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Black Boy

Black Boy

Written by Richard Wright

Narrated by Peter Francis James


Black Boy

Written by Richard Wright

Narrated by Peter Francis James

ratings:
3/5 (771 ratings)
Length:
15 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 18, 2020
ISBN:
9780063008618
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Richard Wright's powerful and eloquent memoir of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. At once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment, Black Boy is a poignant record of struggle and endurance—a seminal literary work that illuminates our own time.

When it exploded onto the literary scene in 1945, Black Boy was both praised and condemned. Orville Prescott of the New York Times wrote that "if enough such books are written, if enough millions of people read them maybe, someday, in the fullness of time, there will be a greater understanding and a more true democracy." Yet from 1975 to 1978, Black Boy was banned in schools throughout the United States for "obscenity" and "instigating hatred between the races."

The once controversial, now classic American autobiography measures the brutality and rawness of the Jim Crow South against the sheer desperate will it took to survive as a black boy. Enduring poverty, hunger, fear, abuse, and hatred while growing up in the woods of Mississippi, Wright lied, stole, and raged at those around him—whites indifferent, pitying, or cruel, and blacks resentful of anyone trying to rise above their circumstances. Desperate for a different way of life, he made his way north, eventually arriving in Chicago, where he forged a new path and began his career as a writer. At the end of Black Boy, Wright sits poised with pencil in hand, determined to "hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo." Seventy-five years later, his words continue to reverberate.

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 18, 2020
ISBN:
9780063008618
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his novels, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.



Reviews

What people think about Black Boy

3.1
771 ratings / 28 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Never heard of Richard Wright before now and I’m so believe I’m obsessed now. He has SUCH a way with words and with dissecting the human experience. Beautiful book. Wasn’t ready for it to end.
  • (5/5)
    Should be required reading hugely informative and moving incredibly tragic relevant still in 2021 .
  • (5/5)
    As Wright wrestled to understand his white neighbors, this book helped me to understand the mind, soul and experience of my black neighbors better. This book has helped me to understand the the black experience better and I’m grateful for it.
  • (3/5)
    Richard Wright is famous for his novel, Native Son, which is a classic of American realism, made it to the Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, and was the first Book of the Month Club title by an African-American author. His autobiography – at least part of it – is an acclaimed account of life in the Jim Crow South.Only the first part of Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, was published contemporaneously with his finishing it in 1945. The second part, American Hunger, was not published until 1977.Understandably. The Black Boy section of his autobiography tells the story of Wright's childhood in the Deep South in the early part of the 1900s. Born on a plantation, abandoned by his father, and raised by a passel of relatives, his was as racist, poverty-stricken, and generally grim a childhood as could be imagined.But American Hunger, the second part of his autobiography is all about Wright’s life as a Communist. Not a sympathetic, leftist intellectual of the 1930s, but a full-fledged, card-carrying Party member and true believer. No wonder he could not get this part of his story published in the 1950s. It would have been scandalous. Now, after the horrors of Stalin are known and the Soviet Union has disappeared, his story is historically notable, but borderline ludicrous.What is worse is that Wright does not delve into the ideas that made him a Communist, which might have been interesting. He provides only one glowing summary of his fervent belief that Communism was the only solution for mankind, that the world would be in awe of the success of this system based on self-sacrifice, and that Europe would be unable to stand up to the military might of the Soviet Union. He offered this as an introduction to his description of the “glory” of the Soviet-style show trial of one of his Comrades.The rest focuses on the in-fighting among Party members. Wrights whole point seems to prove that he was the better Communist than the hacks running the Party. He recounts the maneuverings among factions that led to his election as the Party Secretary of his division, detailed conversations with Party sub-officials questioning his loyalty, and his ultimate break with the Party – not over ideology, he insists, but tactics. All this is as tedious as listening to the office receptionist relate the details of her long-standing feud with the HR department.The Black Boy section of Wright’s autobiography is a must-read. The American Hunger section belongs, like the bankrupt ideology that inspired it, in the dustbin of literary history.Also posted on Rose City Reader.
  • (3/5)
    This story is written in two parts, each almost like a book on its own. The first part, Southern Night, I found spellbinding; would have given it a 4. Part Two, The Horror and the Glory, was not nearly so readable, with it's emphasis on Politics. It would have rated a 2. Average 3.
  • (4/5)
    I liked this book more than I expected I would. I would of given it 5 stars, if part 2 was as good as part 1.