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Mixing It Up: Taking On the Media Bullies and Other Reflections [Paperback]

Ishmael Reed

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Book Description

8 July 2008
A new collection of essays first published in The New York Times and Playboy. Reed tackles subjects including Oakland, eugenics, and domestic violence,

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (8 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583396
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,636,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Rain Taxi, Winter issue "Ishmael Reed's writing is a nearly irresistible force. Anyone who wants to read Reed seriously had better come prepared with facts, an open mind, and perhaps even a seatbelt...An adept mix of documentation and outrage shapes most of the pieces...[Reed's] observations come in many registers, from the strident to the cool...In his ability to pull the comfortable rug out from under his readers and make us aspire to a higher ground of understanding, Reed is one of our most essential and irreplaceable voices." Magill Book Reviews "Perceptive essays about social issues and media missteps, reminding readers why he is a provocative, respected writer, and thinker. It is tempting to compare Ishmael Reed to voices as varied as Mark Twain, Paul Robeson, or Susan Sontag, but that is incomplete and unfair to Reed. He is distinctive and fresh in his own right...This collection is less about race than sense...Spirited and bold throughout, never failing to enlighten...As an anthology, it is a treasure." Multicultural Review, Winter 2009 "[Reed's] voice...is incisive. He is smart, the book is well researched, and his arguments are compelling...His coverage of American race relations links culture, economics, and history in surprising ways...This collection of essays is appropriate and necessary for high school level readers and should become canonical text for every American Studies program in the United States."

About the Author

ISHMAEL REED is author of six books of poetry, one opera libretto in verse, six plays, four books of essays and nine novels, and is the editor of numerous anthologies and magazines. His poetry collaborations with musicians have resulted in three CD collections recently reissued by Rounder Records, and the forthcoming "Conjure III" from Blue Note. He has been awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award, and has been a Pulitzer Prize nominee in poetry and a National Book Award finalist in both poetry and fiction. In 2001, he received a Chancellor's Award for Community Service from the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1969. In 2003, he received the Otto Award for Political Theater, and in 2004, he received the Robert Hirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ishmael Scores a Knockout 22 Oct 2008
By Gilbert W. Crampton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have spent most of this century searching for something written by Ishmael Reed on all of the crazy biased reporting in the media on African Americans. This book, "MIXING IT UP", delivers strong rebuttals to all of the negative tv, newspaper, radio, and political pundits portrayals of African Americans. The book has excellent commentary on the Don Imus affair, FOX News, CNN, and the Wire. The piece on "Mom's Book" contains some of Reed's best writing. Also, articles on Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis are great. While reading this book thoughts of Dubois' writings kept running through my mind, a kind of deja vu all over again for blacks in America. Thanks Ishmael for having the courage to keep on mixing it up.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book 16 Feb 2010
By Fahmee - Published on Amazon.com
I have read many of Mr. Reed's essays; and I have benefitted greatly from his insightful, witty, and thoughtful observations on race. I respectfully suggest that an honest and creditable review of an author's work be confined to the quality and character of that work. This book is a great read if one is interested in a compelling discussion on race, the media, and culture.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars journalism in oakland 19 Jan 2011
By Case Quarter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
the bullies ishmael reed takes on in his collection of essays are from the print and electronic media. radio hosts and writers, don imus, john h mcwhorter, david simon, creator of the hbo series, The Wire, the producers and publishers who hire them, the networks, political periodicals -- nor are the clintons, william and hilliary, given free rein for their remarks about barack obama when he was running for the presidency -- are some of the bullies reed calls out, using to bulk up for his arguments reports from journalism, history, documents, personal experiences and interviews.

often dismissed as a crank, which he is far from, and ignored by popular and prominent media voices, reed armed with his research, intelligence and boldness, appears to have read and seen and heard everything.

though some of reed's quick jabbing opinions are off base comments, such as his comments against some of philip roth's fictional characters, he is either making a point by retaliation in kind of the type of attacks designed for emotional flare-ups he finds perpetrated in the media or, unlike the media darlings, he is offering a challenge. either way he does not back down.

Mixing It Up also has its essays on heroes. reed champions mile davis, sonny Rollins, and the nineteenth century black american writer, charles chesnutt, who has his a volume included in the Library of America writers series, his short stories taught in high schools, and his novels and papers studied in universities. in an age when the media elevates a couple of black writers per season for audience marketability and a moment of fame, ishmael reed writes an essay about the life and works of chesnutt, a writer no one else mentions when discussing black writers. in other essays about the abuse of contemporary black journalists and popular black entertainers and media figures, he refers to chesnutt as an example of a black journalist who endured similar treatment and marginalized by the media of his day.

in his essay, Miracle at Ein Raz, reed moves from editorial pieces and literary and jazz reviews to a political travel report of trips taken to jerusalem, which includes an interview he conducted with two palestinian american professors in california.

reed, also a university professor, primarily of american studies, remains generous in sharing authors he reads and teaches, which always makes for an eclectic mix and reason in itself to read his non fiction books. chances are you will come away with something good to read by an author maybe unknown to you, as he reports the time when he `...began teaching at San Jose State University as an occupant of the endowed Lurie Chair, I started to receive e-mails from representatives of the International Union of Hotel Workers requesting that I cancel a speech I had scheduled to make before the convention held by the California Association of Teachers of English.' several paragraphs later he writes: `Coincidentally, four of the books that I had chosen to use in a course called Special Topics, dealt with labor and unions: Chester Himes's Lonely Crusade, William Kennedy's Ironweed, Jack Conroy's The Disinherited, and Frank Chin's Donald Duk, which covers an 1867 strike waged by two thousand Chinese railroad workers in the High Sierras.'

how's that for mixing it up? pretty good, if you ask me.
3 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Literature from a deranged man 29 Jun 2009
By Curt Bender - Published on Amazon.com
Ismael Reed is a racist extremist. He spews out garbage that is not at all supported by facts. He refers to San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom as a racist . He states that Newsome wanted to make San Franciso a "white city" while Newsome never said that at all.
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