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Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,7423131,348 (4.37)420
"For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of? In Tremble for My Country, Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings -- moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police. In his trademark style -- a mix of lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, essayistic argument, and reportage -- Coates provides readers a thrillingly illuminating new framework for understanding race: its history, our contemporary dilemma, and where we go from here"--… (more)
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» See also 420 mentions

English (307)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Piratical (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (313)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
I listened to the Audio version of this book read by the author. It is a short book with a profound message that cannot be taken lightly. I listened and re-listened to some passages to get as much as possible of the references.

The book is a letter from the author to his Samari, it details the singularity of the black experience in America and emphasizes the struggle to protect the "black body" from plunder. It is an important piece of writing that should be read by anyone who needs to know why the slogan "black lives matter" is important.

Even for someone from a completely different background, the author makes you feel deeply what it is like to be born black. Young people who hide behind swagger talk and violence, to compensate for their own vulnerability. The tragedy of those promising lives cut short by the prejudice of a police force (white and black) that shoots first and asks questions later. Anyone who has been subjected to injustice can relate to this and it is an important testimony to the enduring struggle of African Americans.
( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
This book is an intense, compelling, and excellent read. It is not intended to make you feel comfortable about the state of race in America—and indeed, will probably make you feel uncomfortable about it—but it does give you an incredibly important perspective that helps you better understand the issues we are facing.

Written as a letter from Coates to his then-teenage son, Coates offers a unique and powerful perspective of what it means to be Black in America. Drawing from his own perspectives growing up in Baltimore, attending Howard University, and eventually moving to New York, Coates discusses at length the struggles that he, and many Black Americans have with fear and an inability to completely control their own bodies and destiny.

Coates does not shy away frown discussing issues like violence, police brutality and discrimination, the failure of various systems, and various cultural problems (including a poignant comparison of America with France, for both better and worse). At times, Coates writes as one who is genuinely in despair, indicating that he has little hope that these problems will be solved. But, he also acknowledges the need for his son—and all of us—to persist in that struggle.

As one who grew up in a poor, racially diverse community where violence and discrimination were a daily fact of life, there is much of this that rings true and familiar to me. But as a White man who now lives in a middle class community, there are parts of Coates, story that seem like an entirely different world. Being able to read Coates’ intense and poignant description of that world made me feel uncomfortable at times (probably be design) but also gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of his perspective and the issues that exist in our society. Given all that, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in these issues or wants to gain a better understanding of that perspective. 4.5/5 stars. ( )
  bentleymitchell | Aug 27, 2021 |
I’ve known about the author for quite a while now and have listened to his interviews and speeches, always leaving very impressed by what he had to say. When his first fiction novel The Water Dancer released recently, I decided I wanted to read his award winning prolific nonfiction works first, to truly experience his voice. And what a revelation this book is.

Falling just around 150 pages, this book in the form of letters to his son may feel small but the words it contains are profound, unapologetic, visceral, and give us a window into a world that we’ll never truly understand because we have not been born Black and grown up in a country where our existence revolves around fear and survival right from our birth. As a reader with an outside perspective, this book is at times uncomfortable to read, but if one is open to listening to experiences that one has never had, then anyone reading this book will realize the inherent brutal truth behind the author’s words. It is the truth of America’s violent history and it’s present, the truth that is the daily life of a whole community terrorized by the system that is supposed to protect its citizens, even when all of us with privilege can never fathom the toll of living like that.

The main audience for this book maybe the Black community, but I think it’s far more important for everyone else to read it. We may never understand the fears of every Black parent who have to teach their sons how to survive from an unimaginably young age, but we all have the responsibility to learn about it and acknowledge our privilege and be an ally in whatever way possible. I say this as a brown woman who grew up with privilege in my own country, and while I do get terrified at a traffic stop in the US, I also understand that the so-called “model minority” myth might accord me some safety. This is a powerful book and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read more about the inescapable systems of oppression in the country. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSsEs__ll07/

Te-Nehisi Coates - Between the World and Me: The poetry of his words draws you deeper into his narrative. At times, I wondered if he was repeating himself, but in the end realized his varying descriptions provided an opportunity to understand racism on multiple levels. #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | Aug 17, 2021 |
I couldn’t get into this book. Not sure it’s because of my skin color or the time of year.
  janismack | Aug 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
Between the World and Me is, in important ways, a book written toward white Americans, and I say this as one them. White Americans may need to read this book more urgently and carefully than anyone, and their own sons and daughters need to read it as well. This is not to say this is a book about white people, but rather that it is a terrible mistake for anyone to assume that this is just a book about nonwhite people. In the broadest terms Between the World and Me is about the cautious, tortured, but finally optimistic belief that something beyond these categories persists. Implicit in this book’s existence is a conviction that people are fundamentally reachable, perhaps not all of them but enough, that recognition and empathy are within grasp, that words and language are capable of changing people, even if—especially if—those words are not ones people prefer to hear.
added by elenchus | editslate.com, Jack Hamilton (Jul 9, 2015)
 
In the scant space of barely 160 pages, Atlantic national correspondent Coates (The Beautiful Struggle) has composed an immense, multifaceted work. This is a poet's book, revealing the sensibility of a writer to whom words—exact words—matter....It's also a journalist's book, not only because it speaks so forcefully to issues of grave interest today, but because of its close attention to fact...As a meditation on race in America, haunted by the bodies of black men, women, and children, Coates's compelling, indeed stunning, work is rare in its power to make you want to slow down and read every word. This is a book that will be hailed as a classic of our time.
added by theaelizabet | editPublishers Weekly
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ta-Nehisi Coatesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cornets de Groot, Rutger H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cunningham, CarolineDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mollica, GregCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And one morning while in the woods I stumbled suddenly upon the thing,

Stumbled upon it in a grassy clearing guarded by scaly oaks and elms

And the sooty details of the scene rose, thrusting themselves between the world and me...


—Richard Wright
Dedication
For David and Kenyatta,
who believed
First words
Son,
Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

"For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of? In Tremble for My Country, Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings -- moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police. In his trademark style -- a mix of lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, essayistic argument, and reportage -- Coates provides readers a thrillingly illuminating new framework for understanding race: its history, our contemporary dilemma, and where we go from here"--

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