Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession

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9781595588104: Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession
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First published in 1992 at the height of the furor over the Rodney King incident, Studs Terkel’s Race was an immediate bestseller. Offering a rare and revealing look at how people in America truly feel about race, Terkel’s candid interviews depict a complexity of thoughts and emotions and uncover a fascinating narrative of changing opinions. Preachers and street punks, college students and Klansmen, pioneering interracial couples, the nephew of the founder of apartheid, and Emmett Till’s mother are among those whose voices appear in Race. In all, nearly one hundred Americans talk openly about what few are willing to admit in public: feelings about affirmative action, gentrification, secret prejudices, and dashed hopes.

This reissue of Race comes at a particularly dynamic time in the history of American race relations. Our first black president, rapidly shifting immigration and population patterns, and the rising force of multiracialism all necessitate a narrative around race that is more nuanced than ever before. Yet many of the issues we have grappled with over the past few decades remain to be solved. Gary Younge, a longtime columnist for The Guardian and The Nation, provides a new introduction to Race that serves to contextualize it, rendering it relevant to these contemporary frameworks, while paying homage to a keystone piece of oral history on a uniquely American subject.

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Studs Terkel (1912 2008) was the bestselling author of twelve books of oral history, including Working; Hard Times; the Pulitzer Prize winning The Good War”; and, most recently, his memoir Touch and Go(all available from The New Press). He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Presidential National Humanities Medal and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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The kind of book that happens along once in a long while.

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