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Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver

Soul on Ice (1968)

by Eldridge Cleaver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Fantasticly written description of time spent in jail by the author, with analysis of political and social consequences. Eldridge Cleaver was founding member of Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA ( )
  atufft | Jul 5, 2019 |
How in the world am I supposed to rate this using stars? Here's my review instead: https://wp.me/p4LPys-mh.
  KatrinkaV | Mar 3, 2019 |
It is difficult to give a rating to this book without also assessing Eldridge as a person. ( )
1 vote abergsman | Mar 20, 2018 |
This is a short book of loosely related ideas by an ex-convict. Soul on Ice is Cleaver’s attempt to understand who he was as a black American growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.. I wouldn't recommend this book as it is very sexist, misogynistic and violent. The conclusion tries to make amends with black women but I’m not sure it succeeds.
The title refers to the Black Man’s existence while under racial, economic and sexual domination by White Men as seen through Cleaver’s personal experience in and out of jail. He was jailed for marijuana possession then went on to rape.
The book offers more than you might imagine but I’m not sure it would justify a reading unless you are into ethnic studies, detention ministry, or 1960s literature.
Years ago, I found a hard cover copy which had photos but I sold it figuring I’d never get around to having the time to read it. I came across this paperback copy and read it. I remember among the hardcover version a photo of Cleaver’s confirmation certificate from when he was in juvenile hall at Los Padrinos, Downey. That facility happens to still exist. I work with other juvenile hall inmates and lived next door to Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles. Cleaver talks about what happened during that time and how he became disgusted with the priest giving the sacramental preparation classes. He turned to atheism and then Marxist thought. That led him to National of Islam racist conspiracy theories. Most of Soul on Ice are his own additions to the Nation of Islam views on race hatred of all White People. His exposure to Thomas Merton the Catholic monastic led him reject religion once and for all. Cleaver understood Merton’s thoughts on monasticism to be identical to that of his own prison life. Cleaver never goes back to any type of religious orientation except for African tribal elements.
This book was published in 1968, the same year as the major Tet Offensive in Vietnam which made most television watching Americans, like Cronkite; turn against Westmoreland’s command of the military. The Assassinations of King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy followed Malcom X’s earlier death in 1965. This book is dripping in anger and frustration with no way to make sense of civic life as lived by African Americans during the Vietnam War.
The Russians were actually able to influence the Vietnam War through funding dissident groups like the communist party and Black Panthers as they called the war unlawful and changed media coverage since the Russians wanted to the US leave the country so that the North Vietnamese could easily conquer the south. We know this from the FBI files on their monitoring of subversives. Cleaver’s thinking is exacting what the Russians were hoping to spread within the US.
Cleaver spends a lot of time criticizing James Baldwin’s writing and revering the memory of Malcom X after Malcom had left Elijah Mohammed’s Nation of Islam. Cleaver’s early life was spent in Watts, Los Angeles until he went to state prison. Julius Erving (Dr. J) says in his autobiography Erving that he when he first met Lew Alcindor on the blacktop basketball court, Alcindor was reading Soul on Ice.
  sacredheart25 | Dec 18, 2017 |
I think this should be a high school must read. ( )
  JerseyGirl21 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eldridge Cleaverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Geismar, MaxwellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reed, IshmaelPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nineteen fifty-four, when I was eighteen years old, is held to be a crucial turning point in the history of the Afro-American--for the U.S.A. as a whole--the year segregation was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038533379X, Paperback)

The now-classic memoir that shocked, outraged, and ultimately changed the way America looked at the civil rights movement and the black experience.

By turns shocking and lyrical, unblinking and raw, the searingly honest memoirs of Eldridge Cleaver are a testament to his unique place in American history. Cleaver writes in Soul on Ice, "I'm perfectly aware that I'm in prison, that I'm a Negro, that I've been a rapist, and that I have a Higher Uneducation." What Cleaver shows us, on the pages of this now classic autobiography, is how much he was a man.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

By turns shocking and lyrical, unblinking and raw, the searingly honest memoirs of Eldridge Cleaver are a testament to his unique place in American history.

» see all 4 descriptions

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