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Albert Murray (1916-2013), was the kind of intellectual for whom Duke Ellington would write a book jacket blurb. He called the African American writer and esteemed cultural critic “a man whose learning did not interfere with understanding," in praise of Murray's 1975 book Train Whistle Guitar, adding that Murray was "the unsquarest person I know." The Library of America has published new volume of Murray's writing. Greg Thomas takes a look.
This new memoir by pop culture and music critic Rashod Ollison is about growing up with rhythm and blues, and, writes reviewer Reginald Harris, "about the role of music in the lives of everyday music lovers, as both a consolation and a vision of a possible different future." Ollison writes about coming of age, coming to terms with his sexuality, and about what his early twin loves, literature and music, taught him.
The numbers tell us that the African American upper middle and upper classes are little more than a sliver of those classes as a whole. In what Rebecca Hussey calls a "formally innovative" new memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Margo Jefferson shows us what it is like to have grown up in this tiny world during the latter half of the last century.
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New York Journal of Books
In these days of heightened discussion about "race" and racism, it is useful to keep reminding ourselves about the contingency of racial categories. Jennifer Teege is a German author who is the daughter of a Nigerian father and German mother. In her search for origins, she found that her grandfather was an officer in the SS who ran a World War II concentration camp. Charles S. Weinblatt reviews this harrowing tale of cross-racial family discovery.