenth century, when such mixed marriages proliferated, to the first half of the twentieth, when Clarke ’s children and grandchildren often encountered virulent prejudice. At the center of Graybill’s history is the virtually unexamined 1870 Marias Massacre, on a par with the more infamous slaughters at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, an episode set in motion by the murder of Malcolm Clarke and in which Clarke ’s two sons rode with the Second U.S. Cavalry to kill their own blood relatives.

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