Review: Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi


Ibram X. Kendi


The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.

Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America–it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.

As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities.

In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.

Praise for Stamped from the Beginning:

“We often describe a wonderful book as ‘mind-blowing’ or ‘life-changing’ but I’ve found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning… I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellousambitious, and clear-sighted book.” – George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017

Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism.” – Seattle Times

“A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society.” – The Atlantic

  • Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Washington Post Bestseller
  • On President Obama’s Black History Month Recommended Reading List
  • Finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
  • Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston GlobeWashington PostChicago Review of BooksThe RootBuzzfeedBustle, and Entropy


Stamped From the Beginning is an in-depth history of racist ideas in America.

“To the lives they said don’t matter.” dedication in the book

“My definition of a racist idea is a simple group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. I define anit-Black racist ideas- the subject of this book- as any idea suggesting that Black people, or any group of Black people, are inferior in any way to another racial group.”

There are 5 parts the book is broken into. Each part follows a historical figure and how they shaped history:
Part 1 – Cotton Mather
Part 2 – Thomas Jefferson
Part 3 – William Lloyd Garrison
Part 4 – W. E. B. DuBois
Part 5 – Angela Davis

This book makes for a good discussion with other readers. There are so many points to have conversations about throughout this book. It’s the history I was never taught in school.

SFTB is currently on Hoopla. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while but there’s a long waitlist at my library. So, Hoopla was a good answer to that problem.

The author teamed up with young adult author, Jason Reynolds to create: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. It’s geared towards the middle/high school-age youth. Even though it’s geared towards someone much younger than me, I’m still going to give it a listen.

In May of this year, they are releasing a book geared towards 6 – 10 years called, Stamped (For Kids).

If you read SFTB and wanted a way to share it with your child now you’ll have 2 options.

This is my 3rd book by Mr. Kendi and I really appreciate that he takes the time to explain stuff to the reader.

The audio is 19 hours long. It took me over a week to finish because there was so much stuff to ponder.

Audio book source: Hoopla
Narrator: Christopher Dontrell Piper
Length: 19H 18M

Amy Signature

•To see more reviews by Amy click here

Author: Foxy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.