Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2020
I have studied history in graduate school and taught history in high school. I found this book to be wildly wrong about a number of people and events in American history. For example, Kendi and Reynolds' claims about the early New England settlers is just flat out wrong. It's true that there were slaveholders in New England in the early days of this country, but there were not many and the few who did hold slaves were far outside the mainstream of New England thought, in particular they were a long way from being affirmed and accepted by the New England Puritans, such as Jonathan Edwards. Other examples of bizarre thinking include the author's take on the color white as a symbol of virtue, purity, innocence and superiority is clearly true in some contexts, but clearly not true in other contexts. It can also be seen as a symbol of vapidity, emptiness, boredom, etc. In a similar way, any other color, including black is good in some cases ('in the black' for profit, the Jesus seminar uses black to represent the true words of Jesus, etc.) and bad or 'badass' in others (Johnny Cash as the man in black, blackguard, etc.). It is dangerously disingenuous and silly to argue that because some symbolic uses of white are good and some symbolic uses of black are bad that the whole culture is tipped in the direction of "white" people. My biggest concern: this is going to mislead a generation of students, and create even more racial strife in our culture. We need to learn to relate to each other as individuals not as pawns of culture.