#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER – NAMED ONE OF TIME‘S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE – PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST – NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST – ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” – NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men–bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son–and readers–the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of Between the World and Me, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory. This is required reading.” –Toni Morrison
“Powerful and passionate . . . profoundly moving . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Really powerful and emotional.” –John Legend, The Wall Street Journal
“Extraordinary . . . [Coates] writes an impassioned letter to his teenage son–a letter both loving and full of a parent’s dread–counseling him on the history of American violence against the black body, the young African-American’s extreme vulnerability to wrongful arrest, police violence, and disproportionate incarceration.” –David Remnick, The New Yorker
“Brilliant . . . a riveting meditation on the state of race in America . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders, and it is something to behold: a mature writer entirely consumed by a momentous subject and working at the extreme of his considerable powers at the very moment national events most conform to his vision.” —The Washington Post