Review:  Caste is “the bones,” race “the skin” in America’s body of discontents
Aug19

Review: Caste is “the bones,” race “the skin” in America’s body of discontents

By Robert Thomas Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson offers a deep, scholarly dive into the foundations of human hierarchical organization. “A caste system,” she defines “is an artificial construction, a fixed and embedded ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of ancestry and often immutable traits, traits that would...

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Review:  “Begin Again” blends James Baldwin’s urgent lessons and a call to face “the American Lie”
Jul30

Review: “Begin Again” blends James Baldwin’s urgent lessons and a call to face “the American Lie”

By Robert R. Thomas BEGIN AGAIN by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is a clear example of a historical genre I call living history, i.e., history being written in real time by living historians.  Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, where he is also the chair of the Center for African American Studies and the chair of the Department of African American Studies. Glaude’s...

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Review:  Latest Flint book, “Poisoned Water” belongs in classrooms, libraries all over America
May27

Review: Latest Flint book, “Poisoned Water” belongs in classrooms, libraries all over America

By Harold C. Ford “Flint was an example of the nation at its worst but also its best.”             — Candy J. Cooper, Poisoned Water I’ve just added a fourth book to my personal collection of publications about Flint’s water crisis: Poisoned Water:  How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation, written by Candy J. Cooper, with Marc Aronson, released May 19 by Bloomsbury Publishing. Cooper is...

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Review:  Need some pandemic reading? These two books offer pertinent context on the plague we’re in
Apr27

Review: Need some pandemic reading? These two books offer pertinent context on the plague we’re in

By Harold C. Ford Two recent reads provide some historical context for the current coronavirus pandemic: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (1999, W. W. Norton & Company) traces the long history of human pandemics to the domestication of animals. How to Hide an Empire, A Short History of the Greater United States, by Daniel Immerwahr (2019, The Bodley Head) details the racial inequities of health care and research by...

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Review: “Power, Participation, and Protest in Flint, Michigan” probed in Ashley Nickels’ enlightening new book
Jan17

Review: “Power, Participation, and Protest in Flint, Michigan” probed in Ashley Nickels’ enlightening new book

  By Robert Thomas An abiding iconic Flint visual for me is the news photo of a child holding a protest sign stating the case for what happened in Flint: “I’ve been POISONED by Policy.”  The photo quickly leads to the question: “How does that happen?” Ashley E. Nickels, a professor of political science at Kent State University, offers cogent insights in her book Power, Participation, and Protest in FLINT, MICHIGAN. The...

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Review:  “Daring Trader” captures profound role of Joseph Smith on how Flint became Flint
Oct06

Review: “Daring Trader” captures profound role of Joseph Smith on how Flint became Flint

By Harold C. Ford “In the signing of the 1819 treaty by the Chippewa and Ottawa, (Jacob Smith) had earned himself several hundreds of dollars in payment from the government for his secret work, while also quietly sowing the seeds for his white children to each receive hundreds of acres of desirable property where white settlement would almost certainly take place and a town (Flint) would grow.” …from The Daring Trader, Jacob...

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