ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
If you look at brother Obamas, President Obamas track record before he entered the White House,
you could not have reasonably expected him to be a progressive. He never said he was one. Go
back and listen to his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention . . .
Books by Julianne Malveaux
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By Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Review and Interview by Kam Williams
Book Review by Kam Williams
In her poem, And Still I Rise, Dr. Maya Angelou wrote, You can write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies, you can trod me in the very dirt and still, like dust, I rise. More than a century before she penned her words, Richard R. Wright, Sr., a man born into slavery asked [Union] General Oliver Otis Howard to Tell them we are rising. Wrights 19th C. vision . . . has currency today. . . . Tell anyone who will listen that, while the playing field is not yet level, African-American people can play the game, win it, and even change the rules to make them fairer.
Tell them we are rising, surviving and thriving.Excerpted from the Introduction (pg. xliii)
The accomplishments of African-Americans have generally been omitted from the history books, when it comes to the field of economics. Consequently, most black kids grow up unaware that despite the obstacles the nation deliberately placed in the path of their ancestors during the days of slavery and the repressive era of Jim Crow segregation, many miraculously managed to flourish financially anyway.
While many accounts of the exploits of the heroes of the Emancipation and Civil Rights Movements have been published for posterity, the achievements of black business leaders have rarely been the subject of scrutiny. For this reason, a debt of gratitude is owed to Dr. Julianne Malveaux, author of Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History.
Her informative text might be best thought of as a bound version of one of those page-a-day theme calendars, except that instead of serving up jokes, words or spiritual reflections, this features a years worth of entries about African-American companies and captains of industry. A few of her subjects are familiar household names, such as BET founder Bob Johnson and hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons. However, most of the bios here are apt to be eye-opening intros to someone youve never heard of.
For example, theres Sarah Gammon Bickford, a former slave-turned-public utility owner who moved to Virginia City, Montana where she came to supply the towns water after acquiring a natural spring. Then, theres seamstress Elizabeth Keckley, a sister who owned the largest custom dressmaking business in ante bellum Washington, DC. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, she designed outfits for both First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and the wives of eventual Confederates President Jefferson Davis and his General Robert E. Lee.
In sum, an inspirational tome design to serve as a daily reminder of the role that African-American entrepreneurs have played and continue to play on the path to freedom and equality.
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Kam Williams Interviews Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is the 15th President of Bennett College for Women. Recognized for her progressive and insightful observations, this brilliant economist and author has been described by Dr. Cornel West as the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.
Dr. Malveauxs insights on issues such as race, culture, gender, and their economic impacts are helping to shape and thus immeasurably impact the mindset of 21st Century America. Always in demand in this capacity as a sage television commentator, Dr. Malveaux appears regularly on CNN, BET, PBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN and other networks.
Furthermore, she is an accomplished author and editor whose academic work has been widely published in a variety of anthologies and journals. She served as editor of Voices of Vision: African American Women on the Issues (1996); as the co-editor of Slipping through the Cracks: The Status of Black Women (1986); and as co-editor of The Paradox of Loyalty: An African American Response to the War on Terrorism (2002).
She is the author of two column anthologies: Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes: Perspectives of a Mad Economist (1994); and Wall Street, Main Street, and the Side Street: A Mad Economist Takes a Stroll (1999). And she is the co-author of Unfinished Business: A Democrat and A Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face (2002).
A native of San Francisco, Dr. Malveauxs credentials include a Bachelors degree from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. A committed activist and civic leader, she has held positions in numerous womens, civil rights and policy organizations. For example, she was President of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Womens Clubs from 1995-1999, and is now the Honorary Co-Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Currently, Malveaux serves on the boards of the Economic Policy Institute, The Recreation Wish List Committee of Washington, DC, and the Liberian Education Trust. Here, she talks about her career and about her new book Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History.
Kam Williams: Hi Dr. Malveaux, thanks for the time.
Julianne Malveaux: Of course. How are you?
Kam Williams: Im fine, thanks. What interested you in writing this book?
Julianne Malveaux: I was inspired by the fact that so much African-American history is not common knowledge or just unrecorded. And thats especially true of black economic history. This isnt stuff I learned while studying economics in college, but facts I read and collected along the way. They sort of stayed with my spirit and I decided I had to put this together.
Kam Williams: Were you in Boston the same time I was? I was there from 75 to 78.
Julianne Malveaux: I was in Boston from 1970 to 1977. I was in Boston Colleges Class of 74 and then I went on to earn my Ph.D. from MIT.
Kam Williams: the reason I asked is because Im from New York, so Boston was a big culture shock for me. I never experienced such racism before or since. Being from San Francisco, it must have been a hard adjustment for you, too.
Julianne Malveaux: Yes, it was. The racism there is really virulent. When I arrived in Boston in September of 1970, I loaded my luggage into a rental car at Logan Airport and began driving to school. But I made a wrong turn on my way, and ended up in South Boston. Coming from the Bay Area, where were real friendly, I thought nothing of innocently stopping at a candy store to ask for directions. I went in with my big afro and a big smile and said sweetly, Hi! My name is Julianne Malveaux, and Im about to start as a freshman at Boston College. Im lost. Can you point me in the right direction? All I got in response was the N-word.
I said, Theres no cause to go there and they just said it again. So, I went to the bar next-door, where I was met with alcohol-fueled racism. There, they said, We dont allow [N-word] around here. Were going to call the cops. Two police officers showed up very quickly, and asked me what I was doing in the neighborhood. Their tone was so stern with me that you would have thought Id broken a law. After I burst into tears, they offered to lead me to Commonwealth Avenue.
But before letting me drive off, one got out of the patrol car, knocked on my window and warned, If I ever catch you in South Boston again, Ill arrest you. It was just a horrible place. I remember that brother that they ran the flagpole through.
Kam Williams: You mean Attorney Ted Landsmark. He and I were friends in Boston back then. He was just walking into City Hall when he coincidentally encountered an anti-busing demonstration. Seeing a black man they could take their frustrations out on, the white mob attacked and one guy broke his nose with an American flag. What made it seem surreal was that this was 76, the Bicentennial year, and the photo capturing the moment Ted was struck by the flag won the Pulitzer Prize.
Julianne Malveaux: That was just awful. Boston was horrible. It really was a toxic situation.
Kam Williams: Childrens book author Irene Smalls, who lives in Boston, asks: How have your days as an MIT trained economist aided in your daily work of being a college president?
Julianne Malveaux: Wow! Thats a great question. First of all, being an economist makes you think of resource allocation which is historically-black colleges biggest issuehow to use resources most efficiently and effectively. I also think that had I not been an economist, some of the financial restructuring Ive done would not have happened. When I arrived, the college was encumbered with debt disproportionate to the lien that was on the institution. We were able to renegotiate that and then create some equity in order to be able to borrow the money needed to build the first new buildings on campus in 28 years. Thanks to my training, I was able to assess the problem and probe it in that way. I call that my crowning accomplishment.
Kam Williams: Irene also says: Your book chronicles past black economic achievement. Where do you envision economic opportunities for African-Americans in the future?
Julianne Malveaux: Number one, in the developing world, especially on the African continent, if we take the time to develop those relationships. Secondly, I think the whole environmental justice issue raises entrepreneurial possibilities in terms of how to be more green. I think there are more opportunities in education and I hope, quite frankly, that African-Americans will be among those creating economic opportunities around the growing issue of senior care.
Kam Williams: Irene asks: What special barriers do you see that prevent black people from attaining economic parity? Do you see any strategies to overcome these barriers?
Julianne Malveaux: We can continue to close the income gap. But we will never achieve economic parity from a wealth perspective because, once upon a time, we were somebodys wealth. That wealth gap wont be closed unless it becomes a policy priority to redistribute wealth.
Kam Williams: Realtor to the Stars Jimmy Bayan asks: What is your economic forecast for 2011, particularly the bond market, and yields?
Julianne Malveaux: Ill pass on that.
Kam Williams: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Do you think middle-class African-Americans have been more adversely impacted by the recession than other Americans? Being last hired, overburdened by graduate student debt, facing possible foreclosure due to buying at the top of the market before the crash, many African-Americans in this socio-economic bracket were the last to hit the prosperity wave and seem to have fallen on worse times than their similarly-educated peers. Many people depend on the continued extension of jobless benefits and have lived through their savings, creating a dependent middle-class. What is your take on this? What is your advice for people who find themselves in this predicament?
Julianne Malveaux: I would say Bernadettes absolutely right about the recent, young black middle-class who purchased late, and who have high student debt. They have certainly been severely impacted, although theyre relatively advantaged in comparison to their working-class and poor cousins whove never even had the opportunity to accrue student debt. That being said, my advice to them is to regroup, although that is easier said than done. If youve gotten in over your head, then you have to figure out how to get out from under. Yes, the job market is tight, but there are still jobs out there. Dont let whats happening to you, economically, affect your game face when youve got to look for a job. And if the job market has not been kind to you, then you might need to figure out what you can do besides work for someone else.
Kam Williams: How did you feel about the TARP Program?
Julianne Malveaux: I thought that bailout was welfare for the wealthy. Then Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, came to President Bush and said essentially, We need $700 billion, but he didnt say why. And it was a pool of money that wasnt being doled out equitably, so I opposed it.
Kam Williams: What is your opinion of Obamas proposed extension of the Bush tax cuts?
Julianne Malveaux: Im also opposed to that. President Obamas apparently compromising because he feels caught between a rock and a hard place. But extending the Bush tax cuts is bad news.
Kam Williams: Are you as disappointed in Obama as Cornel West seems to be?
Julianne Malveaux: Yes and no. Me and Cornel get in trouble about that all the time. Let me say this. If you look at brother Obamas, President Obamas track record before he entered the White House, you could not have reasonably expected him to be a progressive. He never said he was one. Go back and listen to his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention where he talked about there being no blue states or red states but just the United States. There was also an implicit scolding of black men in that speech about fatherhood. I think we all got caught up in the exuberance of the Obama campaign and the historical significance of his presidency.
But if you go back and do a careful analysis, youll see that what hes doing is consistent with what he had done as both a state and U.S. senator. I wish that he would engage regularly and more closely with the African-American community. I wish the demographic which was his most consistent supporters had more to show for it.
Certainly, Im very, very pleased that Historically-Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), after organizing, were able to garner some additional dollars from the Obama Administration. But at the same time, I can see so many other ways in which he could do so much better. He really has accomplished an awful lot as President, but his rhetoric and his reach were higher than his grasp. And as for our people, what we wanted was not what we got.
Kam Williams: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: How have you defined your target audience? Do see the possibility that you will be changing the definition?
Julianne Malveaux: My target audience is the universe, because I believe everybody should know about black economic history. But obviously, I focus on my community first.
Kam Williams: Harriet has a follow-up: As an economist, author, and college presidenthow do find time to get everything done, and how do you spend your relaxation time?
Julianne Malveaux: Relaxation time? Ha-ha, whats that? I think peace is balance, and balance is peace, and I dont have either one. Im a high energy person. I struggle for balance. I really do. But finding my balance is a challenge.
Kam Williams: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
Julianne Malveaux: No, people pretty much ask me anything.
Kam Williams: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
Julianne Malveaux: Yeah, every now and then. Not very often. I see myself as fearless, yet I know that I have been fearful. I was afraid of failure when I came to Bennett College, because education and my people are so important to me.
Kam Williams: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
Julianne Malveaux: Most of the time, not always.
Kam Williams: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
Julianne Malveaux: About fifteen minutes ago.
Kam Williams: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Julianne Malveaux: I aint gonna tell that.
Kam Williams: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
Julianne Malveaux: Cleopatra: A Life. I read just about everything. I love history, biographies, reading about women and just about anything black of quality, but not that ghetto lit stuff.
Kam Williams: The music maven Heather Covington question: What are you listening to on your iPod?
Julianne Malveaux: Jazz, primarily. I find it relaxing, and I can write with it on in the background. Also Gospel and John Legend.
Kam Williams: What is your favorite dish to cook?
Julianne Malveaux: I very rarely cook, but I do make a decent cioppino. Its a little easier for me to make than gumbo, cause I dont have a good recipe for roux.
Kam Williams: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
Julianne Malveaux: I design many of my own clothes. I haunt fabric stores whenever I have some free time. I look at Vogue, and I have a tailor that I work with by drawing whatever I want.
Kam Williams: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Julianne Malveaux: A fine, feisty chameleon.
Kam Williams: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
Julianne Malveaux: For Bennett College and other HBCUs to be well endowed.
Kam Williams: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
Julianne Malveaux: Climbing up onto a table to get a book they were trying to keep out of my reach, when I was about three.
Kam Williams: The Nancy Lovell Question: Why do you love doing what you do?
Julianne Malveaux: Its empowering. Education has the power to transform lives. I also value institutional stability. I dont want Bennett to be one of the ones lost.
Kam Williams: The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through the tough times?
Julianne Malveaux: Friends, prayer, Pilates.
Kam Williams: The Rudy Lewis question: Whos at the top of your hero list?
Julianne Malveaux: If youre talking about the living, Reverend Jesse Jackson. Hes been a consistent friend, and hes been persistent with the struggle. If youre talking about people who are gone, Ida B. Wells.
Kam Williams: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Julianne Malveaux: Self-criticism. Im a perfectionist.
Kam Williams: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Julianne Malveaux: Just do it.
Kam Williams: The Tavis Smiley questions. First, how introspective are you?
Julianne Malveaux: Extremely. Im an extroverted introvert. I think a lot about myself, and life and other stuff.
Kam Williams: Secondly, how do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be?
Julianne Malveaux: I want to be known as a contributor. I want to leave more buildings at Bennett College that were built during the Malveaux Era. And I want to be known as a wise, witty economist who helped people think.
Kam Williams: Thanks again for the interview, Dr. Malveaux.
Julianne Malveaux: Thank you.
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Bennett College is a four-year liberal arts women’s college in Greensboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1873, this historically black institution began as a normal school to provide education to newly emancipated slaves. It became a women’s college in 1926 and currently serves roughly 600 undergraduates. Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou have recently offered public support to Bennett College.
Bennett College has 678 students, all women and primarily of African-American descent, enrolled in one of Bennett’s 24 degree programs. Bennett is currently ranked #16 among the top historically black colleges and universities, both for its academic achievements and its relatively reasonable tuition rates. Today Bennett is reorganizing and revitalizing its campus and academic infrastructure. Bennett’s brother school is Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. This relationship developed through the close and historic friendship of former Bennett College President Dr. David Dallas Jones and former Morehouse College President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.Wikipedia
By Julianne Malveaux
Malveaux seeks to reveal the relationships between economics and race, sex and politics in this collection of cogent columns syndicated in numerous papers, including USA Today and the San Francisco Examiner. What makes the writing fresh, and not the ramblings of an angry black woman, is her use of actual acquaintances to illustrate points. For example, Malveaux buttresses her criticisms of the misguided economic priorities that resulted in the failure of urban schools with the story of a teacher friend worn down by low pay, job instability and hardened students. Malveaux’s short pieces tackle Anita Hill, homelessness, Lani Guinier, NAFTA, conservatism, Clarence Thomas, speech codes and multicultural programs. Although the columns cover a variety of topics from AIDS to recycling to “buying black,” her perspective is primarily economic. It is this approach which makes for redundancies in several chapters-especially the first two. But the flip side is that she makes (or re-makes) a strong argument for the economic basis of the American struggle over race and gender.Publishers Weekly
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By William Watkins
William H. Watkins is subtle in his story of the white architects who developed Black education beginning in 1865, just at the end of the Civil War. Watkins shocks you with his scientific racism platform that he explains presented human difference as the rational for inequality and that it can be understood as an ideological and political issue (pg. 39). The reader senses a calm attitude about the author as he speaks of the philanthropists, beginning with John D. Rockefeller, Sr, who was most concerned about shaping the new industrial social order (pg. 133) than he was for providing a useful education. The Rockefeller group demonstrated how gift giving could shape education and public policy (pg. 134).
In their support of Black education, by 1964, the General Education Board (GEB) spent more than $3.2 million dollars in gifts to support Black education. This captivating book begins with a foreword written by Robin D.G. Kelley who reflects that he learned one lesson from Watkins, If we are to create new models of pedagogy and intellectual work and become architects of our own education, then we cannot simply repair the structures that have been passed down to us. We need to dismantle the old architecture so that we might begin anew (pg. xiii). Why dont the school reformers who mandate educational laws experience such an awakening?Review by AC Snow
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Established before 1964 with the Intention of Serving the Black Community
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Edited by Charles L. Betsey
Beginning in the 1830s, public and private higher education institutions established to serve African-Americans operated in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Border States, and the states of the old Confederacy. Until recently the vast majority of people of African descent who received post-secondary education in the United States did so in historically black institutions. Spurred on by financial and accreditation issues, litigation to assure compliance with court decisions, equal higher education opportunity for all citizens, and the role of race in admissions decisions, interest in the role, accomplishments, and future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has been renewed. This volume touches upon these issues. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are a diverse group of 105 institutions.
They vary in size from several hundred students to over 10,000. Prior to Brown v. Board of Education, 90 percent of African-American postsecondary students were enrolled in HBCUs. Currently the 105 HBCUs account for 3 percent of the nations educational institutions, but they graduate about one-quarter of African-Americans receiving college degrees. The competition that HBCUs currently face in attracting and educating African-American and other students presents both challenges and opportunities. Despite the fact that numerous studies have found that HBCUs are more effective at retaining and graduating African-American students than predominately white colleges, HBCUs have serious detractors.
Perhaps because of the increasing pressures on state governments to assure that public HBCUs receive comparable funding and provide programs that will attract a broader student population, several public HBCUs no longer serve primarily African-American students. There is reason to believe, and it is the opinion of several contributors to this book, that in the changing higher education environment HBCUs will not survive, particularly those that are financially weak. The contributors to this volume provide cutting-edge data as well as solid social analysis of this major concern in black life as well as American higher education as a whole.
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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By Charles C. Mann
Im a big fan of Charles Manns previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Its exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that its anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, Im proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, globalized entity.
Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple. We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 14 December 2010
Related files: Paradox of Loyalty