New Yorker reviews Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s new book, “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow”


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Pat Young

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From the review's conclusion:

This is why the greatest divide among historians is between the academics who tend to see people as points of compressed social forces and those popular historians, chiefly biographers, who see the actors as nearly the whole of the story. The academics study the tides of history, while the popular historians go out fishing to find (and tag) the big fish that presumably make the ocean worth watching. The tidalists have the tenure, but the fishermen sell all the books. Gates, who is expert at both, catching fish while seeing tides, leaves us with a simple, implicit moral: a long fight for freedom, with too many losses along the way, can be sustained only by a rich and complicated culture. Resilience and resistance are the same activity, seen at different moments in the struggle. It’s a good thought to hold on to now.
 

James N.

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Hopefully that statement reflects upon the reviewer and not the author.
I tend to like Gates' NPS series a great deal, and although some of them seem simplistic for fairly valid reasons I'm still looking forward to see how he presents this complex and vexing subject. I doubt I'll agree with it in its entirety but suspect there will be a lot that's both worthwhile and able to be agreed with.
 

Pat Young

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If you go to the New Yorker you will find an audible version of the article right under the title and illustration.
 

Bruce Vail

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Seems to be a very enthusiastic review of WEB DuBois' 1935 Black Reconstruction but strangely non-commital on Gates.
 


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