I'm Liz, and I'm a librarian (duh)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Race: A History Beyond Black and White

This challenge really was a challenge, because I have a few books I've read this month that could be considered for the theme, and the runner-ups were: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, and Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin, both of which were personal stories and/or memoirs written for an adult audience. However, after much deliberation, I decided on Marc Aronson's Race: A History Beyond Black and White, a non-fiction book for teens (or at least older children). I looked at reading this book for this challenge as the reading equivalent of taking my vitamins; I knew it would be well-written and informative, but it wasn't exactly topping my list of must-reads. Still, it did get many very positive reviews and I thought it would be a good choice for the month in which we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. And I was pleasantly surprised--it was less academic than I expected it to be, but just as informative. Basically, Aronson traces the history of race and racial prejudice, concentrating mainly on the US and Europe, but acknowledging the fact that divisions are drawn down racial lines all over the globe. One of the more shocking revelations is the fact that the concept of race is really a rather recent development--and it can pretty much be directly traced to the start of Christianity. This book was written for teens, but adults looking for a concise introduction to the subject will find this helpful as well.

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