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Black Boy: A Record of Youth and Childhood (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 17 Aug 2000
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"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)
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Just when Black Boy was going to be published, the book was picked up by the Book of the Month club (which was the equivalent of the Oprah Winfrey book club today.) But the Book Club would only accept the first part of the book and this is how the book was originally published. Today you can buy the full version of Richards life in the south and the north but for some reason my copy only contains the first part of his life in the south.
Born in 1908 I am sure you can imagine the kind of life that a black boy born in Mississippi at that time had.. The book starts in a very dramatic way when Richard accidentally burns down his family home and then we follow his childhood as he deals with his father leaving, poverty, racial hatred and his family forcing their religion on him.
Wright is an incredibility talented writer and he attempts to explain how he has turned out the way he has and why he ultimately had to leave the south in order to pursue his dreams as a writer. He explains how the culture in the south at that time among black people forced him to behave in a certain way in order to avoid being noticed or lynched and how attitudes and nervousness towards white people were ingrained from a very early age (with good reason). All this meant was that he was unable to truly be himself within the communities that he lived in.Read more ›
This is a great read, full of incident and forensically recorded detail from Wright's life as a black boy struggling with the daily realities of racial segregation in the American South in the 1920s.
It is very different to reading, say, To Kill a Mockingbird or Of Mice and Men, both of which deal with similar issues. Wright is on the inside looking out; he is an articulate victim of the racism of the time - unlike a Harper Lee or a John Steinbeck. As such he creates for the reader a distinct and palpable sense of the unease, terror and mental imprisonment of the banalities of everyday prejudice. In this, the book is most important.
I was also struck not just by how Wright struggles to decipher and function in the white world but how, as a highly individual and intelligent person, he also struggles to fit in with his own people, many of whom are stunted by religious puritanism. Misunderstanding and miscommunication is rife in both the black and white worlds.
For this reason it is all the more remarkable that this unique individual managed to survive and write his way to some measure of success on his own terms - free of the white prejudices which attempt to enslave him and free of the quiescence of the blacks who adapt themselves just to survive.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic read I love this book. I've only just got it and annoy out it down. I'm really annoyed it has scribbles and underlined sentences (in pen) in it though. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Aamanee J
This book is a hidden gem. I was shocked to read about the brutality and harsh reality of a black boy growing up in the South. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Daniella
Stark depiction of racial tensions in pre-1950s America. Richard Wright grows up in the South and it demonstates his understanding of racism through his childlike eyes.Published 18 months ago by HistoryFan
I read this book years ago having bought it in America. I still remember scenes from it to this day. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Burbles
This is a very sobering account of what it was like being black (African American) in the American Deep South in the early 1900's. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Thespionic
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