Category: <span>Book Reviews</span>

“The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein charts the history of how local, state, and federal government policies and programs segregated cities across America. It disputes the widely promoted idea that individual racism and racist beliefs were the sole cause of housing segregation and the resulting discrimination that followed. Reaching back to the first wave of the Great Migration in the 1920s, Rothstein thoroughly explains how in most cases, the government led the charge in creating segregated communities even in locations where none had previously existed and citizens had no desire for these restrictive zoning patterns.

Book Reviews

“Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is about immigrants leaving and coming home but also finding fulfillment as well as romantic, familial, and platonic relationships. It’s a whole bunch of different stuff that somehow all fits together. Ifemelu is a young woman who immigrated to America where she’s lived for several years and looks back over her life while preparing to return to Nigeria.

Book Reviews

“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander tackles the complex issues of mass incarceration. Other sources have discussed how the raw figures have grown over time. But as a civil rights attorney and legal scholar, Alexander provides an intriguing exploration of the history of the policies, reforms, and social attitudes that have contributed to the creation of the prison industrial complex.

Book Reviews

“Jubilee” by Margaret Walker is a work of historical fiction that primarily tells the life of a biracial enslaved woman. To a degree, this is a generational story as we learn about the life of Vyry, her mother Hetta, and Vyry’s children. But Vyry is the glue that binds the whole story together. Her life spans the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, giving some insight into all three of those periods.

Book Reviews

Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel “We Cast a Shadow” is set in an unnamed Southern city in the not too distant future. American society has become more racially restrictive. To avoid the various prejudices suffered by Black people, some resort to “demelanization”, a painful procedure that removes physical traits associated with Black people. The book is a slightly off-beat dark comedy about a nameless narrator who goes to desperate lengths to shield his son from this race-based dystopian society.

Book Reviews