Between The World And Me: Notes On The First 150 Years In America by Ta-nehisi CoatesBetween The World And Me: Notes On The First 150 Years In America by Ta-nehisi Coatessticker-burst

Between The World And Me: Notes On The First 150 Years In America

byTa-nehisi Coates

Hardcover | July 14, 2015

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Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer)

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Praise for Between the World and Me

“Powerful . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Eloquent . . . in the tradition of James Baldwin with echoes of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man . . . an autobiography of the black body in America.”The Boston Globe

“Brilliant . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders.”The Washington Post

“Urgent, lyrical, and devastating . . . a new classic of our time.”Vogue

“A crucial book during this moment of generational awakening.”The New Yorker

“Titanic and timely . . . essential reading.”Entertainment Weekly
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. His book Between the World and Me won the National Book Award in 2015. Coates is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.
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Title:Between The World And Me: Notes On The First 150 Years In AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 7.6 × 5.2 × 0.7 inPublished:July 14, 2015Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812993543

ISBN - 13:9780812993547

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from powerful & honest I was in tears by page 9 - Coates' honest and frank look at the history that has shaped the present and will shape the future is incredibly powerful, thoughtful, and real. A must read for all
Date published: 2018-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pessimistic Coates is a fantastic writer, but this is not one of his best works. The substance is devoid of hope and often lacks historical context (the gradual improvement in standards of living, etc.). He ascribes too much power to identity, portraying race as determinative, thereby depriving individuals of their agency. The end result is a rather myopic depiction of society. It is a well written and profoundly personal letter, but offers little insight into modern USA society.
Date published: 2018-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is an important book, and I wish that it were required reading for all high schoolers!
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cutting and powerful. Recommended it to everyone I know.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mandatory Reading This book is an exceptionally vivid and poignant window into the experience of being black in America. This is a must-read book!
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A highly necessary read This book is exceptional and important, something everyone should read no matter their race. In it Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a letter to his son about the realities of being black in America. He really allows himself to be vulnerable in sharing both his struggles and dreams so that he can link them to the bigger picture.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story! I'm so happy I came across this book, it tells a significant story! I would recommend anyone to read this
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential read Recommended reading for people of all races in North America, but especially to those raising Black children.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read This is required reading. Though it surrounds America, that doesn't make me not believe that this can happen anywhere else in the world. Nonfiction and definitely accessible to any reader since this open letter to his son surely seems as though he's having a conversation with you about his life, struggles, but more importantly his race that is still discriminated from my view. It may have been published last year, but I find it just as relevant today. I hope others read this and together we can all make changes in progress.
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book just floored me. I cannot convey to you how exquisite Coates' writing is; it's beautiful, that's almost indubitable, but it's also unflinching and raw in a way that I've never read before. Honestly, I just want to quote this book in its entirety because every single one of its lines was brimming with pathos and absolute verbal precision. It's a short book, but it is nothing if not a force of its own. I listened to it on audiobook while walking to class, and there were some passages that just left me thinking a single, emphatic SHIT. Lines that cut me to my very core, left me ruminating in sheer awe of what I'd just read. Needless to say, Between the World and Me was an experience. Eye-opening, yes, but also humbling, intimate, unabashed
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Provides lots of food for thought
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should Be Required Reading! One of the best books I have ever read, I truly cannot recommend this book enough!
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Inspiring Very Inspiring and great book to read
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing book Very well written and very informative. It is a beautiful book and a must read.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good read excellent, and well written.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent quick read This was a quick read that will pick up again sometime for sure. Coates talks at lengh about growing as a person of color. Can't recommend this enough.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible I've read this book a few times. It is beautifully written with a powerful and poignant message, highly recommended
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written Coates beautifully illustrates the world he grew up in, the world that some of us turn a blind eye to. Very compelling, a must read for sure!
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well Written But One Sided Coates is a fantastic writer and makes excellent use of the letter format in which he writes this memoir. The way in which he jumps between his past experiences and his current thoughts on racism in america is very easy to follow and enjoyable to read. I feel that at times his expressions of racism and how it is expressed in society is one sided and purposefully ignores some parts of the big picture, but being that this is a memoir I cannot fault him for sharing his thoughts as he sees them.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read The content of this book is so important. The letter style, that at times can feel like a run on sentence, may be a struggle for some, but reading this book well worth it.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Memoir The powerful narrative voice makes this book a quick read. Coates writes very passionately and the book is captivating and often heartbreaking. Everyone should read this book at some point in their lives. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'm speechless This book gets right at my heart. It's one that leads you to engage in a continuous cycle of examination and re-examination of his words, your thoughts, your thoughts on those thoughts, etc. I highly recommend this book and believe that everyone should give it a read.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Reading In a word, incredible. I blew through this book. The picture he paints is powerful and inspiring and tragic.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the most important books I've ever read. It is beyond my abilities to describe my reaction to this book. I can describe how it made me, a privileged white Canadian woman, feel: overwhelmed, touched, terrified, angry, guilty, helpless, conscious, at a loss. I have often felt this way, but then I forget and move on and go back to my world because it's easy. That is privilege. That is the action of a Dreamer. I do not want to be a Dreamer and that is what I will remember when I make choices moving forward. Read this book, if you haven't already. Its effect is profound.
Date published: 2015-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Racism, Classicism and So Much More I started reading the book last night and I couldn't put it down so I finish it in one go. This is the best book I've read so far this year. It’s poignant, powerful, bold, controversial, relevant, poetic and the writing flows beautifully. It’s a letter to his son, of a life of a black man who grew up and living in America, himself. It’s a letter no parent should have to write to their child. It’s brutally honest and painful, but the reality is that it is the kind of letter a parent must write to their child because they love them. There are so many quotes and moments in this book that I loved. Here is little excerpt: "I love you, and I love the world, and I love it more with every new inch I discover. But you are a black boy, and you must be responsible for your body in a way that other boys cannot know. Indeed, you must be responsible for the worst actions of other black bodies, which somehow, will always be assigned to you."
Date published: 2015-10-16

Read from the Book

I.. . . we sprawl in gray chains in a place full of winters when what we want is the sunAmira Baraka, “Ka Ba”Son,Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body. The host was broadcasting from Washington, D.C., and I was seated in a remote studio on the far west side of Manhattan. A satellite closed the miles between us, but no machinery could close the gap between her world and the world for which I had been summoned to speak. When the host asked me about my body, her face faded from the screen, and was replaced by a scroll of words, written by me earlier that week.The host read these words for the audience, and when she finished she turned to the subject of my body, although she did not mention it specifically. But by now I am accustomed to intelligent people asking about the condition of my body without realizing the nature of their request. Specifically, the host wished to know why I felt that white America’s progress, or rather the progress of those Americans who believe that they are white, was built on looting and violence. Hearing this, I felt an old and indistinct sadness well up in me. The answer to this question is the rec­ord of the believers themselves. The answer is American history.There is nothing extreme in this statement. Americans deify democracy in a way that allows for a dim awareness that they have, from time to time, stood in defiance of their God. But democracy is a forgiving God and America’s heresies—­torture, theft, enslavement—­are so common among individuals and nations that none can declare themselves immune. In fact, Americans, in a real sense, have never betrayed their God. When Abraham Lincoln declared, in 1863, that the battle of Gettysburg must ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” he was not merely being aspirational; at the onset of the Civil War, the United States of America had one of the highest rates of suffrage in the world. The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant “government of the people” but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term “people” to actually mean. In 1863 it did not mean your mother or your grandmother, and it did not mean you and me. Thus America’s problem is not its betrayal of “government of the people,” but the means by which “the people” acquired their names.This leads us to another equally important ideal, one that Americans implicitly accept but to which they make no conscious claim. Americans believe in the reality of “race” as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism—­the need to ascribe bone-­deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them—­inevitably follows from this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—­this is the new idea at the heart of this new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.These new people are, like us, a modern invention. But unlike us, their new name has no real meaning divorced from the machinery of criminal power. The new people were something else before they were white—­Catholic, Corsican, Welsh, Mennonite, Jewish—­and if all our national hopes have any fulfillment, then they will have to be something else again. Perhaps they will truly become American and create a nobler basis for their myths. I cannot call it. As for now, it must be said that the process of washing the disparate tribes white, the elevation of the belief in being white, was not achieved through wine tastings and ice cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor, and land; through the flaying of backs; the chaining of limbs; the strangling of dissidents; the destruction of families; the rape of mothers; the sale of children; and various other acts meant, first and foremost, to deny you and me the right to secure and govern our own bodies.The new people are not original in this. Perhaps there has been, at some point in history, some great power whose elevation was exempt from the violent exploitation of other human bodies. If there has been, I have yet to discover it. But this banality of violence can never excuse America, because America makes no claim to the banal. America believes itself exceptional, the greatest and noblest nation ever to exist, a lone champion standing between the white city of democracy and the terrorists, despots, barbarians, and other enemies of civilization. One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error. I propose to take our countrymen’s claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard. This is difficult because there exists, all around us, an apparatus urging us to accept American innocence at face value and not to inquire too much. And it is so easy to look away, to live with the fruits of our history and to ignore the great evil done in all of our names. But you and I have never truly had that luxury. I think you know.I write you in your fifteenth year. I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; because you know now that Renisha McBride was shot for seeking help, that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a twelve-­year-­old child whom they were oath-­bound to protect. And you have seen men in the same uniforms pummel Marlene Pinnock, someone’s grandmother, on the side of a road. And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction springs from a foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without the proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Resent the people trying to entrap your body and it can be destroyed. Turn into a dark stairwell and your body can be destroyed. The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations. All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.There is nothing uniquely evil in these destroyers or even in this moment. The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy. It is hard to face this. But all our phrasing—­race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—­serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.That Sunday, with that host, on that news show, I tried to explain this as best I could within the time allotted. But at the end of the segment, the host flashed a widely shared picture of an eleven-­year-­old black boy tearfully hugging a white police officer. Then she asked me about “hope.” And I knew then that I had failed. And I remembered that I had expected to fail. And I wondered again at the indistinct sadness welling up in me. Why exactly was I sad? I came out of the studio and walked for a while. It was a calm December day. Families, believing themselves white, were out on the streets. Infants, raised to be white, were bundled in strollers. And I was sad for these people, much as I was sad for the host and sad for all the people out there watching and reveling in a specious hope. I realized then why I was sad. When the journalist asked me about my body, it was like she was asking me to awaken her from the most gorgeous dream. I have seen that dream all my life. It is perfect houses with nice lawns. It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies. And knowing this, knowing that the Dream persists by warring with the known world, I was sad for the host, I was sad for all those families, I was sad for my country, but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you.That was the week you learned that the killers of Michael Brown would go free. The men who had left his body in the street like some awesome declaration of their inviolable power would never be punished. It was not my expectation that anyone would ever be punished. But you were young and still believed. You stayed up till 11 p.m. that night, waiting for the announcement of an indictment, and when instead it was announced that there was none you said, “I’ve got to go,” and you went into your room, and I heard you crying. I came in five minutes after, and I didn’t hug you, and I didn’t comfort you, because I thought it would be wrong to comfort you. I did not tell you that it would be okay, because I have never believed it would be okay. What I told you is what your grandparents tried to tell me: that this is your country, that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it. I tell you now that the question of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the Dream, is the question of my life, and the pursuit of this question, I have found, ultimately answers itself.This must seem strange to you. We live in a “goal-­oriented” era. Our media vocabulary is full of hot takes, big ideas, and grand theories of everything. But some time ago I rejected magic in all its forms. This rejection was a gift from your grandparents, who never tried to console me with ideas of an afterlife and were skeptical of preordained American glory. In accepting both the chaos of history and the fact of my total end, I was freed to truly consider how I wished to live—­specifically, how do I live free in this black body? It is a profound question because America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men. I have asked the question through my reading and writings, through the music of my youth, through arguments with your grandfather, with your mother, your aunt Janai, your uncle Ben. I have searched for answers in nationalist myth, in classrooms, out on the streets, and on other continents. The question is unanswerable, which is not to say futile. The greatest reward of this constant interrogation, of confrontation with the brutality of my country, is that it has freed me from ghosts and girded me against the sheer terror of disembodiment.And I am afraid. I feel the fear most acutely whenever you leave me. But I was afraid long before you, and in this I was unoriginal. When I was your age the only people I knew were black, and all of them were powerfully, adamantly, dangerously afraid. I had seen this fear all my young life, though I had not always recognized it as such.It was always right in front of me. The fear was there in the extravagant boys of my neighborhood, in their large rings and medallions, their big puffy coats and full-­length fur-­collared leathers, which was their armor against their world. They would stand on the corner of Gwynn Oak and Liberty, or Cold Spring and Park Heights, or outside Mondawmin Mall, with their hands dipped in Russell sweats. I think back on those boys now and all I see is fear, and all I see is them girding themselves against the ghosts of the bad old days when the Mississippi mob gathered ’round their grandfathers so that the branches of the black body might be torched, then cut away. The fear lived on in their practiced bop, their slouching denim, their big T‑shirts, the calculated angle of their baseball caps, a catalog of behaviors and garments enlisted to inspire the belief that these boys were in firm possession of everything they desired.I saw it in their customs of war. I was no older than five, sitting out on the front steps of my home on Woodbrook Avenue, watching two shirtless boys circle each other close and buck shoulders. From then on, I knew that there was a ritual to a street fight, bylaws and codes that, in their very need, attested to all the vulnerability of the black teenage bodies.I heard the fear in the first music I ever knew, the music that pumped from boom boxes full of grand boast and bluster. The boys who stood out on Garrison and Liberty up on Park Heights loved this music because it told them, against all evidence and odds, that they were masters of their own lives, their own streets, and their own bodies. I saw it in the girls, in their loud laughter, in their gilded bamboo earrings that announced their names thrice over. And I saw it in their brutal language and hard gaze, how they would cut you with their eyes and destroy you with their words for the sin of playing too much. “Keep my name out your mouth,” they would say. I would watch them after school, how they squared off like boxers, vas­elined up, earrings off, Reeboks on, and leaped at each other.

Bookclub Guide

1. Between the World and Me has been called a book about race, but the author argues that race itself is a flawed, if not useless, concept—it is, if anything, nothing more than a pretext for racism. Early in the book he writes, “Race, is the child of racism, not the father.”  The idea of race has been so important in the history of America and in the self-identification of its people—and racial designations have literally marked the difference between life and death in some instances.  How does discrediting the idea of race as an immutable, unchangeable fact change the way we look at our history? Ourselves?   2. Fear is palpably described in the book’s opening section and shapes much of Coates’s sense of himself and the world. “When I was your age,” Coates writes to his son, “the only people I knew were black, and all of them were powerfully, adamantly, dangerously afraid.” How did this far inform and distort Coates’s life and way of looking at the world?  Is this kind of fear inevitable?  Can you relate to his experience? Why or why not?   3. The book—in the tradition of classic texts like Ranier Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet  to James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time—is written in the form of a letter. Why do you think Coates chose this literary device?  Did the intimacy of an address from a father to his son make you feel closer to the material or kept at a distance?   4. One can read Between the World and Me in many different ways. It may be seen as an exploration of the African American experience, the black American male experience, the experience of growing up in urban America; it can be read as a book about raising a child or being one. Which way of reading resonates most with you?   5. Coates repeatedly invokes the sanctity of the black “body” and describes the effects of racism in vivid, physical terms. He writes: “And so enslavement must be casual wrath and random manglings, the gashing of heads and brains blown out over the river as the body seeks to escape…There is no uplifting way to say this. I have no praise anthems, nor old Negro spirituals. The spirit and soul are the body and brain, which are destructive—that is precisely why they are so precious. And the soul did not escape. The spirit did not steal away on gospel wings.” Coates’s atheistic assertion that the soul and mind are not separate from the physical body is in conflict with the religious faith that has been so crucial to many African Americans. How does this belief affect his outlook on racial progress?    6. Coates is adamant that he is a writer, not an activist, but critics have argued that, given his expansive following and prominent position, he should be offering more solutions and trying harder to affect real change in American race relations. Do you think he holds any sort of responsibility to do so? Why or why not?   7. Some critics have argued that Between the World and Me lacks adequate representation of black women’s experiences. In her otherwise positive Los Angeles Times review, Rebecca Carroll writes: “What is less fine is the near-complete absence of black women throughout the book.” Do you think that the experience of women is erased in this book?  Do you think Coates had an obligation to include more stories of black women in the text?    8. While much of the book concerns fear and the haunting effects of violence, it also has moments where Coates explores moments of joy and his blossoming understanding of the meaning of love. What notions of hard-won joy and love does the book explore?  How do these episodes function in counterpoint to the book’s darker passages?   9. Do you think Between the World and Me leaves us with hope for race relations in America? Why or why not?  Do you think “hope” was what Coates was trying to convey to readers? If not, what are you left with at the end of the book?  If so, hope in what?  

Editorial Reviews

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.”—Toni Morrison “Powerful and passionate . . . profoundly moving . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “Really powerful and emotional.”—John Legend, The Wall Street Journal “Extraordinary . . . [Coates] writes an impassioned letter to his teenage son—a letter both loving and full of a parent’s dread—counseling him on the history of American violence against the black body, the young African-American’s extreme vulnerability to wrongful arrest, police violence, and disproportionate incarceration.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker “Brilliant . . . a riveting meditation on the state of race in America . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders, and it is something to behold: a mature writer entirely consumed by a momentous subject and working at the extreme of his considerable powers at the very moment national events most conform to his vision.”—The Washington Post “An eloquent blend of history, reportage, and memoir written in the tradition of James Baldwin with echoes of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man . . . It is less a typical memoir of a particular time and place than an autobiography of the black body in America. . . . Coates writes with tenderness, especially of his wife, child, and extended family, and with frankness. . . . Coates’s success, in this book and elsewhere, is due to his lucidity and innate dignity, his respect for himself and for others. He refuses to preach or talk down to white readers or to plead for acceptance: He never wonders why we just can’t all get along. He knows government policies make getting along near impossible.”—The Boston Globe “For someone who proudly calls himself an atheist, Coates gives us a whole lot of ‘Can I get an amen?’ in this slim and essential volume of familial joy and rigorous struggle. . . . [He] has become the most sought-after public intellectual on the issue of race in America, with good reason. Between the World and Me . . . is at once a magnification and a distillation of our existence as black people in a country we were not meant to survive. It is a straight tribute to our strength, endurance and grace. . . . [Coates] speaks resolutely and vividly to all of black America.”—Los Angeles Times “A crucial book during this moment of generational awakening.”—The New Yorker “A work that’s both titanic and timely, Between the World and Me is the latest essential reading in America’s social canon.”—Entertainment Weekly “Coates delivers a beautiful lyrical call for consciousness in the face of racial discrimination in America. . . . Between the World and Me is in the same mode of The Fire Next Time; it is a book designed to wake you up. . . . An exhortation against blindness.”—The Guardian “Coates has crafted a deeply moving and poignant letter to his own son. . . . [His] book is a compelling mix of history, analysis and memoir. Between the World and Me is a much-needed artifact to document the times we are living in [from] one of the leading public intellectuals of our generation. . . . The experience of having a sage elder speak directly to you in such lyrical, gorgeous prose—language bursting with the revelatory thought and love of black life—is a beautiful thing.”—The Root “Rife with love, sadness, anger and struggle, Between the World and Me charts a path through the American gauntlet for both the black child who will inevitably walk the world alone and for the black parent who must let that child walk away.”—Newsday “Poignant, revelatory and exceedingly wise, Between the World and Me is an essential clarion call to our collective conscience. We ignore it at our own peril.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Masterfully written . . . powerful storytelling.”—New York Post “One of the most riveting and heartfelt books to appear in some time . . . The book achieves a level of clarity and eloquence reminiscent of Ralph Ellison’s classic Invisible Man. . . . The perspective [Coates] brings to American life is one that no responsible citizen or serious scholar can safely ignore.”—Foreign Affairs “Urgent, lyrical, and devastating in its precision, Coates has penned a new classic of our time.”—Vogue “Powerful.”—The Economist “A work of rare beauty and revelatory honesty . . . Between the World and Me is a love letter written in a moral emergency, one that Coates exposes with the precision of an autopsy and the force of an exorcism. . . . Coates is frequently lauded as one of America’s most important writers on the subject of race today, but this in fact undersells him: Coates is one of America’s most important writers on the subject of America today. . . . [He’s] a polymath whose breadth of knowledge on matters ranging from literature to pop culture to French philosophy to the Civil War bleeds through every page of his book, distilled into profound moments of discovery, immensely erudite but never showy.”—Slate “The most important book I’ve read in years . . . an illuminating, edifying, educational, inspiring experience.”—Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center “It’s an indescribably enlightening, enraging, important document about being black in America today. Coates is perhaps the best we have, and this book is perhaps the best he’s ever been.”—Deadspin “Vital reading at this moment in America.”—U.S. News & World Report “[Coates] has crafted a highly provocative, thoughtfully presented, and beautifully written narrative. . . . Much of what Coates writes may be difficult for a majority of Americans to process, but that’s the incisive wisdom of it. Read it, think about it, take a deep breath and read it again. The spirit of James Baldwin lives within its pages.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Part memoir, part diary, and wholly necessary, it is precisely the document this country needs right now.”—New Republic “A moving testament to what it means to be black and an American in our troubled age . . . Between the World and Me feels of-the-moment, but like James Baldwin’s celebrated 1963 treatise The Fire Next Time, it stands to become a classic on the subject of race in America.”—The Seattle Times “Riveting . . . Coates delivers a fiery soliloquy dissecting the tradition of the erasure of African-Americans beginning with the deeply personal.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “[Between the World and Me] is not a Pollyanna, coming-of-age memoir about how idyllic life was growing up in America. It is raw. It is searing. . . . [It’s] a book that should be read and shared by everyone, as it is a story that painfully and honestly explores the age-old question of what it means to grow up black and male in America.”—The Baltimore Sun “A searing indictment of America’s legacy of violence, institutional and otherwise, against blacks.”—Chicago Tribune “I know that this book is addressed to the author’s son, and by obvious analogy to all boys and young men of color as they pass, inexorably, into harm’s way. I hope that I will be forgiven, then, for feeling that Ta-Nehisi Coates was speaking to me, too, one father to another, teaching me that real courage is the courage to be vulnerable, to admit having fallen short of the mark, to stay open-hearted and curious in the face of hate and lies, to remain skeptical when there is so much comfort in easy belief, to acknowledge the limits of our power to protect our children from harm and, hardest of all, to see how the burden of our need to protect becomes a burden on them, one that we must, sooner or later, have the wisdom and the awful courage to surrender.”—Michael Chabon “Ta-Nehisi Coates is the James Baldwin of our era, and this is his cri de coeur. A brilliant thinker at the top of his powers, he has distilled four hundred years of history and his own anguish and wisdom into a prayer for his beloved son and an invocation to the conscience of his country. Between the World and Me is an instant classic and a gift to us all.”—Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns