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Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Zora Neale Hurston , Maya Angelou
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“Warm, witty, imaginative. . . . This is a rich and winning book.”—The New Yorker

Dust Tracks on a Road is the bold, poignant, and funny autobiography of novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, one of American literature’s most compelling and influential authors. Hurston’s powerful novels of the South—including Jonah’s Gourd Vine and, most famously, Their Eyes Were Watching God—continue to enthrall readers with their lyrical grace, sharp detail, and captivating emotionality. First published in 1942, Dust Tracks on a Road is Hurston’s personal story, told in her own words. The Perennial Modern Classics Deluxe edition includes an all-new forward by Maya Angelou, an extended biography by Valerie Boyd, and a special P.S. section featuring the contemporary reviews that greeted the book’s original publication.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 602 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060921684
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reissue edition (13 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003JBI3AQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #282,368 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurston's Tracks 19 Nov. 2004
This autobiography is wonderful, not only because it gives a really good insight into the fictional novels of Zora Neale Hurton but also because she speaks for all women, black people and anyone who has ever suffered any kind of oppression in the past.
Its been a great help with my studies on "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and once you are aware of the events of her life, you get a little more from the book - it becomes another version of her life story - so they're definitely worth reading as a duo.
However, if you just love autobigraphies, Hurston has some great stories to tell (happy and sad) and so it's worth a read for whatever reason you were drawn to this book in the first place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Feb. 2015
great and prompt delivery too
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dust tracks on a road 15 Feb. 2012
By sue
This is a wonderful book, a must read. It also had good additional reader information at the back with a chronology and notes on the author and her life. Zorah Thurston is an amazing writer, profound, quirky and wry humour .
Totally recommend it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, thoughtful book. 7 Nov. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Calling forth her memories from within, spinning yarns of the deep south and beyond, Zora Neale Hurston weaves a tapestry of language in her autobiographical Dust Tracks on a Road. Reading the memoirs of this phenomenal woman with such a zest for life, a love of living, one cannot help but get swept away by her eloquent prose, swept away to her childhood in the south.
From her birthplace of Eatonville, Florida, "a pure Negro town", Zora sets out upon her road of life, one often paved with stones, with a smile on her face, and the will of an ox. Her often wicked sense of humor makes this woman's life seem not sad or depressing, but as fun as well as funny. Hurston sees every chance and takes it; sees every downfall as a challenge to be met. Such a will to live, but not just to live, but to live fully, and righteously-- this pure energy comes across in the book, leaping from the pages as if Zora were in the very room. "The primeval in me leaped to life", she recalled at one point, recounting another incident which would be mundane and dull to any other writer, but taken as a wild adventure by Zora.
This book is the proof that even the lowliest of people needn't stay humble and meek; anybody can rise to fully realize their dreams and ambitions. Anybody can be somebody, and Zora is the some-bodiest of them all, leading the parade and twirling the baton of life. This book raises an energy in the reader, an energy of spirit-- of soul. With her energy, Zora has made something of her life, rising to become one of the more prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance. This book is the truly remarkable account of her early life, her loves, and her energy for life.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars eventually satisfying 14 Aug. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
I've just finished reading this book as a summer reading assignment for school, and to my surprise, I found myself actually enjoying it. I went into the reading of this book with reluctance. I've read THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, and while I enjoyed that book at first, I was always frustrated that the main character had to find herself through dependence on men, namely Tea Cake, whom I despised because of his controlling nature and ultimate betrayal. However, despite my prejudices against it, this book managed to grab my attention.
That is, in the last three chapters. I did not think this book was mostly an account of the other books Hurston has written, as some other readers have stated. Hurston only focused one or two chapters toward the middle of the book on other works, but even then it was only to list when she wrote which book, not to go in depth on the process and motivation. However, it seemed to me that it was an account of Hurston's journey through life, including details on her childhood in Eatonville. This is all well and good, except, especially as Hurston gets into the adult years, she tends to gloss over much of the details, omitting names, and mentioning events which obviously impacted her life yet for some personal reason or another, refusing to describe to the reader these events for fear of who knows what.
This was only the first confusing element. I also had a difficulty with Hurston's writing style. She tends to jump from one anecdote in the middle of another with no explanation before returning to her original story, which left me as the reader, feeling befuddled. The sequence of the chapters, out of her childhood, also does not really seem to follow a sequential storyline.
I was also bothered with Hurston's portrayal of herself, especially her childhood self. She seems to portray herself as the only child there ever was with an active imagination. Perhaps I am actually a member of the privileged minority, but I know that I told myself stories and had imaginary friends when I was a child. I was also very devoted to literature, and reading, as I still am, though Hurston's individualities in that area are more understandable, perhaps, considering the circumstances.
Despite all this, I walked away from this book with a respect for Hurston that I hadn't felt before because of the last three or so chapters in the book where Hurston discusses her thoughts and feelings on her race, and the inter-racial strife which hurt the African-American Civil Rights movement. I also enjoyed the appendix in which the reader is allowed a glimpse at Hurston's more controversial writing.
I don't hold a grudge against Hurston's perhaps unorthodox method of writing an autobiography, far from it. In fact, I think this book would have benefited greatly if Hurston had included more of her personal view points on the world as she did in the last few chapters. Hurston was often criticized for writing African-American literature that was not a rousing cry for Civil Rights, in this book, Hurston finally explains WHY. It also would have been helpful if Hurston either would have detailed the events in her life which were so groundbreaking, or simply not mentioned them at all, instead of saying "Then this happened and it changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful, but I'm not going to tell you anything about what it was." The strange presence of such passages was much more disquieting then their absence would have been.
So in conclusion, I'm glad this book included an appendix, and I do feel Hurston deserves some plaudits for writing what was eventually a stimulating autobiography.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dust Tracks seen from the eyes of a Slovene English student 7 Mar. 2002
By Jelka Klemenc - Published on
Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road is a true story of a smart little black girl, who has the intelligence and the perseverance to rise above her all-black community, Eatonville, and become a respected and well known novelist,short-story writer, folklorist and anthropologist.
However, it is not a typical autobiography, not in any way. It has often been said that Hurston lived her life 'half in shadow' and this is also characteristic also of this book. It is rare that ,after having read an autobiography, the reader is left without the information of the writer's year of birth, for instance. On the other hand, it is, in the words of Robert E. Hemenway, who also wrote her biography, 'a fascinating self-portrait, despite its inconsistencies, of one of the major black women artists of the twentieth century'.
The main reason for reeding Dust Tracks is its nature, i.e. the way she describes the struggle of a poor black girl to 'secure an education and catch fame'(R.E.Hemenway, Introduction to Dust Tracks on a Road, Second Edition) and the way she manages to collect her reflections and ideas about her own life into three unique chapters at the end of the book.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the timeless tale 7 July 2000
By Ethel M. Powers - Published on
Whenever I think of Ms Hurston, I smile while I am sad. Her life story is a joyous song and while still a judgement on society and an insight on Black America at that time. she was extremely funny and apparently a very kind woman. She was also a wonderful writer and talented one. Her prose was a gift that few can duplicate. If you are into women writers, you must include all her books. If you want to write, you must study her style. You will not be able to put it down and will be upset when you finish because you want there to be more beyond the last page.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kicking Up Dust 5 April 2008
By Monica Frances - Published on
I found the memoir of this icon of a Renaissance woman to be very exciting and enlightening. Hurston's revealing portrait was a curious blend of anecdote, memory, and observation. I agree to some degree with other critics who question the truth and authenticity of the story as autobiography. At times it does seem a little out of sequence and jumbled. However, it is a precious collection of material (memory, folklore, dreams, anthropology, legend, etc.) out a key era in the history of African Americans. It is very informative and regardless of its shortcomings and the questions it may leave unanswered, at the same time, it does allow us a peek into the life and psyche of a deep, delightful and brilliant woman who was certainly before her time. It is our good fortune that she was able to set down this account of her experience, which has been preserved for us to share. Hurston was obviously somewhat of a free thinker as well as a scholar and I wonder if she could have told her story any way other than the way she did, although she has been criticized for it. It is the account of a particular Black woman who had a very unusual life for the time that she lived in. I would also add that given the alternative material related to the book which has been uncovered since the initial publishing it has to be taken into account that the book was likely censored, which would color the whole picture in ways the author may not have originally intended. But I was greatly affected, inspired and informed by the book and would recommend and encourage any Hurston enthusiast to read it.
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