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An American Story

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A profoundly courageous and insightful memoir, An American Story documents the events that have shaped journalist Debra Dickerson's conscience.

The daughter of former sharecroppers, Dickerson never imagined she would emerge from her squalid St. Louis neighborhood to become an acclaimed journalist with a Harvard Law degree. A constant reader and a straight-A student, neverth
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by Anchor (first published September 19th 2000)
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As an African American woman, who also served as an officer in the Air Force during the same time frame of Ms Dickerson, I was anxious to read about her journey through the military. I saw many similarities in our experiences. I found the book to be most compelling in the first 100 pages; her memoir about the foundation laid to make her the person she is today. This was poignant and affecting writing. After high school, she turns from a living, feeling, and thinking young girl to a two-dimension ...more
Juana E.
Sep 19, 2011 Juana E. rated it liked it
An American Story, by Debra J. Dickerson is an inspirational book. It is a very eye opening biography. This book gives reads a sense of a reality check as they read along through what i believe is one of the most daunting stories ever told. What first attracted me to this book was the first page. Before I read a book, I believe that the best way to see if the book is interesting is if you read the first page. My mentor recommended the book to and thought I would be inspired by the style and the ...more
Timothy Bazzett
Mar 12, 2012 Timothy Bazzett rated it it was amazing
A devastatingly honest & revealing self-portrait.
I had never heard of Debra Dickerson before running across this book in a local thrift store. And I guess she's not exactly "famous." But considering her background and a wrenchingly poor and abusive childhood in East St Louis, perhaps she should be. I don't think this book was a bestseller, but considering the quality of the writing and the gripping story it tells, it should have been. Dickerson credits the US Air Force for pulling her up ou
Robin Heim
Aug 07, 2014 Robin Heim rated it really liked it
Ms. Dickerson should now write a follow-up to this debut novel / memoir that would go under the top layer of AN AMERICAN STORY and give the reader a sense of connection with her on an emotional level. She is an excellent writer and, while this book gives an excellent view of what it is to have to navigate through an imperfect society -- as a woman in general, as a Black woman in particular -- where emotions have to remain in check to survive and move forward, I believe she would do well to now d ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Catherine rated it liked it
Debra Dickerson has lived a fascinating life - and yet there's little about this book that's gripping. The narrative limps along - this happened, then this happened, then this happened, then this happened - and there's little real reflection or analysis within it. What reflection and analysis there is feels superficial - which may be a point of style as much of as substance. The strongest section of the book, to me, was her discovering her brother's point of view on their childhood and the dynam ...more
Aug 24, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Really interesting to learn more about African American views of professional success, affirmative action, attitudes toward whites and towards each other in competitive professional situations (at least Dickerson's perspective of it). Dickerson presents it in a matter of fact narrative and it's much more complex than I had considered. Also, it was really interesting how her experiences making her way through the Air Force ranks in the 1980's were similar to my own experiences in the Forest Servi ...more
Oct 12, 2008 Mel rated it really liked it
Crazy intense book! Wow. A very interesting look at race from a woman who spent most of her life as a staunch every-man-for-himself conservative, only to change her views and realize her internalized self-loathing due to societal messages about African Americans. I was pretty blown away by this book. I assigned it in my Social Psych/memoir course, and it was a bit of a gamble as I'd only skimmed it. I'm glad I chose it. Regardless of how students felt about her and her views, it generated great ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Phyllis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated this very honest account of surmounting racism, sexism, poverty. A wonderful illumination of why we should never give up on someone in the brother who turned his life around.
Nov 19, 2008 Pat rated it it was ok
I read this book because the author visited my daughter's campus and signed the book for her. However, I found it to be rather self-serving.
Apr 26, 2009 Jeanie rated it really liked it
A terrific story nicely written. She is enormously bright and perceptive and it was fun to read about her life.
Jan 03, 2017 Evette added it
A must read for all Black Americans!
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