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Paul Robeson: A Biography (Lives of the Left) Paperback – 21 Jun 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 856 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; annotated edition edition (21 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565849418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565849419
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 15.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on 8 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
This biography is a superb account of the life, loves, highs and lows of one of the world's greatest singers, linguists, political activists and humanitarians. It is a description of how a man with a truely "God Given" gift did not hop upon the gravy train and ignore the plight of his fellow Black Americans or the other workers of the world, but chose to voice the wrongs and injustices visited upon them, despite the immense cost to himself.
He, along with men like Ghandi & Martin Luther King Jr stand as true heroes in a world of tin men.
His relationship with the United Kingdom is recounted in this book, and although his treatment in the United Kingdom was far from exemplary, at least he was never deprived of his freedom in this "Land of Empire" in the way he was in the "Land of the Free".
Read this and I hope you will agree that he deserved his place in the "Home of the Brave".
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Format: Paperback
I rate Paul Robeson: a Biography a perfect ten because there are no decimals in the rating system allowing for a nine point five, and the point five from perfection would come only from trivial nit pickings that amount to my desire to never have it end. Duberman, through obviously painstaking research (despite the voluminous material afforded him via Robeson's archives and the Freedom of Information Act's allowing for the research of FBI surveillance files) creates a portrait both panoramic in scope and theme and highly, meticulously detailed. He reaffirms the truism truth is stranger than fiction- and more exhilirating- by bringing us to an intimate knowledge of the many worlds of Paul Robeson- stage and screen actor, concert hall singer, athlete, academician, lawyer, linguist, political/quasi-communist/Civil Rights revolutionary, African-American youngest son of an Episcopal minister- in such a way as to have us be part of the childlike sloughing off of arrogance and ignorance that is the first step in an initiation; an initiation to the higher mysteries of knowledge of the human character and spirit in the context of the modern world; the path Duberman's incredible skill as a writer and biographer clearly shows he has taken. He shows his profound love and respect for the man and his influence of and on American culture by staring unflinchingly at everything from his sexual proclivities and many mistresses to his powerful intellect and international appeal, to his consistent challenging of the prevailing moral schizophrenia of pre-Civil Rights movement America and the subsequent ruination of his career and sanity- all within the context of his familial and cultural ties and his immense talent.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book truly changed my life, forget about Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson Jesse Owens. All are great but compared to Paul Robeson, I don't think so. Mr. Robeson should be as familiar to the youth of today as the above mentioned sport heroes; however history has shunned him. Unlike the modern day super stars Mr. Robeson believed in making social changes albeit at his own demise. What an unselfish and social conscience individual who influenced social change i.e. "Jim Crow " laws and segregation in general. Mr. Robeson excelled in so many different arenas it is mind boggling by todays standards.
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By Eugene Onegin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Robeson's most celebrated stage role was Othello and reading Duberman's meticulously researched account leads one to suspect that Shakespeare himself would have found a rich seam of material in the biography of a prodigiously talented man who might have made a successful career in any number of fields from American football to singing to the Big Screen but who instead was harassed and ultimately incapacitated because he had the courage to speak out against racism and injustice across the globe and chose to do so from a Left wing perspective. Robeson made a contribution in all of those fields but his life defining decision was to engage with the political issues of his generation above all race and economic inequality: it was a choice made all the more admirable by the fact that Robeson was shielded from some (although by no means all) discrimination because of his exceptional abilities. All periods of Robeson's extraordinary life are given a detailed treatment here and the account of his recording career makes you want to dig out some of his legendary renditions of the spirituals. However, it is the political activities of the man which make the most exciting reading and in many ways his advocacy of African culture and economic as well as civil rights for black Americans as early as the 1930's mark him out as ahead of his time. Indeed, Martin Luther King was only really arriving at a similar agenda in the last few years of his life. Indeed the parallels with King are startling from a passion for women to the hero worship and mixed relations with the black press. Duberman skilfully guides us through Robeson's complex and at times uncritical relationship with the Soviet Union and his shocking victimisation at the hands of the U.S State Department and the FBI.Read more ›
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