Alan Nadel, “August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle” (University of Iowa Press, 2010)
Many scholars consider August Wilson to be the premier American playwright of the 20th Century. Alan Nadel is surely one of their number. In the early 1990s, he focused our attention on Wilson’s plays in the outstanding collection of essays May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama... Read More
Blair Ruble, “Washington’s U Street: A Biography” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2010)
I used to live in Washington DC, not far from a place I learned to call the “U Street Corridor.” I really had no idea why it was a “corridor” (most places in DC are just “streets”) or why a lot of folks seemed to make a big deal out... Read More
Chad L. Williams, “Torchbearers of Democracy: African-American Soldiers in the World War I Era” (The University of North Carolina Press, 2010)
One of the great “grey” areas of World War I historiography concerns the African-American experience. Even as the war was ending, white historians, participants, and politicians strove to limit the record of the African-American soldiers’ participation, while also casting the standard narrative of the war as a white American crusade... Read More
Jonathan Metzl, “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease” (Beacon Press, 2010)
Schizophrenia is a real, frightening, debilitating disease. But what are we to make of the fact that several studies show that African Americans are two to three times more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with this malady, and that black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are six... Read More
Charles Lane, “The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court, and the Betrayal of Reconstruction” (Henry Holt, 2008)
Why did Reconstruction fail? Why didn’t the post-war Federal government protect the civil rights of the newly freed slaves? And why did it take Washington almost a century to intercede on the behalf of beleaguered, oppressed African Americans in the South? In a terrific new book, Charles Lane explains why.... Read More