Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Ta-Nehisi Coates


In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.


Between the World and Me is the author writing to his teenage son about what it is like to live in America with a black body. He shares from a personal standpoint but also weaves in a historical standpoint.

I may not be the author’s intended target audience but that doesn’t mean I didn’t absorb the wisdom he bestowed on his son about what the world is like through his eyes.

This happens to be my first book by Ta-Nehisi. I first heard of him from Oprah. She had picked his first fiction novel, The Water Dancer, as her book club choice for September 2019. I saw her talking about the book on InstaGram and that piqued my curiosity. I haven’t read The Water Dancer yet but after reading this one I’m eager to see this author’s lyrical writing in a fictional book.

READ in 2019

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Author: Foxy

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