Top positive review
Mandatory reading for everyone, and particularly so if you're a regular, normal white person.
Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2018
I became familiar with Mr. Coates when I read the 'reparations' article in "The Atlantic" while visiting my sister's house. This book is a more comprehensive look at the horror and degradation inflicted by white America on those of African (or native American, or . . . ) descent, ie, anybody else of less than totally white background and appearance. As a 70 year old white guy, I'm amazed and ashamed that this oppression continues almost unabated until this day, without ever having become a thing that our alleged 'better natures' would not have overcome. But no, as you read this indictment of the non-unitedness of the United States, it becomes clear that, from the founding fathers on, we have been a nation of, by, and for white people, without any real regard for the way that people of color (you know, any of those non-white ones) are treated. It's enormously sad and shameful that a nation of such high stated principles would allow itself to become the racist place that is in evidence pretty much everywhere you look. I think that everyone should read this book and keep close in memory the realities that it documents. We REALLY should be doing better for our brother and sister citizens. Truth is though, that we're not, and that's a huge part of what this book is about. It's a staggeringly painful and revealing piece of writing.
In some movie, some character asks of some jury "Now, imagine if she was white". You may have seen the movie, and understood the starkness of the contrast between what was being asked and the reality of what was. That's where we are as a nation, and where we all are as citizens. Try to imagine how tolerable those centuries of indignities would be if inflicted on ANY member of your family. If you're white, you really DO have to imagine, if you're not, no imagination is required - it's what you live.
I wish Mr. Coates well in continuing to try to educate the population at large, and hope that his message gets absorbed by people who might otherwise not know what has been and still is, going on. It's much too easy to be white and not really know about the depth and duration of this problem; WAY easier than it should be. Think of this book as the textbook for "Black Studies for White Folks" 1A. Spend some time with this book and get yourself up to speed.