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1. Black Boy (P.S.)
2. Eight Men: Short Stories (P.S.)
3. Rite of Passage
4. Richard Wright and the Library
5. Haiku
6. Black Power: Three Books from
7. Clara Callan
8. Native Son (Bloom's Modern Critical
9. Native Son
10. The Long Dream (Northeastern Library
11. The Outsider (P.S.)
12. Richard Wright
13. The Death-Bound-Subject: Richard
14. Conversations with Richard Wright
15. Richard Wright's Black Boy (American
16. Environmental Science: Toward
17. Richard Wright: The Life and Times
18. Uncle Tom's Children (P.S.)
19. Richard Wright Reader
20. Critical Essays on Richard Wright

1. Black Boy (P.S.)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 448 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$6.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061443085
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a "drunkard," hanging about taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot.

Black Boy is Richard Wright's powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment—a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (168)

1-0 out of 5 stars always ask
Always ask if the seller is sending the what is in the picture...i was sent and older version...needed the version pictured.Seller did refund me the cost of the book and shipping.

4-0 out of 5 stars good transaction good product
nothing special,I bought a book & the transaction was smooth & the book was fine.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Black Boys are Lighting Up in the English Classroom!
I have read this book five times now, in my efforts to get high school students to walk into the past with this black boy and spend some meaningful time with him. It is me, however, who has been changed the most by Mr. Wright's seminal story, especially after my most recent reading. It made the places in which I reside and work alien; it allowed me to carve out a space and time for tears; it has allowed me to see awakened in my black students a new sense of self and place.
Richard Wright, I only know you through the lens of this book and your novel, Native Son, but if you can hear me somewhere: Thank you. You have been my father, my mentor, my teacher, and my icon. I am forever grateful for you and the legacy you left behind for other kinds of outcasts, like me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grim, Captivating, and Inspiring
I first read Richard Wright's "Black Boy" as part of the required reading for English my freshman year in high school. Just out of personal interest, I decided to re-read it. It is one of the most enjoyable reads I've had in a while, despite its grim subject matter.

"Black Boy" is semi-autobiographical- the main events really happened, but Wright wrote it in the style of a novel, and probably took some literary license. At any rate, he starts his narrative at age four in Mississippi, and ends at his leaving the Communist Party in New York in his adult life. From the beginning, the reader is captivated by Wright's story-telling- his words and narrative style are engaging, naturalistic, and vivid. Wright tells how he grew up with a mother who was loving but did not hesitate to employ severe corporal punishment, and a father who blatantly abandoned his family and refused to provide any kind of support. The young Richard does not know the difference between "blacks" and "whites", until the culture of white supremacy in the south brutally forces it on him when one of his uncles is murdered by whites for his thriving liquor business. Richard gradually learns that blacks are expected to act in a subservient, deferential manner toward whites, and if they don't they risk violence, possibly leading to murder. Further, because of his family's situation, hunger is a constant and persistent foe- Wright tells of having to fight hunger pangs every day, and had to learn tricks such as oversaturating himself with water to temporarily relieve them. Richard and his family travel across the south, living with different relatives to either escape racism or find new employment.

From the beginning, Richard had an independent streak, and that got him into trouble on many fronts. First with the surrounding white culture- he has to fear violence if he is not respectful enough toward whites- and also with his family. He respects his mother, but he is strong-willed toward every other adult he comes across. At one point, his mother gets sick from stroke paralysis, and he goes to live with his Uncle Clark. One of Richard's cousins dies soon after he arrives, and he refuses to sleep in the bed that his cousin had slept in, for fear of there being a ghost. Richard insists on leaving, even though he knows it will mean more hunger pangs. In addition, when Richard is the valedictorian of his class, he refuses to read the prepared speech the principal gave him. The biggest conflict with his family in the book is with his grandmother and Aunt Addie, strict Seventh-Day Adventists who do their best to mold Richard according to their religious doctrines. They do not succeed, and Richard persists in saying that he cannot feel religion. At one point, he says "the naked will to power always seemed to walk in the wake of a hymn."

Despite all of the problems he faces in growing up, Richard takes a great interest in reading and writing, and eventually aspires to be a writer. Specifically, he is struck be realist and naturalist fiction, (Crane, Dreiser, Zola, etc), since its portrayal of life as it really is, and the ways people struggle and maintain their dignity in the midst of it, resonates powerfully with him. Eventually, after increasingly feeling the hateful white supremacy around him after he reaches young adulthood, Richard, since he cannot figure out how to play the deferential role, he realizes that he will either be killed or will have to leave. After saving up some money, and getting the extra needed through a movie ticket scam in Memphis, he and his family move to Chicago, right on the brink of the Depression. From there, he begins writing for a literary magazine, Left Front, and joins the Communist Party. He initially sees a lot of hope in it, but since the Party condemns books they haven't read, and he perceives them as enforcing dogmatic loyalty, he cannot stay with it. Further, his comrades in the Party are distrustful of him for being an intellectual, and teaching himself how to read, which Richard finds incredible.

The most enjoyable aspect of Black Boy is Wrights's humanism- both literary and philosophical. He expresses solidarity with literature as a way of expressing human aspirations, and Wright's own message is the need for people to come together and reject oppressive institutions- whether religion, state, or social bigotry.

1-0 out of 5 stars Uninspiring and boring, sorry that's how I feel about it
I do not deny that what the author went through was horrible, but this book is not at all interesting. The first part was okay, but later on it just drags on and on and I failed to see the point of the book. At the end it just became a collection of rants and blames. I've read plenty of other books describing people enduring hardships, but those books are actually inspirational instead of whiny. ... Read more

2. Eight Men: Short Stories (P.S.)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 304 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061450189
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Here, in these powerful stories, Richard Wright takes readers into this landscape once again.

Each of the eight stories in Eight Men focuses on a black man at violent odds with a white world, reflecting Wright's views about racism in our society and his fascination with what he called "the struggle of the individual in America." These poignant, gripping stories will captivate all those who loved Black Boy and Native Son.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Work
Though this does not contain Mr. Wright's best short story, "Bright and Morning Star", it does reveal his brilliance in telling a tale and connecting to the Black experience.From his use of the vernacular to his adept reaching of the Black man's perception of the white worlds attitude's toward him, Mr. Wright's work brings a certain comfort in knowing that some one else has gone through what the reader has.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent work
Richard Wright is well known as the author of classic American books like "Native Son", but this was my first sample of his short story work.Eight Men is a collection of short stories about Black men in very different and unusual situations, but all of the stories involve their struggles in life.

"The Man Who Lived Underground" was the story that struck me the most.The elements of this story took a considerable amount of time to analyze back when I was a freshman in college.It is the story of Fred Daniels, a black man, wrongly accused of murder, who escapes to the sewer and there realizes the harsh realities of his existence.More happens in that sewer than you probably imagine.It is the longest of all of the stories.

"The Man of All Work" is the story that had the most humor in it."Eight Men" is a collection of fairly sad stories that detail the oppressive conditions of Black men in the 1930's, and this short story joined with "The Big Black Good Man" as the only ones with noticeable humor to them.The resourcefulness of a Black man in a town where there were no jobs for Black men is the basis of this story.

Our book club found "Eight Men" to be very interesting on a number of levels.The discussion was lively, and everyone had contributions.The meeting ran past the scheduled time, and that is the highest praise that we can give to a book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb Reading
I really enjoyed all the readings in the book. All of the readings were captivating. This book displayed the expertise that Wright displays in all his works. ... Read more

3. Rite of Passage
by Richard Wright
 Paperback: 160 Pages (1996-01-31)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006447111X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

"Johnny, you're leaving us tonight . . . "

Fifteen-year-old Johnny Gibbs does, well in school, respects his teachers, and loves his family. Then suddenly, with a few short words, his idyllic life is shattered. He learns that the family he has loved all his life is not his own, but a foster family. And now he is being sent to live with someone else.

Shocked by the news, Johnny does the only thing he can think of: he runs. Leaving his childhood behind forever, Johnny takes to the streets where he learns about living life--the hard way.

Richard Wright, internationally acclaimed author of Black Boy and Native Son, gives us a coming-of-age story as compelling today as when it was first written, over fifty years ago.

‘Johnny Gibbs arrives home jubilantly one day with his straight ‘A’ report card to find his belongings packed and his mother and sister distraught. Devastated when they tell him that he is not their blood relative and that he is being sent to a new foster home, he runs away. His secure world quickly shatters into a nightmare of subways, dark alleys, theft and street warfare. . . . Striking characters, vivid dialogue, dramatic descriptions, and enduring themes introduce a enw generation of readers to Wright’s powerful voice.’—SLJ.

Notable 1995 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

3-0 out of 5 stars Rite of Passage
The book Rite of Passage was really interesting and exciting because it's about a boy who has lived with the same family all his life until he's taken away by a different family. Then he runs away from the family and then joins a gang. The best chapter of the story is 1 to me because it is when Johnny is told that he is being taken away buy a new family there is a lot of emotion. Then when his new family comes to pick him up he does the last thing he can think of and that's run away and he does. This book would be really good for teens because it's about a teen who runs away to join a gang. I would give this book a three out of five because of the ending and its really short.

3-0 out of 5 stars A.S. Wold Studies Rite of passage
The book rite of passage by Richard Wright I thought was interesting and easy to follow. It was adventursome and was exciting.It was also short and easy to comprehend. the book was very discriptive and gave me a good picture of what each caracter was like.there was a ten-page fighting passage that was suspensful because the caracters kept on trading off winning.the book made me relize how good i have it, a family,a good school, and a good place to live.Overall I would recamend this book to kids 14 or yunger because it was easy to read.Also to people who like aventursome books this is a good one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Love the story, but too short
I have read one of theother books written by this author, and loved them, so I thought I would read this one as well.The story was very good.The wording was put a little too simply, but it was an overall good book.It kept me interested, and I didn't put it down until I was done.The only problem was that it was very short, and ended too abruptly.The story didn't exactly end.I would have liked to hear more about what happens to The Moochers.Seeing some sort of conflict would have been nice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rite Of Passage
I thought that this was an excellent book. I loved the fact that this was taken place in the ghettos of New York. I also loved the excitement it builded up in me. I couldn't take my hands off of the book. The only one thing that I didn't like was the ending. I didn't like it because I was hoping for him to go back with his family.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rite of Passage - a one day journey
Rite of Passage is a short book that takes place over the period of one day. Johnny, a fifteen year-old goes from goody-goody two shoes teacher's pet momma's boy to knife fight"don't mess with me or I'll cut you up" gangster boy. The story started with Johnny getting straight A's in school, walking home to his bowl of soup waiting for him. When he gets there, he finds out his parents aren't his real parents. He is going to go to another foster home. His "parents" were supposed to tell him a year earlier, and they never did. He waited in disbelief and anxiousness until his new parents arrived, then he had no other choice in mind and ran. He ran to his best friend, Billy, who let him join his gang, that Johnny never knew about. He had stolen some candy bars to live off of and Billy's gang let him join after he spared their leader in a death fight. He later went out mugging people for money, and it ended when he went to sleep. It ended very abruptly, and went very fast. It was kind of hard to follow, and had some strange moments. I would recommend this book to people that like a book with a very realistic look on life. It was a good book, but I wouldn't have wanted to read it if I didn't have to.
... Read more

4. Richard Wright and the Library Card
by William Miller, Gregory Christie
Paperback: 32 Pages (1999-10)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1880000881
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
As a boy in the segregated South, author Richard Wright was determined to borrow books from the public library. His story vividly illustrates the power of determination in making a dream into reality.Amazon.com Review
Richard Wright, African American author of Black Boyand Native Son, grew up in the segregated South of the 1920s. His formal education ended after he completed the ninth grade, but gaining access to the public library with the help of a white coworker opened up a new world of books for him, eventually inspiring him to become a writer. Richard Wright and the Library Card is a fictionalized account of this powerful story, deftly adapted by William Miller from a scene in Black Boy.

Miller--a professor of African American literature and author of thecritically acclaimed Frederick Douglass: TheLast Day of Slavery, A House by theRiver, and ZoraHurston and the Chinaberry Tree-- masterfully builds suspense,as readers wonder how the young African American will quench histhirst for books without being busted by the local whitelibrarian. Wright's story is perfectly complemented by the work ofGregory Christie, winner of the 1997 Coretta Scott King IllustratorHonor Award for Palm ofMy Heart. (Ages 5 to 9) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Determination at Its Best
I enjoyed reading this fictionalised slice of history, with it's lesson of sheer determination and a love of learning. It made me want to use my library card to check out Native Son.

5-0 out of 5 stars The power of books
It's Black History Month again. Things are different this year. Hope deferred has come to pass. Barack Obama is president. We have an African-American (or mixed race) president. Would Richard Wright have believed it? Not even vaguely.

You see, Richard Wright (1908-1960) was too concerned with checking out a few books from the library to ponder an unlikely fairy tale. By the time Benjamin Franklin had established the first public lending library, slavery was already an institution. Slave holders understood the necessity of forbidding the world of words and ideas to slaves. Yet the battle for free lives (although without free minds) had been fought and won long before Richard Wright craved what was in books. Knowledge. Ideas. Perhaps power somewhere in the very back, the deeply hidden well of his mind.

The subject of "Richard Wright and the Library Card" is one short period in Wright's life. He was 17 and heading to Chicago from Mississippi. He thought he was going to the Promised Land. But on his way, he stopped in Memphis, where he obtained a job in an optical shop. There he met a man, a Catholic who also knew prejudice, who asked him one day to pick up some books from the library. That's how Wright conceived the idea of borrowing this man's card to check out books for himself.

So, a man with a father from Africa is president. Why concern ourselves with one teenager who lived a long time ago who wanted to check out some books? That is the past. It's over. Let's move on and forget all these struggles, these impossible odds that African Americans faced in the yesterdays of history. What's that? What are you saying? "We study history to prevent making the mistakes of the past."

Sure, I know what Jim Crow is--laws designed by Southerners to keep blacks in near-slave constraints from 1876-1965. That's why Richard Wright could not check out a book from the public library. When he told the librarian that he was checking out books for his boss man, she was skeptical. When he said, oh shucks, missus, I can't even read, she was relieved (shame on her doubly, once as a human being and twice as a librarian!).

Americans celebrate Martin L. King because he dared put on his "going to jail" suit to demonstrate and march peacefully to eliminate Jim Crow, to claim his "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," "liberty and justice." He intended to make these words fully true for "all." Richard Wright was taking those baby steps (although unbeknownst to him) on the way to making Barack Obama president. No, none of this is literally in the story, but I can read between the lines.

Richard Wright wanted to check out books because he knew the knowledge and power that was in them. The first night that he had a stack of books, he read until daylight. What he read changed him. He learned that whites, too, suffered as he did--Dickens, Tolstoy, Stephen Crane, that misery and injustice are not limited to just blacks.

When a reviewer considers a book, especially a children's book, that person must contemplate the effect of the book and illustrations. Until now while writing this review, I detested the illustrations. They are dark, murky, dreary, and shockingly painful to study. That's when it occurred to me that they are meant to be that way. They artfully depict Richard Wright's life. The cover is the only attractive illustration and look--he's in the act of reading and reflecting! The technique is Post-Impressionism, a type of art that goes beyond the blur of Impressionism to extremes in color, mood, "the moment," or in this case, memories.

The product page lists the target audience as ages 4-8. I don't think I would read this to my 4-year-old great-niece and explain Jim Crow and the darkness of these illustrations. I think this book is more apropos for children 7 or 8 and up.

This Black History Month in the year 2008 is a year of hope and change. Richard Wright took one of those little steps to get us there. We celebrate him, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Illustrates How Important Libraries Are!
With all this obession over testing in school and phonics, researchers have repeatedly found that access to books and libraries are really the key to literacy for a people.Apparently segregationists understood this and tried to limit the accessibility of books to African-Americans in the South.William Miller's fictional account of Richard Wright's attempt to access a library and books illustrates how reading can change lives and help people to grow.Richard Wright grew into a writer and was able to use words and writing not because he learned phonics or took tests but because he had books to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars "BLACK BOY"beats the system !
Richard Wright grew up in the early 1930s . . . thinking that a library card was the TICKET TO FREEDOM. His mother used 'funny papers' to teach him to read but his formal education went only through 9th grade. A chance for a job took him to Memphis, Tennessee, and there he continued to yearn for books.

How difficult it is now to imagine not being allowed a library card because of race. Thousands of books, but only white folks could check them out! At work Richard finally approached one white man who was willing to loan his library card. Bending the truth a bit to use the card, young Richard found a new life spread out before him.

This 5 STAR story was drawn from an incident that Richard Wright wrote about in his famous 1945 autobiography. The books he read inspired his own talent. He worked with words all his life to express his beliefs in freedom and equality. Everyone MUST see the portrait of Wright on the cover of "HAIKU, This Other World" and be moved by that handsome face which reflects such great strength of character.

Libraries are more than symbols, and books are treasures that never stop 'giving back'. Parents & Teachers: Encourage children to tell about their first library experiences.

REVIEWER mcHAIKU believes fervently that their memories are also treasures.

5-0 out of 5 stars How young Richard Wright got to read books from the library
Richard Wright is an African American author best known for his novel "Native Son" and his autobiographical work "Black Boy."In "Richard Wright and the Library Card" author William Miller fictionalizes a story from the latter work that tells of how Wright was inspired to become a writer.Growing up in the Mississippi of the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was only allowed to go to school through the 9th grade.His mother had taught him to read by using the newspaper and Richard read everything he could find.At the age of 17 Wright traveled north to Memphis, where he got a job sweeping the floors and doing other jobs in the office of an optician.Wanting to check out books at the local library Wright is told he cannot do so because he is black.The only things he can read are old books and newspapers that he finds in the trash.But then, with the help of a white co-worker, Wright is able to come up with a strategy for circumventing the rules.

Miller takes some liberties with Wright's original description of these events in his life, but for the most part these changes simply reinforce the elements of the story; for example, the librarian is suspicious of Richard until he lies and says that he cannot read, at which point the librarian laughs.The detail is not in "Black Boy," but certainly having the librarian laugh reinforces both the irony and the injustice of Wright have to lie in order to gain access to books to read.For that matter the language in the story is made appropriate for young readers, who do not need to hear the epithets in use at the time to understand the prejudice Wright and other African-Americans faced in the segregated South.Miller also does a nice job of setting up the anticipation of young readers who, even if they know nothing of Wright's literary accomplishments, quickly realize that he is going to be able to get to read some books and have to wonder how he is going to do it and beat the oppressive system of segregation.

This volume has the advantage of wonderful impressionistic illustrations by Gregory Christie that pointedly capture the contrast between the face that young Richard shows to the suspicious white librarian, and the real face that comes alive when he is able to read books.This book is appropriate for young readers (Grades 2-5 in terms of interest level and Grades 2-3 for reading level) and emphasizes the wrongness of treating people as different in that Wright's co-worker, Jim Falk, is also considered an outside because he is Catholic, although clearly the Jim Crow laws are the implicit target of condemnation in this book.Wright considers every page of each book to be "a ticket to freedom," and when the young Richard leaves Memphis to go to Chicago and a new life, hopefully young readers will look forward to actually reading some of the important books that he wrote.But at this point the main benefit will be the sense of how things were different back then; I wonder how many young readers could look at the cover and the title of this book and guess correctly the story found inside. ... Read more

5. Haiku
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 320 Pages (2000-04-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$87.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385720246
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"As good a haiku poet as this country has ever produced."--Seattle Weekly

Like all great writers, Richard Wright never failed to create works of breathtaking originality, depth, and beauty. With Native Son he gave us Bigger Thomas, still one of the most provocative and controversial characters in fiction. With Black Boy he offered a candid and searing depiction of racism and poverty in America. And now, forty years after his death, he has bestowed us with one of the finest collections of haiku in American literature.

Wright became enamored of haiku at the end of his life, and in this strict, seventeen-syllable form he discovered another way of looking at the world. He rendered images of nature and humanity that raised questions and revealed strikingly fresh perspectives. The publication of this collection is not only one of the greatest posthumous triumphs of American letters but also a final testament to the noble spirit and enduring artistry of Richard Wright.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Haiku Rooted in the English Language
I consider this to be the finest collection of Haiku yet written in English.I have read and re-read this collection and with each reading I find some new layers of meaning.I don't have a lot to add to the previous reviews, but here are a few aspects I'd like to mention.First, these Haiku are in a natural, flowing English.My first reaction when I read this collection was, "Wow!! Here are Haiku that are in ENGLISH!"A lot of Haiku are written in a truncated form that eliminates articles, prepositions, and minimizes the use of modifiers.The result is a kind of telegraph-speak that lacks a sense of rhythm and musicality.Wright's Haiku don't do this; each Haiku flows in a natural English, as if the Haiku was a native English form. This is all the more amazing considering that Wright adheres to the traditional syllabic structure of Haiku, following the 5-7-5, three-line syllable count.The book is a powerful demonstration that such a usage is completely natural for the English language.

Second, Wright demonstrates a deep sympathy for people in his Haiku, I found this particularly true of his Haiku on women and children.Some of these are very moving even though very brief.The broad humanity of this collection is something I always find inspiring.

Third, Wright's display of the natural world is complete.He doesn't just show nature in its bucolic aspect, he also shows nature in its toughness and even in its aspect of threat.He saw nature in all its perspectives and is able to communicate this.

My only regret is that we do not have access to the Haiku that didn't end up in this anthology.My hope is that at some point in the future those who have access to his estate will be willing to publish a complete edition; all 4,000 haiku.I'll bet there are some real gems hidden away in the archives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Master of Images
Richard Wright was one of America's most powerful
writers with strong and passionate images.His
poetry is a reflection of his writing abilities,
his passion, perhaps honing his ability to write
both fiction and non-fiction.

This book is one of the best kept secrets. In
my opinion, it is as vivid as his best known

4-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Book of Poetry
A collection of 817 poems selected from about 4000 that Richard Wright wrote in his last years, This Other World marks a moment of peace in his life of struggle. The three-line poems display, but are not limited to, his attempt at absorbing haiku, a form of classic Japanese poetry.

Haiku is written in 3 rhythmical parts of 5-7-5 BEATS ("moras/morae" in linguistic terms, not "syllables") respectively, and typically consists of 2 syntactical parts. 5-7-5 English "syllables" often lead to padding and wordiness, and seldom make a good haiku. This was made clear in 1964, when R. H. Blyth suggested an English-language template in his History of Haiku, Vol. 2.

Wright, like Kenneth Yasuda, employed 5-7-5 English syllables for his composition. If you look at his lines from a haiku-ist point view, you'll find a devastating number of unnecessary prepositions (mostly "in") pushing rivers, woods, seas, etc., to the background. And often there are too many items in one poem, contributing to a sort of richness but blurring the focus. These come from the slackness of the misinterpreted version of the form.

Above said, I'd rather emphasize that Wright's poems don't need to be called haiku. Though partial knowledge was common among those who wrote haiku outside Japan in his time, the quality of his work is uncommon. There are many images that are definitely unforgettable: a cigarette glowing in the spring breeze, without lips touching it; a washerwoman dyeing a tub of water blue, again in the spring wind...

A railroad station:
A crowd of summer children
Laughing in the rain. (p. 115)

Wright's nostalgic vision actually reminds us of Buson, and his sympathies of Issa--beyond the boundaries of haiku.

* * *
The editors' commentary and afterword are unsuitable for and inharmonious with the book. They seem to forcibly confine Wright's poems in haiku's range, and the frequent reference to Zen Buddhism is neither relevant nor accurate most of the time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Haiku Poetry Book
I am a poet and an author. This is an excellent poetry book by Richard Wright. I recently attended a haiku seminar where the book was recommended by the facilitator. The book is filled with excellent imagery on each page.This is a relaxing read for the soul.I love it!

5-0 out of 5 stars HAIKUISMY'SOULFOOD'
Julia Wright lauded her father's "tender, unassuming and gentle lines" of haiku. I think she felt the writing of these poems gave Richard Wright balance (in thelast two years of his life) while fighting illness and suffering the death of his mother. Miss Wright has written beautiful, perceptive and loving words in her Introduction to the collection of haiku; I also am grateful to (Mrs.) Ellen Wright for the cover photograph (clik to hardcover edition):

"Native Son, seeing
from Mississippi clear to
Paris in spring-time.

Black Boy, self-aware,
your portrait holds me, stirring
these sad reveries." (mcH)

It is my feeling that the "counting of syllables" CAN be an exercise for healing. I promise, you will be delving into this book countless times. Haiku & senryu . . . each brings delight because inevitably the reader's imagination will be triggered by just one word, or phrase, or aroused feelings. Some believe the 'Haiku moment' comes from using words that "do not depend on metaphors & symbols." The INTENT is to EXPRESS the 'AH-NESS.'

However it happens, read through this legacy from Richard Wright and you will experience sheer pleasure.

"The low of a cow
Answers a train's long whistle
In the summer dusk."

817 haiku were chosen for publication by Wright from the 4000 he wrote during his illness while exiled in France. I may not follow the 'correct' study method but readers who also write haiku will recognize certain stages of progression, and repetition of certain subjects. Wright wrote often about sparrows, crows, snow, loneliness, magnolias, death, scarecrows, the moon. The following is anamusing favorite that is considered "senryu":

"It is so hot that
The scarecrow has taken off
All his underwear!"

REVIEWER mcHAIKU rarely indicates that you should avoid reading somethingBUT in a positive spirit, I feel qiuite free to urge you toMAKETHISBOOKAPARTOFYOURLIFE.
... Read more

6. Black Power: Three Books from Exile: Black Power; The Color Curtain; and White Man, Listen! (P.S.)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 864 Pages (2008-02-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061449458
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Editorial Review

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Originally published in 1954, Richard Wright's Black Power is an extraordinary nonfiction work by one of America's premier literary giants of the twentieth century. An impassioned chronicle of the author's trip to Africa's Gold Coast before it became the free nation of Ghana, it speaks eloquently of empowerment and possibility, and resonates loudly to this day.

Also included in this omnibus edition are two nonfiction works Wright produced around the time of Black Power. White Man, Listen! is a stirring collection of his essays on race, politics, and other essential social concerns ("Deserves to be read with utmost seriousness"—New York Times). The Color Curtain is an indispensable work urging the removal of the color barrier. It remains one of the key commentaries on the question of race in the modern era. ("Truth-telling will perhaps always be unpopular and suspect, but in The Color Curtain, as in all his later nonfiction, Wright did not hesitate to tell the truth as he saw it."—Amritjit Singh, Ohio University)

... Read more

7. Clara Callan
by Richard B. Wright
Paperback: 414 Pages (2009-05-15)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$2.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1554684803
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Winner in 2001 of Canada's two most prestigious literary awards -- the Governor General's Award and the Giller Prize -- Richard B. Wright's celebrated novel Clara Callan is the powerful, moving story of two sisters and their life-changing experiences on the eve of World War II.

It is the year 1934, and in a small town in Canada, Clara Callan reluctantly takes leave of her sister, Nora, who is bound for the show business world of New York. It's a time when people escape from reality through radio and the movies, when the Dionne Quints make headlines, when the growing threat of fascism in Europe is a constant worry, and the two sisters -- vastly different in personality yet inextricably linked by a shared past -- try to find their place within the complex web of social expectations for young women in the 1930s.

While Nora embarks on a glamorous career as a radio soap opera star, Clara, a strong and independent-minded woman, struggles to observe the traditional boundaries of a small and tight-knit community without relinquishing her dreams of love, freedom, and adventure. But Nora's letters eventually begin to reveal that her life in the big city is a little less exotic than it may seem: though her career is flourishing, her free spirit is curbed by a string of fairly conventional and unsuccessful personal relationships. Meanwhile, the tranquil solitude of Clara's life is shattered by a series of unforeseeable events, turns of fate that require all of Clara's courage and strength, and that will put the seemingly unbreakable bond between the sisters to the test.

Ultimately, both discover not only the joys of love and possibility, but also the darker side of life -- violence, deception, and loss -- lurking just beneath the surface of everyday experience.

Clara Callan is a mesmerizing tribute to friendship and sisterhood, romance and redemption, written with such insight and passion that the characters' stories will remain with you long after you have read the last page.Amazon.com Review
A finely detailed depiction of the Depression era, Richard B. Wright's Clara Callan is told entirely in the letters and journal entries of two adult sisters, Clara and Nora Callan, and their older lesbian friend, Evelyn. The novel, Wright's ninth, made a surprising sweep of Canada's major awards for best novel--the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award--in 2001. Wright has the gift of making the reader care deeply about these characters and their worlds, which include small town Ontario, where Clara is a sensitive schoolteacher, and New York City, where the younger Nora has moved to become a radio soap opera star. Since both sisters are still "on the shelf," their roller-coaster love lives--Nora's in worldly Manhattan and Clara's in the more restrictive atmosphere of small-town spinsterhood--are a primary subject of their letters and Clara's journal.

This is a quiet book, studied and well researched, but thoroughly engaging and readable. Numerous references to period music, political events, and the looming war quite successfully place the reader at both the centre and the periphery of life in the 1930s. Side trips to Italy and to view the Dionne quintuplets feel entirely authentic. With deceptive simplicity, the author creates a world of clear images: "Nora came in from her shuffleboard game with a sweater tied across her shoulders, her hair damp from the rain." Most importantly, Wright has realized characters that come alive on the page--quite a feat considering the self-imposed limitations of this novel's form. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.Not fluff at all!
THe reviewers who insult this book as trite fluff completely devoid of serious issues are correct only if you believe the inner life of a single woman to be of no serious import.I thought this was a beautiful and realistic book exploring the life of a Canadian school teacher in the days of the depression. Perhaps readers today want Clara to be more of a feminist than she is but, to me, she comes across as a very accurate reperesentation of a forward-thinking woman of her time.I identified closely with the character of Clara and felt deeply all her emotions and dilemnas.I really enjoyed this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, appearing to go somewhere, but never arrives
Light and fluffy with no real content except discontent and the exercise of bad judgement.The first half of the book hints at the possibility of some deepness in the second half, but disappoints in that respect. The "Afterward" gives the appearance of the story being non-fiction, but unless the author is using a male pseudonym, that would be impossible.
If you want to follow the meaningless lives of two sisters and wallow in the elder's loneliness, peccadilloes, and bad judgements then this is a book for you.The older sister of the first half of the book has so much potential which is fully destroyed by the author in the second half.

Clara Callan provided its readers with a nostalgic return to the days of yesteryear when housewives escaped their humdrum existence by fulfilling their romantic dreams and fantasies via serialized radio programs and having a child out of wedlock was akin to wearing a scarlet letter.

Richard B. Wright has managed to capture the emotions and morals of the late 1930's and early 1940's in this epistolary morality tale of two sisters, Clara and Nora, one a teacher residing in small, clannish Canadian town and the other a "soap opera" actress pursuing a career in New York City.

Wright's look at the plight of females of this era, attempting to maneuver through the social expectations of society while pursuing their own goals, is startling in its insight and accuracy and almost makes one feel as if this novel were written by a woman. (High praise indeed).

When all is said and done, Clara Callan shows us freedom to pursue ones dreams comes with a price, and that perhaps things were not really so good in the "good old days".

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
I became curious about this book after finding out it won both the GG Award and the Giller.I had read The Weekend Man and Final Things by the same author, and both of those were excellent, but this book showcased Wright's incredible talent at his craft.

This book is written in diary and letter format from the perspective of Clara Callan, a thirtysomething school teacher in the 1930s.It begins with her father's death, and her sister's move to New York City.Clara is alone in the small town that she grew up, and she chronicles a 4-year period in great detail.

I'm sometimes hesitant to read books by men with female protagonists because sometimes the unintentional maleness of the character's thoughts permeates their characterization.Wright does a great job writing from a female point of view, however and Clara and Nora are easy to relate to and seem like they could be the same women that live next door or that you interact with day to day.

The research behind the book is very noteable, as the history of the times is effortlessly entertwined with the diary entries and serves as both editorial comment and historical re-telling.

This is a wonderful book and an incredible accomplishment.It is definitely the type of book you should buy and then pass around to your friends to enjoy as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
A wonderful book.I've been reading it for the past 15 months.I read it through once within a few days and since then I've been dipping every few days -- possible and enriching because it's told in journal entries and letters.I've read several others of Mr Wright.I would urge anyone (especially fifty-something males) to get a copy of his 'Weekend Man,' his first novel written in the early 70s.One of my most favorite works of fiction ever.As for 'Clara Callan,' it is easily one of the most satisfying novels I've read in recent years. ... Read more

8. Native Son (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
by Richard Wright
Hardcover: 213 Pages (2008-11-30)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791096254
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written-- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.

This abridged edition includes an introduction, "How Bigger Was Born," by the author, as well as an afterword by John Reilly.

Amazon.com Review
Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral thatwill lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration,poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago ofthe '30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism thatsurround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment ofpanic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him--notfrom his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from hiswell-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police,prosecutors, or judges. Bigger is debased, aggressive, dangerous, anda violent criminal. As such, he has no claim upon our compassion orsympathy. And yet...

A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written inthe 20th century by an American writer. That is not to say thatRichard Wright created a novel free of flaws, but that he wrote thefirst novel that successfully told the most painful and unvarnishedtruth about American social and class relations. As Irving Howeasserted in 1963, "The day Native Son appeared, Americanculture was changed forever. It made impossible a repetition of theold lies [and] brought out into the open, as no one ever had before,the hatred, fear and violence that have crippled and may yet destroyour culture."

Other books had focused on the experience of growing up black inAmerica--including Wright's own highly successful Uncle Tom'sChildren, a collection of five stories that focused on thevictimization of blacks who transgressed the code of racialsegregation. But they suffered from what he saw as a kind of lyricalidealism, setting up sympathetic black characters in oppressivesituations and evoking the reader's pity. In Native Son, Wrightwas aiming at something more. In Bigger, he created a character sodamaged by racism and poverty, with dreams so perverted, and withhuman sensibilities so eroded, that he has no claim on the reader'scompassion:

"I didn't want to kill," Bigger shouted. "But what Ikilled for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill! Imust have felt it awful hard to murder.... What I killed for must'vebeen good!" Bigger's voice was full of frenzied anguish. "It must havebeen good! When a man kills, it's for something... I didn't know I wasreally alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for'em. It's the truth..."
Wright's genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity forBigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, andinjustice of the society that gave birth to him. --Andrew Himes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (195)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
The story is devoid of a hero. That's a mistake. If I want that type of story I can read a newspaper.

In essence, the story is a form of naturalism. The two great naturalist authors are
Zola and Tolstoy, two more dreadful writers.

The idea presented in the story is that society drove the main character to commit murder,
and that society is responsible.

Man is evil is the main idea in this book. It's an old idea in many forms. Religion
claims that man was born sinful or evil.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau changed the cause to society.
Wrightt uses Rousseau's evil philosophy.

To compare how evil that philosophy is compare the French Revolution with the American Revolution.
Study Rousseau. Rousseau influenced the French. Locke influenced the Americans.

The beginning of the book captures its essence of evil.
It starts with a rat running around a room, in which there are four people. Until the rat is killed,
it terrorizes the frightened occupants.

This is the analogy and essence of the entire story. That society is the rat terrorizing the main
character and that because the main character is terrorized by society he kills, commits murder.
It's a false syllogism.

Metaphysically, that view of the world is not my own. Consciously, I do not share any of
the thoughts or emotions of the main character.

The entire story drops the context that man has free will. Yet the author had free will in
the choice of his subject.

If I want to visit the gutter......But I do not visit gutters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dark Destiny
This book is a surprise to me. I expected to find a young Fredrick Douglass transported into the twentieth century to fight racisim and found myself staring at Camus' The Stranger. I expected Chicago circa 1940 and found, in addition, a dark alley in Camus' French Algeria. The Stranger watches his gallows being built while the Native Son builds his step by misstep, yet they are both condemmed to be free...from what or whom?

"In all his life these two murders were the most meaningful things that had ever happened to him. He was living truly and deeply, no matter what others may think, looking at them with their blind eyes."

Bigger Thomas murders the rich daughter of a Chicago land developerwhile working a chauffeur for the kind hearted family.Bigger then commits another murder to cover up the first-his poor black girlfriend. The wheels of injustice move fast, yet in the first part of the book there is no conscience or sympathy with any of the characters. The characters are soulless and remind me of the deadness of a early Orwell novel replete with interesting historical background scenes.

Something happens in this novel...drab black and white becomes Technicolor. The black preacher speaks and the word (of the novel) becomes flesh as Bigger is confronted with his misdeeds.

"It was like the old voice of his mother telling of suffering, hope, and love beyond this world."

The world of his mother Bigger kills with his choices, the new world is one of faith predicated on religion but fulfilled with Communism... with Jan, the communist party man he attempts to frame with the first murder. The characters come to life with introspection and self-dialog in the last quarter of the book and we are treated with an ideological finale by Max, the socialist lawyer.

The end dialog of Max reminds me of the pulpit which Upton Sinclair chose for the end of THE JUNGLE. Max avoids Marxist ideology and follows a mild idealism in the same way that Wright himself did in his strained relations with communist party ideologues.

Faith transcends. Faith in a new society is perhaps naive, but it is faith beyond the morbid egocentricity that defines itself by choice, Existentialism and condemnation to Godless freedom.

Faith in Christ would have the best choice for all in this gloomy book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Message
In Chicago in the 1930s, race relations were tenuous at best.The main character, Bigger Thomas, is black and living in a slum apartment with his mother and two siblings.He is twenty years old and had no job, no motivation except for petty crime, and no future.

When a rich white philanthropist who prides himself on his generosity toward the black cause (while simultaneously owning the rat-infested apartment he rents out at an exorbitant rate to the Thomas family) offers Bigger a job as his family's chauffeur, Bigger is pressured into taking it.The man's daughter is a problem, though.She is a radical, dating a communist, and she tries to treat Bigger as an equal, which simply confuses and angers him.When he accidentally kills her, his life is plunged into chaos and terror and, for the first time, he has a feeling of power.

I found the most interesting part of this story to be the speechmaking of Bigger's lawyer in the last third of the book.Bigger himself is a despicable character, but the description of the despair in which black people in the city at this time were living was enlightening.

As a white person living in 2010, it's sometimes hard for me to really see the oppression in our country's history, which to some degree still exists.Through Max's words, I gained a clearer understanding of what it must have been like to be someone like Bigger Thomas, trapped in his life.I didn't like the character any better, and I wouldn't call the book an enjoyable one to read, but I did like having my ideas challenged through Max's message.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Native Son
Native Son reflected racial discrimination in American in 1930s. Through the explanation of the main character Bigger, like he robbed Blum, killed Marry and his girl friend, these plots all show readers he was afraid of the society. Native Son just uses Bigger's actions to reflect the reality life in 1930s. On the surface of the book, it just describe a black boy who lived a poor house and he hate his family, robbed people and did very bad things. But we can in-depth look at the novel of Native Son; this is a satirical novel that influences racial discrimination in the country in the 1930s. At the beginning of the novel, there is a long alarm ring; not only has it waked up Bigger's family, but also gives American a warning. It is dangerous if people also keep race relations in the state. Native Son just uses Bigger's actions to reflect the reality life in 1930s.

4-0 out of 5 stars with 1 reservation, the audio book is essential listening/reading
audio book: a totally engaging rendition of a mid-20th century classic. Peter Frances James's reading and dramatization are simply superb -- and even preferable to one's own reading of the text. I write this as the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. arrest and dropped charges are leading up to a White House reconciliation -- I hope! In Native Son, Wright captured perfectly the frustration and rage of young black men, ca. 1930s. Bigger Thomas is one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. If only this book had become required reading for Americans after the second World War, perhaps civil rights legislation would've happened sooner.

Wright made a misjudgment, however, when he focused on the closing arguments of the prosecutor and Thomas's defense atty. near the book's end. These are way too long as soliloquies and sink the momentum of the story. When he stays with Thomas and his travails, the book soars.

... Read more

9. Native Son
by Richard Wright
Kindle Edition: 544 Pages (2009-06-03)
list price: US$10.99
Asin: B002BY779U
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing is ever old
This book could have been written this year, the tenor is very contemporary.The themes and stereotypes are as prevelent today as they were then.The strength of the writing is timeless.The setting is gritty and real, the people are knowable.I enjoyed reading it again. ... Read more

10. The Long Dream (Northeastern Library of Black Literature)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 400 Pages (2000-03-16)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555534236
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Now available in a new edition.Set in a small town in Mississippi, The Long Dream is a novel rich in characterization and plot that dramatizes Richard Wright's themes of oppression, exploitation, corruption, and flight.It is the story of Fishbelly (called Fish), the son of Tyree Tucker, a prominent black mortician and owner of a brothel whose wealth and power were attained by forging business arrangements with corrupt white police officers and politicians.The riveting narrative centers on the explosive and tragic events that shape and alter the relationship between Fish and his father. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down
What a great read.I was completely drawn into the story; the characters came alive on the pages.It was a beautifully painted picture of a very ugly time in our history.This book will stay with me long after the last page is turned.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Long Dream Is Captivating
I have read Wright's Black Boy, his compelling autobiography that depicted the enormity of racism in America. The Long Dream is no different. However, in this novel other factors surface, all which contribute to the rise and fall of the Tucker family. Clintonville, the town in which the family resides, is plagued by not only overt racism, but an inconspicuous corruption as well.

The plot is captivating. I give this novel 4 stars instead of 5 only because I do not think that Wright made as many connections to the title as I would have liked to seen. Nonetheless, this book is meritorious and is an excellent read on the heinousness perpetrated by whites in the 20th century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wright's Most Effective
"Native Son" was great, barring the party-line that marred the last third. "Black Boy" haunts. His existential stuff is first-rate. But.... But here is Mr. Wright's best. We find here the story of poor Fishbelly, whose father holds the highest position possible for the Mississippi oppressed at the time: undertaker. The events that overtake him strike the reader across the face as rudely as those in previous novels; the civilized are outraged. Read this in the name of liberty.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deserves More Acclaim!
The Long Dream is one of those forgotten novels by a great writer.But it shouldn't be.It's a mature novel and deals with the reality and futility of being a black man in the Jim Crow south.I think the other reviewer describes the story well, but I just want to add some weight to the reviews for a VERY hidden classic!

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking book
Wow! What a book.The book was written so percisely that I felt that I was reading a true story.I felt that the characters were real people facing racism in the south during the 1940's. I read his first novel NativeSon and loved it! I just happened across this book (The Long Dream) anddecided to try it out.I'm so glad I did. Although this was a book offiction, it was written in such a way that it made you believe that it wasa true story.Fishbelly, the main character dealt with the inner struggleof hatred toward white people and people of his own race.He watched howhis father bent his knees, dropped his shoulders and shuffle his feet whentalking to white people. Fishbelly felt his father was coward for actingthat way in front of whites, therefore, hating his father for acting socowardly, and hating white people for having that kind of power over blackpeople.His father tells him that "A black man's a dream, son, adream that can't come true."Only later when Fishbelly was falselyaccused of raping a white woman did he realize why his father behaved theway he did.The plot thickens at the turning of each page. This book iswell worth taking the time to read, you won't regret it. ... Read more

11. The Outsider (P.S.)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 672 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061450170
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Cross Damon is a man at odds with society and with himself—a man of superior intellect who hungers for peace but who brings terror and destruction wherever he goes.

From Richard Wright, one of the most powerful, acclaimed, and essential American authors of the twentieth century, comes a compelling story of a black man's attempt to escape his past and start anew in Harlem. The Outsider is an important work of fiction that depicts American racism and its devastating consequences in raw and unflinching terms. At once brilliantly imagined and frighteningly prescient, it is an epic exploration of the tragic roots of criminal behavior.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of Richard Wright
The character development in "Cross" as an intellectual, bemused by his past, but confronted by his present, presents many challenges to a young man fighting personal demons inorder to account for his actions as a productive vexed individual. Cross Damon is a product of any era where hopes fade away as obstacles seemingly come out of nowhere, at the same time when confusing them with oppurtunity.
Excitingly sad tale of young man caught in the vice grips of lift without the personal attributes of an identifiable accountability thread in his make-up, where finding his way out of trouble gets him deeper into it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Absolute Nihilist Bunk
Wright presents a view of existentialism in an ultimately negative and nihilistic perspective.I'm not critical of existentialism, but rather Wright's inadequate rendition of it!
The character of Cross NEVER does personally transcend race!Cross isn't a supportor of Fascism or Communism, but we never learn if he has beliefs at all.He ends up murdering whites and blacks, friends and enemies, a fascist and a communist.The latter because he was abusive and untrue to his wife. Yet Cross himself was cheating on his own wife, ritually beat her, abandoned his children, and caused his mistress to end up getting an abortion with their child.Cross's character wants us to criticise "the oppressive meaningless racist white society," and yet he consistantly lies, resorts to violence, condemns others, and virtually never makes a "good" decision himself.When I read a book this long,that's filled with so much rhetoric I want to have something tangible in the end, but we're left with nothing!In the end Cross's characterstates that he was never understood, and yet his life has been comprised of deceit, hypocritical judgement, murder, and a continuous series of ideas never amounting to anything.Cross has the ability to make decisions, (his ability to think and react are never taken from him), and yet he continues to make awful decisions.Blaming his condition on a "limited environment that is dominated by the evil white racist Americans" never absolves him of his own misdeeds.Wright completely fails in presenting a clear, intelligent view of existentialism.His French, German, and Dutch superiors capture the idea much better (i.e. Sartre).I don't know why anyone would believe this is a treatise worthy of reading, except as an example of a poor example!As always, in this P.C. environment we get a glimpse of the undeniably selective view of racism in the history of humanity.You'd be left to believe that those of the white race are the ONLY ones capable of creating a racist society, or being racist period. However, for the 0.1 percent of people who actually see history in it's entire scope know that this notion is an outright falsehood. Some who are uninformed will try to tell you that Wright's motives weren't centered on the topic of white racism, or the idea of race at all, but rather the ideas of existentialism compared within that setting. Anyone who reads the novel knows this is untrue as well. Cross's character consistantly reacts and thinks in racial ways throughout the novel.
It almost seems that Wright wanted to write a racist novel with the idea of existentialism as subterfuge in order to validate a book with graphic scenes of black on white violence, scenes of interracial sex, and anti-Communist/anti-Fascist rhetoric, to justify and/or legitimize his own deviant political and social behaviors! I support this claim with the following scenarios that come from this book:1. Cross's character beating the head of a deceased white person who's corpse is conveniantly in Cross's way after the accident on the train, and in order to escape the wreckage Cross kicks and eventually pistol whips the head in order to move it.2.The fact that Cross, who's character is black, ends up having sex with every white female character that has some precise mention in the narrative.The only exceptions are: an older and fatter white female in the restaurant scene who turns out to be an "evil racist" & the other prostitute who is conveniently "with" one of Cross's black friends.3. The scene in which two white men are trying to kill one another, one is a fascist, the other a communist, and Cross takes delight in the two whites committing violence upon one another.4. The blonde character who's named Eva (gee that's original!), who writes in her journal how she wishes her skin was continually tan, and how she's become disenchanted with the color pink because it is associated with her evil, superficial, white, communist husband! Subsequently to this she seeks refuge in the character of Cross who's made out to be her "black salvation".

I want the time back from my life I wasted reading this poorly written narrative.Richard Wright should have done us all a favor and left explaining existentialism to the experts. I'll never read any of Wright's other novels because the experience of reading this novel was too close to some form of literary terrorism. If "Native Son" and "Black Boy" are great novels, that's fine.However, in WRIGHT'S "The Outsider" he's dead WRONG!

4-0 out of 5 stars Stirring tale ofAlienation, Flight, Trouble
Richard Wright (1908-1960) covers racism, exploitation, and existentialism in this engaging story.Cross Damon is an alienated young black man in Chicago in 1950 with a wife and family he doesn't really love, and an unfulfilling postal job.Dissatisfied with his life, he eagerly takes the plunge when given an unexpected chance to skip town unnoticed with a bundle of money.Moving to New York City, he soon becomes mixed up with violent communists and a white district attorney whose disability makes him, like African Americans, an outsider in U.S. society. Damon is bright and not uneducated, but he's also devious, violent, and unable to sidestep troublesome associates one must avoid.

Like most books by Richard Wright, "The Outsider" attacks racial injustice in a readably engaging manner...but is a bit long-winded.Unlike earlier efforts like "Native Son," here Wright disdains communists as violent and oppressive.Perhaps that was due to McCarthyism, but more likely it stems from the fact that the murderous oppression of Stalin and communist police states was better known by 1950.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly engrossing journey
The Outsider is a thrilling novel that reads quickly, and memorably. Like "The Fugitive" our hero finds himself suddenly outside of both society and his own sense of identity.He is forced to recreate himself as he struggles to stay ahead ofdanger, only to find that his new persona liberates a charisma that thrusts him into the spotlight, threatening to betray him to his pursuers.

As in the "The Grapes of Wrath", our hero is forced to confront his concept of who and how he had lived while becoming both politically and ideologically self-aware.This transformative process remains as compelling, current, and relevant today as when Wright penned the novel.

This first-rate novel is given short shrift by those who enjoy genuflecting to the myth of an intellectual heritage, to which it owes no homage nor apology, above the thrilling strength of the prose itself.

The Fugitive is a zesty hoot of novel full of suspenseful twists and thoughtful choices.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wright's my favorite till the end...
The outsider is a Bigger Thomas a.k.a Cross Damon, he is a man that questions everything around him and plans for his life, not death. Destiny helps him start his life in a different way in which he meets Eva, someone he comes to love and can understand him. But the communists are in the way and makes his life miserably after having him suspect of killing two of their Party members. It was sad at the end for him to die as Bigger die but it felt so real and sad to have such an ending.
This book once again makes Richard Wright the most coiuragious author of his time. If Bigger didn't know the Communists and how they work, Cross did and it can be said we have seen the other side of the coin. I recommend it to everybody, communist and facist alike! ... Read more

12. Richard Wright
Hardcover: 144 Pages (2010-09-14)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$44.99
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Asin: 0847835049
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An extensive monograph surveying the recent major works of artist Richard Wright. This fully illustrated publication presents Wright’s exquisite paintings and drawings. Wright states "I wanted to get to the idea without the object getting in the way." This attitude led to paintings of extraordinary skill made directly onto the wall that do away with the physicality of the canvas. This publication records these special transient events where paintings have appeared, and for the most part, no longer exist. Winner of the prestigious Turner Prize (2009), Wright’s work was praised by the judges for its "profound originality and beauty." ... Read more

13. The Death-Bound-Subject: Richard Wright’s Archaeology of Death (Post-Contemporary Interventions)
by Abdul R. JanMohamed
Paperback: 344 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$19.99
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Asin: 0822334887
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During the 1940s, in response to the charge that his writing was filled with violence, Richard Wright replied that the manner came from the matter, that the "relationship of the American Negro to the American scene [was] essentially violent," and that he could deny neither the violence he had witnessed nor his own existence as a product of racial violence. Abdul R. JanMohamed provides extraordinary insight into Wright's position in this, the first study to explain the fundamental ideological and political functions of the threat of lynching in Wright's work and thought. JanMohamed argues that Wright's oeuvre is a systematic and thorough investigation of what he calls the death-bound-subject, the subject who is formed from infancy onward by the imminent threat of death. He shows that with each successive work, Wright delved deeper into the question of how living under a constant menace of physical violence affected his protagonists and how they might "free" themselves by overcoming their fear of death and redeploying death as the ground for their struggle.

Drawing on psychoanalytic, Marxist, and phenomenological analyses, and on Orlando Patterson's notion of social death, JanMohamed develops comprehensive, insightful, and original close readings of Wright's major publications: his short-story collection Uncle Tom's Children; his novels Native Son, The Outsider, Savage Holiday, and The Long Dream; and his autobiography Black Boy/American Hunger. The Death-Bound-Subject is a stunning re-evaluation of the work of a major twentieth-century American writer, but it is also much more. In demonstrating how very deeply the threat of death is involved in the formation of black subjectivity, JanMohamed develops a methodology for understanding the presence of the death-bound-subject in African American literature and culture from the earliest slave narratives forward. ... Read more

14. Conversations with Richard Wright (Literary Conversations Series)
Paperback: 276 Pages (1993-10-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$13.90
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Asin: 0878056335
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For more than two decades Richard Wright was interviewed by the American and foreign press, first as the author of Uncle Tom's Children (1938), Native Son (1940), and Black Boy (1945), next as a famous expatriate recently arrived and lionized in postwar Paris, and finally as the seasoned writer of a dozen books. At the end of his life the young man from Mississippi had become a well-traveled intellectual deeply interested in the social and political as well as literary and racial issues of the Old, the New, and the Third World.

Conversations with Richard Wright collects some fifty interviews, many of which are little known in the United States because they appeared in non-English European periodicals and newspapers. This collection reveals a serious, often didactic Wright, giving voice to his inarticulate brothers and sisters as he reveals his racially representative colonialism. Most of his interviewers were white men, and he was always trying to make them listen. European issues also claimed his attention as he struggled to reconcile Marxism, Freudianism, and existentialism to the political realities from 1945 to his death in 1960. ... Read more

15. Richard Wright's Black Boy (American Hunger): A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism)
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-06-12)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$4.97
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Asin: 0195157729
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This casebook gathers together the most important critical responses to Richard Wright's autobiography. It includes a 1945 interview with Richard Wright, contemporary reviews of Black Boy written by W.E.B. Du Bois, Lionel Trilling, Mary McCarthy, and Ralph Ellison, and eight critical essays. These essays address a range of topics including the circumstances of the book's original publication in 1945; the relationship between the novel and Wright's actual biography; the African-American autobiographical tradition; the influences of various writers and literary movements on Black Boy; and the impact of African-American vernacular and oral performance on Wright's autobiography. ... Read more

16. Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future (11th Edition)
by Richard T. Wright, Dorothy Boorse
Paperback: 696 Pages (2010-01-20)
list price: US$138.40 -- used & new: US$99.99
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Asin: 0321598709
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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By emphasizing the memorable themes of science, sustainability and stewardship, the Eleventh Edition of this popular textbook helps you understand the science behind environmental issues and what you can do to build a more sustainable future. This thorough revision features updated content, graphics, and photos, plus the addition of new co-author Dorothy Boorse.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brand new book! Much cheaper than school store
This book saved me about $30 off of the price they had at the student bookstore. Plus, I can always sell it back to the book store for about half their price so it's better than buying direct from the student bookstore. ... Read more

17. Richard Wright: The Life and Times
by Hazel Rowley
Paperback: 638 Pages (2008-02-15)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$14.71
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Asin: 0226730387
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Consistently an outsider—a child of the fundamentalist South with an eighth-grade education, a self-taught intellectual, a black man married to a white woman—Richard Wright nonetheless became the unparalleled voice of his time. The first full-scale biography of the author best known for his searing novels Black Boy and Native Son, Richard Wright: The Life and Times brings the man and his work—in all their complexity and distinction—to vibrant life. Acclaimed biographer Hazel Rowley chronicles Wright’s unprecedented journey from a sharecropper’s shack in Mississippi to Chicago’s South Side to international renown as a writer and outspoken critic of racism.
            Drawing on journals, letters, and eyewitness accounts, Richard Wright probes the author’s relationships with Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison, his attraction to Communism, and his so-called exile in France. Skillfully interweaving quotes from Wright’s own writings, Rowley deftly portrays a passionate, courageous, and flawed man who would become one of our most enduring literary figures.
“Splendid. . . . Richard Wright is well written, prodigiously researched, and nicely paced, a compelling evocation of the man, his craft, and the different worlds through which he moved.”—Michael J. Ybarra, Wall Street Journal
“A welcome and illuminating work . . . [Rowley] does an outstanding job. . . . Rich and revealing.”—Megan Harlan, San Francisco Chronicle
“A magnificent biography, subtle and insightful. . . . Rowley writes with style and grace, and her research on Wright is prodigious.”—Howard Zinn, The Week

Amazon.com Review
Born in Mississippi in 1908, the grandson of former slaves, Richard Wright spent his teenage years chopping wood, carrying coal, scrubbing floors, and enduring a thousand indignities. Later, in novels such as Native Son and The Outsider as well as works of journalism and autobiography, he raised profoundly disturbing questions about the "nightmarish jungle" of race relations in contemporary America, offering profoundly pessimistic answers in return.

For his troubles, literary historian Hazel Rowley shows in this sweeping biography, Wright earned a large readership--even, for a time, a place on the bestseller lists and the top income-tax bracket. But, because he had joined the Communist Party as a young man, he was also denounced from the floor of the United States Senate--accused of anti-Americanism and even suspected of spying for Moscow--and his books were banned in several states and cities. Wright protested that he had repudiated Marxism years before, bitterly remarking, "The Western world must make up its mind as to whether it hates colored people more than it hates Communists." Eventually, a prophet without honor, he left his native country and lived out the rest of his years in France, where he is buried.

Rowley draws on a wealth of archival material (as she notes, "Wright kept everything--drafts of manuscripts, letters, photographs, hotel bills, newspaper cuttings") and his body of work to portray the justly angry writer. The result is a welcome contribution to literary and historical studies. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ahead of His Time
I came across this book while basically just browsing many different topics.I had read "Black Boy" and "Native Son" many, many years ago, and had kind of lumped them in with books by other black authors like "Invisible Man" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain".However, having fortunately had my consciousness raised significantly since the late 60's, I decided to read this biography - there was another biography by Margaret Walker, a former friend of Wright's, but it seemed a little bitter and so possibly not as objective.I noted right away this was what I call a "two bookmark" book - one for the text and one for the footnotes at the back (I much prefer footnotes at the bottom of the page but realize this is sometimes too awkward and voluminous).The story evolved of a man whose life somewhat overlapped with my own, beginning with his wretched and impoverished childhood in Mississippi, spent mostly with his mother and brother after his father left and started another family.Richard's family was incredibly poor, in a poor black section of a poor town in the poor state of Mississippi.Other adjectives for Mississippi at that time, and for years to come, spring to mind, like "brutal", "racist to the nth degree", "lynching addicted", "determined to maintain a questionable (and certainly not enviable) "white way of life" by harsh infliction of Jim Crow laws.However, the young Richard Wright had great artistic intelligence, as well as an exceptionally mind, and a dream for his life from which he would not waver.He could no longer live in a State where his inferiors were seen to be his superiors.He moved to Chicago ("up North") with an aunt while in his teens and was disappointed and horrified by many of the conditions he found there.There were minimally more opportunities for Negroes (as they were called at that time, also "coloreds") and "race-mixing", while widely frowned upon, was accepted in certain circles.Richard was introduced into the Communist Party, and thus began a decades old love-hate relationship with communism.Yes, he got many good opportunities to exercise his writing abilities through the Party's many literary outlets, but he resented its stifling nature and in-fighting.Eventually, he felt he had been duped by the Party and he also felt he could no longer tolerate the obvious infiltration by the FBI and CIA, who were beginning their paroxysms of anti-Communist hysteria at that time, wasting millions of tax-payer dollars scrutinizing and harassing ordinary and innocent citizens, particularly those involved in the arts and in civil rights.This hysteria, of course, culminated in the insanely megalomaniacal frenzy known as "The McCarthy Era", after the fixated, parapolitical, ranting Senator who gave this era its name.He also progressed through work he did under the auspices of the WPA.He had some close writer friends and developed close friendships with his agent and his publisher, and lived a fairly social life (although he most loved to be by himself, writing), mostly through activities in the Party, the WPA and earlier, at the Post Office where he was temporarily employed.He also lived for quite some time in New York, which was a little more progressive; however, he encountered instances of racial prejudice there, as well.His first big book, Native Son, was a huge success considering white America really didn't like to have more than one big Negro writer at any one time.Black Boy followed.He also wrote many short stories and essays.He married precipitously (actually his second choice) because he felt he should be married and have children.After considerable passport problems, he moved his family to France, where he felt much more at home, despite France's somewhat straitened circumstances following WW II.Richard Wright was keenly aware and interested in matters of a political nature, and particularly as they affected "people of color", which included also citizens of the oriental countries, Africa, Muslim countries, etc.He also traveled to Spain and some of the Nordic countries.He was fascinated by people and their reactions to their circumstances in life.He maintained close correspondences with many of the literary figures of the day, both black and white, and counted them among his close friends.In his personal professional life, he was incredibly focused and hard-working.Most of his books were required to be extensively edited by his publisher, often up to over one-third of the original book.However, he took on these tasks with diligence, resignation and hard work, as he realized that a book that doesn't sell is basically just a home decoration.During his life, he wrote fiction, biography thinly disguised as fiction, short stories, songs, plays, non-fiction travel memoirs, books of political and historical theory and, toward the end of his life, haikus.He and his wife had two daughters but eventually his wife and children moved to England, while he remained in France to write.Even when they all lived together, he often traveled for six months to a year at a time by himself researching and writing.Needless to say, he and his wife grew emotionally apart - his weakness for other women didn't help.Instead of bemoaning this turn of events, although I'm sure she did in the beginning, Ellen Wright turned to publishing, with the help of Simone deBeauvoir, a friend originally of Richard's but then later, Ellen's very close friend.His later books, written in France, did not do as well, with the possible exception of "The Outsider".His publisher and agent speculated that perhaps he had been overseas too long and was not aware of the changes that had taken place in the U.S., and particularly in Mississippi, where his stories took place, making his books dated.Paradoxically, his books that took place in France and Spain were panned as not being familiar enough to him.He never gave up, however, despite ill health that had plagued him off and on since adulthood and which had become worse in his later years, culminating in a truly scary course of treatment by his German doctor.His untimely death was a blow to the millions of people who would have been enriched by the books still in him, and of the books unpublished at this death.In particular, I would have loved to have read his book about Africa.Richard Wright was a writer of uncommon intelligence and research habits, with a gift of seeing into the hearts of people.He wrote equally well about the white races.He also comes across as a fairly loyal and interesting friend, as well as a loving father.Even in hard times, he provided for his family, despite his basic estrangement from Ellen, his wife.His untimely death was a loss for all readers, but his legacy lives on, as I, for one, fully intend to read (and in some cases re-read) every book I can find by Richard Wright.This was a fairly long book, with voluminous footnotes, but I can honestly say I was never bored, and there were never parts I felt I had to skip over.I thoroughly enjoyed getting to "meet" Richard Wright, the man and the author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vital Insight
Why has it taken a half-century for a really good writer to produce a biography of Richard Wright?It had not seemed "natural" until Hazel Rowley's new book.

Far beyond crippling "racial," political, and professional cliches, Rowley has crafted easily the most comprehensive, insightful and balanced life of Wright. Her prose and understanding are unaffectedly live and clear.Her feel for Wright's accomplishment, the range of the man's life and times is superb!Her book is an enriching pleasure that ought finally to compel honest recognition of this unique American genius.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE OUTSIDER
Many biographies have been written about Richard Wright but this remarkable book gives you a fresh perspective on this man who turned the publishing world upside down with his book Native Son. Unlike the other books written about him, The Life and Times focuses on the personal life of Wright and how over the years he developed as a writer.

Rowley takes us to his home state of Mississippi where we meet Richard Wright as a boy. Raised in a fundamentalist religious family in the midst of poverty, Wright was a true outsider who was not understood by his family or friends. His migration to the north (Chicago) unfolds a new world for him where his writing abilities are recognized and nurtured.

You see a Richard Wright who embraces individualism and won't allow the Communist Party or any other organization todictate to him how to write. As time goes on Wright takes the step of permanently leaving the United States by going to France. It is there that he finds a freedom never felt before in America.

I enjoyed this book and was surprised about many facts concerning his personal life and writing career. Wright's psychological development and philosophical stances are intriguing. At timeshe is an outspoken voice against racism but ends up making compromises in his work and personal life. Towards the end of his life, Wrightbecomes suspicious of those around him. He alienates himself from his family and friends.

Rowley shows us the complexities and humanity of a man who went from poverty to fame and then on a downward spiral into spiritual poverty. What was it that made this man tick? The author does an outstanding job in answering that question and putting him in perspective of his day and time. This is an outstanding book that deserves to be in the libraries of every reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars thorough, well written, compelling
Wright undoubtedly is one of the most interesting figures in American literature. He was among the second generation of post-slavery African Americans and received only the most rudimentary education in the segregated South, but went on to be one of the most celebrated literary figures of his time, trading wits with Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre at the height of the French existentialist movement in Paris.In 1941 the eminent sociologist Robert Park summed it up upon meeting Wright, asking simply "how in hell did you happen?"

Rowley's biography is well written and thoroughly researched, and the subject matter is a fascinating one. Wright is probably more interesting as a personality and sociological phenomenon than he was as a writer (it's been argued that Native Son was his one and only true work of genius) but the story of his life makes for riveting reading.Wright's life is a study of contrasts and ironies.He grew up in the injustice and grinding poverty of Jim Crow Mississippi, spent time as a Communist immersed in Marxist doctrine, and after achieving fame and fortune went on to live in bourgeoisie luxury in post-war Paris surrounded by impoverished White Europeans.

This is an excellent biography: thorough, well referenced, and compelling.I give it four stars instead of five simply because it is somehow missing that element that is present in the best of biographies which allows the reader to look into the motives and inspirations of the subject.Rowley includes a lot of facts about Wright's early life (his influences, who gave him his first books, etc.) but I never felt like I understood the reason that this particular Black youth from the Deep South ended up reading Mencken, Chekhov, and Maupassant in his spare time and dreaming of fame as an author.In short, I'm not sure that Rowley's biography succeeds in answering Robert Park's question.

Overall, however, this is an outstanding book.Rowley is an objective and unbiased biographer.Rowley covers not only Wright the author, but also the age in which he lived.Wright was a truly original voice in the history of American literature, and was among the fist to bring the Black experience to American readers.He deserves to be remembered, and Rowley does a fine job of telling the story of his life.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the Biography Wright Deserves
Richard Wright is a major American author and, as such, deserves a major biography.Up until now, this has not happened.

Sure, there have been previous attempts.Friends (Constance Webb), enemies (Margaret Walker), and scholars (Michel Fabre) have all had their turn, but only Hazel Rowley's account, RICHARD WRIGHT: THE LIFE AND TIMES, can be considered definitive.

The fact that Wright is the subject of a major book in the 21st century is in itself marvelous.Too often, Wright has been dismissed since his death in 1960 by critics, readers, and other writers.That a major publishing house (Henry Holt and Company) would even put out Rowley's work is a testament to the revival of Wright in literary circles.

And Rowley has provided us with a wonderfully balanced account.She recaps the triumphs (NATIVE SON, BLACK BOY), and is not afraid to include the faults (Wright's weakness for casual affairs and his indulgence in psychological babble in later works).What emerges is a portrait of a gifted outsider who managed success in spite of an almost crippling self-doubt.

In chapter after chapter, Rowley describes not only Wright's experience; she manages to incorporate the context of the experience as well.This journalistic tactic is especially rewarding in the passages describing Wright's travels to Spain and Africa in later life (his reactions *to* those travels make sense in the narrative as well).In fact, the book's only flaw is the quick wrap-up; I would have liked to read a summary of Wright's influence, and a few lines about his family today, in the closing.

But this is a small problem compared to what Rowley has achieved.Here, at last, is a clean, readable account of a neglected but nevertheless important figure in American literature.It is to be hoped that the book spurs renewed interest in the actual works of its subject. ... Read more

18. Uncle Tom's Children (P.S.)
by Richard Wright
Paperback: 336 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$8.06
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Asin: 0061450200
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Set in the American Deep South, each of the powerful novellas collected here concerns an aspect of the lives of black people in the post-slavery era, exploring their resistance to white racism and oppression. Originally published in 1938, Uncle Tom's Children was the first book from Richard Wright, who would continue on to worldwide fame as the author of numerous works, most notably the acclaimed novel Native Son and his autobiography, Black Boy.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Yes I read it but it wasn't as great as I wanted...
was excited when I cracked open this book.It came in the big box of classics that I bought for a very reasonable price from E-bay that is still paying dividends.

The publication date for my copy was 1965.It was underlined in places which means at some point someone actually read it.I wonder if that copy of the book influenced history somehow?

The book is a series of 5 stories of southern black people.It was originally written in 1935 and includes an essay by the author about growing up in the south.Now the book while a classic piece of history is no modern piece of work.

Firstly the white characters are brutes who exist only to brutalize black people.Now I know that all the violence, hatred and evil that are portrayed in the book went on.I know that the southern black man had a horrible existence.However there is no character development whatsoever of the white men.

Secondly Communism is the political movement of choice of the main characters.I wonder how historically accurate this is and I'd like to read more about how this affected the black political movements of the South.Most of the time you see Communism mixed up with the equal rights movement it's in relation to Martin Luther King and it's portrayed as an attempted smear on him by his opponents.I wonder how much the acts and writings of Communist sympathizers in the civil rights movement affected things in the 60s.

I'd say this book was an OK read.it was nice to see a piece of history but I wouldn't put it inhe necessary category for black history reading.If you have the good fortune to get it in a big box from E-bay or see it in your local library pick it up.Otherwise read Martin Luther King's speeches or the autobiography of Malcolm X instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Brutality of Jim Crow
Perhaps nothing was more appropriate about this restored text than placing "The Ethics of Jim Crow" in its rightful place at the front of this short story collection.Richard Wright used the brief autobiographical essay as a device to state that the short stories included in this set are not far from the truth.The racism during his time period was brutal.These short stories are meant to be emblematic of the brutality of the period.

The set begins with the short story "Big Boy Leaves Home".To many readers, this may seem to resemble "Native Son" and could be thought of as an early draft.The story finds an African-American adolescent forced to leave home in order to save his life after a local white man is killed at the river."Down by the Riverside" takes place during a flood.To save his pregnant wife, who has taken ill, the main character steals a boat.This story may be the most compelling in the set because of a choice the main character is forced to make.To honestly decide what he/she might do under the circumstances, the reader must look deep into his/her soul.

"Long Black Song" explores the sexual exploitation that African-American endured during this period.Like so many other characters in Wright's stories, one senses that the main character is trapped in a situation in which she is destined to fail.As the story progresses, the greed of exploiters puts even more people in "no win" situations.

"Fire and Cloud" and "Bright Morning Star" show Wright to be far from timid in his leftist leanings.The first story involves a community choice, while the second is more of an individual choice.Because the plots of these short stories follow a similar path to failure, Wright hardly seems to be endorsing communism.

Each of these stories is raw in its unfliching ability to tell an honest story.Wright does not shy away from uncomfortable details.With a general sense of hopelessness that extends to a point where the reader must know the main character will fail, the reader may find himself/herself too engrossed in the details to flinch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great seller!
The book came quickly and was in the promised shape. Will definitely but from this seller in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting Masterpiece of Social Exposure and Racial Injustice
If white people today have any doubts of the harsh treatment of blacks in the 1900's, read this book.As a matter of fact, read the first 20 pages.
I teach this book to my 10th grade English class and my kids love this book!It is an easy read because the stories are so gripping, and the dialogue is written in the southern vernacular of the time.The main reason why high school students need this book now is because not only are the black students losing sight of the past and appreciation for the efforts of black people, but the white students are unaware of the greatest crime in American History after slavery, Jim Crow Ethics.The Hispanic students, Asian students, African students, Indian students and countless other students from different parts of the world also need to read literature that enhances their knowledge of the brutal history of Americans.

4-0 out of 5 stars Powerful stories about injustice
This 1938 collection of short stories by Richard Wright (1908-1960) was the first book the author had published.Wright had a remarkable talent for description, and he makes the reader feel as if alongside the main characters as the stories play out. These stories detail racial discrimination and oppression in the Deep South during the 1930's.I particularly liked his story about a flood that led to blacks being conscripted at gunpoint to work on the levee (and a tragic shooting that followed), plus his story about a planned hunger march that went against the wishes of the local (racist) government.Each story attacks southern racial injustice in a concise and powerful manner.

Two years after this book was published, Wright burst into fame with NATIVE SON, and he followed a few years later with BLACK BOY and THE OUTSIDER. This collection of short stories isn't Wright's best work, but it demonstrates the author's budding talent.

... Read more

19. Richard Wright Reader
by Richard Wright, Michel Fabre
 Paperback: 910 Pages (1997-04)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$84.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306807742
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Richard Wright is one of the landmark black authors of the 20th century. This collection contains some of his most evocative writing - essays, selections from his autobiography, poetry, letters, articles, photographs, and excerpts from his novels, forming a panorama of his writing career. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Native Son
Richard Wright Reader
Richard Wright

Born on a Mississippi plantation, Richard Wright (1908-1960)survived an impoverished childhood, abandonment by his father and upbringing by religiously conservative relatives; the Depression; and Communist witch-hunts in the 1950's to become one of the leading voices of Black America.
His autobiographical "Native Son" and "Black Boy" influenced writers from Richard Ellison, whom he befriended, to James Baldwin, with whom he differed.
Native Son
12 Million Black Voices
Black Boy (P.S.)

He providedmoving depictions of the rural Southern blacks in "Twelve Million Black Voices" using black-and-white photographs from the WPA.
Having lived through "The Great Migration" of Southern Blacks to the industrial Midwest and northeast, he understood the dilemma of relocating from the South: "We are the children of the black sharecroppers, the first born of the city tenements. We have tramped down a road three hundred years long. We have been shunted to and fro by cataclysmic social changes. We are a folk born of cultural devastation, slavery, physical suffering, unrequited longing, abrupt emancipation, migration, disillusionment, bewilderment, joblessness and insecurity."

But his involvement with the U.S. Communist Party in the nineteen thirties and his self-imposed exile in Paris diminished his reputation.
Even though he disavowed Communism later in life, he was guilty by association.He died in Paris in 1960, just as the Civil Rights Movement was getting underway.The"Richard Wright Reader" edited by his widow Ellen Wright and biographer Michel Fabre contains about 900 pages of his essays, poetry, criticism and fiction.
A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration

... Read more

20. Critical Essays on Richard Wright (Critical Essays on American Literature)
 Hardcover: 305 Pages (1982-05)
list price: US$35.00
Isbn: 0816184259
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