Book Review: Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

If you’re going to read this book I suggest leaving your defensiveness at home and then listening carefully to what Ta-Nehisi Coates has to say. This an exploration of what it’s like to be a black man in the USA. It weaves in more recent events with the historical foundations of the USA.

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Written as a letter to his 15 year old son, the focus of the book is the killing of Coates’ friend, Prince Jones. I realise this book wasn’t written for me. But I agree it’s a book that everyone could, and should, have a better understanding of.

There are resonances with descriptions of having a black body and knowing it can be taken away at any time, with the feeling of having a female body in a patriarchal world. It’s not the same but it meant I have empathy with some of the described ideas and feelings. There are criticisms of this book not addressing the experience of black women, but it is father writing to his son, so this is not wholly unsurprising.

This book is raw and thought provoking and helps give some understanding of the racial tension that is still bubbling over in the USA. It’s poetically written and only 160 pages.

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