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The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons,…

The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to…

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Very intimate look into black life in the 80s from a very persona perspective. At times the references to Black writers and rap and hip-hop artists is overwhelming, and at times I had to look up some of the slang, but it is very worth reading. Coates could have turned out very differently, as simply another statistic in the sad history of inner city Black life, but fortunately he made it into adulthood with the ability to write. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
This is one of those books that I picked based on a desire to read new authors and expand my reading list, and I was very glad to have chosen this title. It's a memoir about growing up in a black community in Maryland and gives great insight into a different America than the one I experienced as a child. The activities, hobbies, expectations, and roles for members of the family were nothing like the ones I knew in my youth, but these served the same purpose for the individuals in that environment. For example, although Coates grew up in a home with a lot of books (just as I did), the titles were very different from the ones on my parents' shelves, and these helped to shape his ideas. There are some commonalities in growing up (learning to accept responsibility, figuring out how you want to earn a living, etc), but the context in which these events takes place can have a huge impact on our identities. The writing in this book is excellent and Coates uses some great metaphors to really draw the reader into his story. I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Coates work. ( )
  Neftzger | Dec 13, 2016 |
You can hear the writer Coates became in this book, but its not fully formed. Coates is a great storyteller, but perhaps he doesn't have the gift of knowing when stories are goung to be interesting to others. This ended up being a loose collection of stories, some great and resonant with meaning, others best left to reunions of family or friends who share your love of nostalgia. ( )
  Narshkite | Aug 2, 2016 |
Ta'Nehisi Coates tells of his life in Baltimore growing up with his family in the ghetto. His father had been a member of the Black Panthers and raised his children to get knowledge by reading what most people did not know existed. I did not always understand what Ta'Nehisi was saying but I understood what his father was teaching him and his siblings. I also liked the history that we do not get in school. An interesting read. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Mar 17, 2016 |
Coates’ first book, about his upbringing—focusing on his black nationalist father whose commitment to the cause trumped many things. Coates seemed to me to have less control over his rhetoric here, writing with lots of flourish but less organization; it’s a very personal book, but I’d recommend his recent writing much more strongly. ( )
  rivkat | Mar 7, 2016 |
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This is for my mother,
Cheryl Waters
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When they caught us down on Charles Street, they were all that I'd heard.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385520360, Hardcover)

An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:08 -0400)

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A memoir of growing up in the tough world of Baltimore in the 1980s chronicles the relationship between the author and his father, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther affiliate, and his campaign to keep his sons from falling victim to the temptations of the streets.… (more)

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