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Black Boy: A Record of Youth and Childhood (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Richard Wright
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

17 Aug 2000 Vintage Classics
At four years of age, Richard Wright set fire to his home; at five his father deserted the family; by six Richard was - ­ temporarily - an alcoholic. Moved from home to home, from brick tenement to orphanage, he had had, by the age of twelve, only one year's formal education. It was in saloons, railroad yards and streets that he learned the facts about life under white subjection, about fear, hunger and hatred. Gradually he learned to play Jim Crow in order to survive in a world of white hostility, secretly satisfying his craving for books and knowledge until the time came when he could follow his dream of justice and opportunity in the north.

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Black Boy: A Record of Youth and Childhood (Vintage Classics) + Native Son (Vintage Classics) + Their Eyes Were Watching God
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (17 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099285061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099285069
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Before he was 40, Wright dominated literary America, publishing four books in seven years, each a triumph in its genre. His first novel, Native Son (1940), sold at the rate of 2,000 copies a day, making Wright the first best-selling black writer in the country's history. Black Boy (1945), his memoir of his Southern childhood, was a bigger success, selling more than a half-million copies" (New York Times)

"A compelling indictment of life in the Deep South between the wars" (Daily Telegraph)

"An angry chronicle of a bright black rebel growing up in the Jim Crow southlands: a landmark in the literature of Black America" (The Times)

Book Description

Richard Wright's memoir of his childhood as a young black boy in the American south of the 1920s and 30s sold more than half a million copies on first publication and is considered a classic of the genre.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and thought-provoking read... 8 Oct 2001
By Odin
Richard Wright's 'Black Boy' tells of Wright's childhood through to youth in early 1900s south America and his bitter struggle against abject poverty, the racial hatred of white people, a religion forced upon him that offered him neither solace nor faith and a family who didn't understand him. A powerful and raw autobiography that evokes every emotion from great sadness, fear and anger to love, compassion, trust and even humour. Tremendously well written - one of those books you'll find you won't be able to stop reading once you start - all the more moving for being a true and triumphant account of one boy's life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening 8 Nov 2010
Where to start? I am a very selective reader and mainly choose autobiographies. I was recommended to this book by someone I greatly respect. They were spot on.

It is very easy for all of us to take for granted the life we have. Some of us do not know how tough life can be. Richard Wright made me sit up and take notice. I was taken aback by this book and felt compelled to let everyone know that it is a fantastic insight of how bad life can be. Not only that, it also shows the inner strength to fight and come through the darkness, a stronger and better person.

I am not going to detail the stories within the book, I think it is for you to check it out. I was so impressed that I read it in just a day! It is witty, dark, thought provoking, sad and happy all rolled in to one. I promise you that you will not regret picking up this book, but will be disappointed when there are no more pages to read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best autobiography I have ever read 2 May 2001
By A Customer
Richard Wright's story of his life reads like a novel. Wright tells of the hardships he faced growing up in a racist society (South of the USA early 20th century). Although this is a very serious book, it has many humorous moments in it that lighten the mood. The work gives great insight into what it was like to be African American during the era Wright grew up in. This book is a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read 14 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I rarely revisit books I have read in the past but Richard Wright's style is captivating.
Black Boy was part of my reading list at university, but I would highly recommend both of his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Alison
I was encouraged to read this book along with Frederick Douglass's Narrative, by a US friend (a Professor of Drama and English Lit.), she told me it was prescribed reading in US schools.
The writer, Richard, is an unusual person, when he writes he has a more thoughtful attitude than that of his peers. He had very little formal education, and a life of constantly moving house, plus------- he had such a poor diet with terrible nutrition it is a miracle that it didn't have more of a physical and mental impact on him. Richard seemed to know that he had another destiny and that the menial jobs were not what he would settle for, nor to put up with with the bigotry from white people. He had great insight into the mentality of both races and as he progresses in life leaving behind his family you are aware that this was another remarkable person who became able to write about the attitudes of those living in Mississippi in the early part of the 20th century. It is an informative and compelling book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 23 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent read, great insight into life in the south from the black perspective. I Can't wait to read more of Wright's work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent biography 27 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What an absolutely terrible life mentally the black people must have had. Treated like animals.Horrendous to know that they were thought of in this way and led to believe that themselves
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 23 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very well written it should be read by all teenagers in the world specially those pampered boys that have everything. Inspiring!! Can't wait to read the second part you should inform everybody that this is only half the story
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present
Bought as a present for my daughter when she was tacking her Masters degree in English Literature and was one of the books she was required to read
Published 3 months ago by Mr F Pine
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping portrait of the disastrous consequences of the frustration of...
Maybe a little long, but an enlightening picture of the disastrous effects of being unequipped to deal with new situations and unknown social conventions. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J Goldsmith
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Wright saw far ahead of his time
Richard Wright is telling his personal story from birth in the South to May Day 1936 in Chicago. And he is telling this story in the first person singular using his own name and we... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jacques COULARDEAU
5.0 out of 5 stars must-read
The reason why I picked this book up is because it is Bildungsroman, a literary genre which I am doing research on. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Achry
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I read this book repeatedly as a young teenager and was riveted by it every time. I can remember feeling great sadness when reading it and also even laughing at some points. Read more
Published 20 months ago by me
5.0 out of 5 stars The struggle to survive in the American South
Richard Wright's autobiography begins with his setting fire to his own house at age four, the result of a bored and fractious mood. And his troubles don't end there... Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2012 by Scarficus
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Published in 1945, the autobiography of Richard Wright Black Boy was originally going to be told in two parts. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2011 by J. Willis
4.0 out of 5 stars Speedy delivery, great condition
One of my all time favourite books and so pleased to receive it so fast and in such pristine condition. Well recommended.
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by Amazon Customer
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