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A collection of the New Yorker‘s groundbreaking writing on race in America, including work by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hilton Als, Zadie Smith, and more
From the pages of the New Yorker comes a bold and telling portrait of Black life in America, with astonishing early work from Rebecca West’s account of a lynching trial and James Baldwin’s ‘Letter from a Region in My Mind’ (which later formed the basis of The Fire Next Time) to more recent writing by Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Zadie Smith, Hilton Als, Jamaica Kincaid, Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Alexander, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Doreen St. Félix, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kelefa Sanneh, and more.
Reaching back across the last century, The Matter of Black Lives includes a wide array of material from the New Yorker archives ranging across essays, reported pieces, profiles, criticism, and historical pieces. This book addresses everything from the arts to civil rights, matters of justice, and politics, and brings us up to the present day with accounts of what Jelani Cobb calls “The American Spring.” The result is a startling, nuanced and, ultimately, indelible portrait of America’s complex relationship with race.
Praise for The Matter of Black Lives
‘An essential volume for readers interested in the Black past and present, as all readers should be’ – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for The Fragile Earth
‘A must-read’ Daily Beast
‘Immersive and engaging . . . Reading three decades of essays on this important and urgent topic, one is appalled that we know so much and have repeatedly done so little with that knowledge, as well as simultaneously hopeful and skeptical that technological solutions can save us now’ Library Journal
‘Illuminating and powerful . . . a memorable book with a resounding message’ Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Jelani Cobb is a historian, and a professor of journalism at Columbia University. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2015, he is a recipient of the Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis, as well as fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the Fulbright Foundation. He lives in New York City.
David Remnick has been the editor of the New Yorker since 1998 and a staff writer since 1992. His books include the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, King of the World: Muhammed Ali and the Rise of an American Hero, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, and two collections of his magazine pieces.