Review by Choice Review
The essential message of Gilroy's book is that the discourse on modernity, itself an intellectual minefield of competing definitions, cannot be entirely rewarding without factoring in the elements of slavery and its legacy, and race. Discussions on race perforce yield not only the myriad problems posed by racism, but also reveal the effects of black and European cultural interfacing in Europe and the Americas. Gilroy demonstrates persuasively that despite efforts to conceal it, the cultural activities of black people of the Carribbean and North America must be part of any useful construction of modernity. In outlining and cogently discussing the pertinent works of such disparate thinkers as W.E.B. DuBois, Richard Wright, Frederick Douglass, and C.L.R. James, among others. With special attention to DuBois's concept of cultural "double consciousness" and Wright's "inside and outside" psychology, Gilroy makes a convincing case for the centrality of The Black Atlantic experience. This consciousness, however, is contextualized in the social residue of slavery and the development of expressive forms such as black music and literature, which address and reflect a continuing sense of self distinct from European culture. This book is a valuable resource for historians of the West, sociologists, and literary scholars. Recommended for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. J. C. Walter; University of Washington
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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