W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919
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W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  727 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This monumental biography--eight years in the research and writing--treats the early and middle phases of a long and intense career: a crucial fifty-year period that demonstrates how Du Bois changed forever the way Americans think about themselves.
Hardcover, 735 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Turtleback Books (first published 1993)
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Eric
This is a biography that actually merits the “magisterial” among its blurbs, the kind of book that shows biography second only to the novel for difficulty of organization and effect. As epigraph to the first of the five volumes he would devote to the life of Henry James, Leon Edel quoted a line from his subject’s rare foray into biography (William Wetmore Story and His Friends, 1903):

To live other people’s lives is nothing unless we live over their perceptions, live over the growth, the change,...more
John
I didn’t appreciate this book at first. I found Lewis’s style a little too wordy. But Du Bois was a giant – of ideas and study, appetites, activity and accomplishment – and in these hands he’s found expression equal to his engulfing vitality. It’s small wonder both volumes won the Pulitzer. And here’s one reason why: From his exegesis on DuBois's classic "The Souls of Black Folk"-

“Had Du Bois left double consciousness in this epiphenomenal limbo – as a sort of non-ego or psychic negative pole –...more
Pete
When Wikipedia featured their article on the Lynching of Jesse Washington it reminded me that I had read Du Bois' classic The Souls of Black Folk and the Pulitzer prize-winning biography of its author's early years quite a few years ago. Both of these books are foundational readings bringing to light the struggle of black's in America after the civil war. Many would rate these books with 5 stars and perhaps I should as well. However, I haven’t done so primarily because I had all but forgotten re...more
John
This book is a bear! The detail is beyond anything I could have imagined. I wasn't up to the challenge and had to put it down halfway through. Really great discussion on the tensions between the Washington camp and those in DuBois's. It is hard to imagine this is ONLY part 1.
Karen Mead
I hope my local library has part II, because as thick as this book is, I felt kind of unfulfilled when I came to the end and ran out out of proper Du Bois mayhem.

Fascinating biography of a real social justice pioneer, but keep in mind that you will probably need to have a dictionary handy while you read this; Lewis has a huge vocabulary, and he puts in quite a few recondite terms that you don't see that much. I probably ended up looking about 20 words,at the very least.
Rosemary
I found it really fascinating and tremendously sad with regard to the way African Americans have been treated ever since their ancestors were taken from their homelands. W.E.B. Du Bois was an incredibly gifted man who worked tirelessly to help his people achieve real equality and died just before the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s was passed. We fool ourselves as Americans that our nation was founded on principles of freedom and liberty -- it was, but only if you were white, male and well to do....more
Zach
I finally got around to this book given to me by my high school history teacher on graduation just in time for Black History Month. I knew very little about DuBois prior to reading these 600 pages on only the first half of his life. The biography covered a difficult time in America's history (1868-1919) that I hadn't covered before. This is a meticulously researched book that's dense at times, but still quite an enjoyable read.
jacky
I read parts of this book for a research project for my American History course Junior year of high school. I didn't enjoy this project and didn't do fabulous on it either, so I'm thinking I didn't like or understand much of what I read.
Jerome Strong
Lewis leaves no rock unturned in his biography of this great pillar of the academy. DuBois is undoubtedly one of America's foremost scholars.
Samuel Weikel
its a very interesting book how he changed the world a little bit to be treated equal .all men shoild be treated equal .
Sara
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read
2001 pulitzer-biography
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