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Between the World and Me

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  235,339 ratings  ·  23,220 reviews
“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
 
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.
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Hardcover, 152 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Spiegel & Grau
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Robert Westbrook I am not sure that Coates ever offers a "way forward." I don't think that's within the scope of the book. I think his aim was most of all to throw a b…moreI am not sure that Coates ever offers a "way forward." I don't think that's within the scope of the book. I think his aim was most of all to throw a brutally honest illumination on the past (and most especially the present), so that we can attempt to formulate a way forward only after we've been honest with ourselves about what's been going on, and the harmful delusions we've been living under. I don't think there is a way forward until everyone understands the volume of lies they've grown up with.(less)
Laura Starks Please do, I think it is very timely with what is happening in our country. It is an easy read, and I think will help your students gain some perspect…morePlease do, I think it is very timely with what is happening in our country. It is an easy read, and I think will help your students gain some perspective on "black lives matter", and why that phrase is much more than "all lives matter".(less)

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Bill Kerwin
Sometime early in my reading of this book, I felt in my gut I had encountered a classic. Not a best-seller—this book is already that—but a classic. I envisioned stack upon paperback stack piled on metal shelves in university bookstores, shelves labeled Black Studies 301 but also Basic Comp 100. I could see pirated copies of large portions of Part One passed out to high school juniors and seniors, to be carefully annotated in AP Language and AP Literature, and I could see smaller sections distrib ...more
Rick Riordan
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what compelled me to pick up this book, but that's true of many books I read. I simply felt like it was something I needed to read at that moment, and I'm very glad I did.

Between the World and Me is written as a letter/essay from Coates to his fifteen-year-old son, trying to come to terms with what it means to grow up as an African American male in 2015. I almost said "make sense of what it means," but Coates' story is not so much about making sense as it is about finding one's plac
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J Beckett
Less than an hour ago (on 7/26/2015) I finished reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me. As I read the last sentence, “Through the windshield I saw the rain coming down in sheets,” I was involuntarily overcome with inexplicable, yet wholly warranted emotion. Oddly, tears, my tears, tears perhaps I had been locking inside my fatherly bravado for a couple decades, came down in their own sheets, as thoughts of my child, my daughter, at fourteen years old, still having to face the d ...more
Joshunda Sanders
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll get all of my disclaimers out of the way first. I am a fan of TNC but I also resent what he symbolizes. He is a great writer in his own right and he has the kind of co-signers in publishing and journalism that have offered him a platform that he has rightfully and eloquently expanded upon, utilized and maximized appropriately and used to catapult himself into the American race dialogue as one of the most prolific writers on race during our generation. My resentment of what he symbolizes com ...more
Regan
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listen to the audio book if you can!
_ngallagher
Simply stunning, complicated, moving and challenging. Absolutely recommend it!
Michael Spikes
Folks that love Mr. Coates will love this book, as they'll be able to follow him through a piece that is somewhat indulgent -- but he certainly won't win new fans or quell his skeptics (like myself) with this piece of work. Coates says that he wanted to write like Baldwin, but it just comes across as a unfocused, stream of consciousness. As a black man who constantly battles with the work of Mr. Coates, I wanted to give this one a chance, as many lament tons of praise on the work -- but I for on ...more
Jessica
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought it was a little fishy that all the reviews on here are these reverent whispery multi-starred nods of agreement about how important this book is. I mean, that just never happens, especially with the "it" book of the moment : there are always naysayers and contrarians and people who just don't get what the BFD is. Since there's a copy lying around my house, I thought I'd check it out -- the season's "it" book is rarely just 152 pages and about a topic that interests me, so I was excited ...more
Rob Slaven
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book free for review from ShelfAwareness in exchange for an honest review. Despite the privilege of receiving a free book, I’m absolutely candid about it below because I believe authors and readers will benefit most from honest reviews rather than vacuous 5-star reviews.

Written in the form of a letter from a father to a son, "Between the World and Me" is a detailed crystallization of the state of racism in our country today and its historical roots throughout the entire history o
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Pascal
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read Coates work in the Atlantic for years now and my fundamental impression of him is unchanged. His limited Black liberal anti-racist appeals to White guilt illustrate his total inability to escape the narrow racial essentialist vision of Black identity. Coates in his book reduces America to basically two categories: The Dreamers, (White Americans) and the rest being Black folk. This thinking demonstrates such a pedestrian understanding of America, especially when considering that the "Em ...more
Rowena
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: afrocentric, race
"But all our phrasing- race relations, racial chasms, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy- serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth." - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

A couple of days ago I posted on Twitter a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme entitled "Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind." I love the painting, the title, and
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J.L.   Sutton
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was both very impressed and frustrated with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. Written as a letter to his son, Coates presents racism and white privilege as a visceral experience, with much discussion, especially early in the book about what it means to lose your (black) body. I’m not going to explain what Coates means by losing your body; you should read how he frames this in the context of both American history and his own experience.

While I intend to re-read the first half of the
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Brina
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me is an essay to his teenaged son. Toni Morrison on the cover maintains that this should be required reading. In this short yet powerful message, Coates delivers a rap on race and offers hope to African Americans in their struggle to maintain their culture.

Coates is a respected journalist and essayist and here writes a lyrical prose that had me captivated from the first pages. His message is simple- African Americans have to work twice as hard because of
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Kevin Kelsey
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Posted at Heradas

5/27/20 update: Obviously people still need to read this book, because this shit keeps happening. Already read it? Buy another copy and give it to a friend.

A deeply illuminating, honest look at the realities of being black in America, written as a letter to the author's teenage son. It doesn't insult by offering a solution to the problems, but aims only to make the reader acknowledge the deeply internalized, institutionalized racism, hate, and fear that built America and the Ame
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Petra-masx
Freedom, opportunity and education are all part of being equal citizens in the first world. But these are things of the mind. If you can't even keep the body safe, then what use are intellectual pursuits and a law guaranteeing you rights? And in seems in America that Black people find it very hard to keep their bodies safe.

Who goes to prison more for drugs? Black people, although White people commit more drug offences being as they form the bulk of the population. Why is crack cocaine punished m
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Roxane
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. A lot to think about here. Stay tuned.
Warda
#BlackLivesMatter

Let me start off by saying that Toni Morrison has said, this book is required reading. So get yourself a copy! It's necessary reading for the current climate that we are in that is only portraying a single, skewed narrative and on the same side of that coin damaging and manipulating a narrative that needs to be heard.

As you may know, this book speaks about race in America, starting from the days of slavery till now, to provide us with this viewpoint that makes the reader unders
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Richard
Sep 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I opened this book expecting to find a reasoned analysis of the situation in which many black Americans find themselves today, along with a reasonable set of recommended solutions to their problems. That is not what I found at all. I read the book because I saw and heard Mr. Coates on several TV news and talk shows, and I thought he might have something of value to contribute to the national discussion. I was wrong.

Mr. Coates is a very angry man. His ideas have been shaped by other angry men. H
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s.penkevich
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Don't look away
Recommended to s.penkevich by: The world around us
An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.

The moment I really fell for Ta-Nehisi Coates was during his interview on the Diane Rehm’s show after he was asked his opinions on gun control. The question came after a statement by him about the safety of his son living in Paris as opposed to the United States with regard to the rampant gun violence in the US. Gun control is a very ‘hot-button’ issue in the US as
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Jennifer Masterson
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This is an extremely important book that should be read. I am late to the party so there is not much for me to say that others haven't.

I listened to the audio version of this book. The one thing I will say is that I had to start and stop the audio so many times that I found myself frustrated. I think that I will listen to it again when I am alone with nothing to distract me. For now I'm giving it 4 Stars. It is only a little over 3 hours long and extremely well narrated by the author.

People ar
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Gabby
“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

This book was freaking stunning and written so beautiful, the writing is so raw and honest and I can't really put into words how this moved me. This should be required reading as it is very educational and eye opening and I strongly urge everyone to read this.

“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other pe
...more
Caz (littlebookowl)
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4.5/5 stars!

I listened to the audiobook for this, which was superb, I love that the author narrated it. I do think that I would really benefit from re-reading this physically, as at some points I got lost and not everything stuck in my mind. I want to have the chance to take it slow, savour the incredible writing and really feel the power of his words.
Diane
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like being punched in the gut. But it's a blow I hope more people can take because this book needs to be read.

Structured as a letter to his teenage son, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about what it means to be a black man in America. His writing is eloquent and powerful, beautiful and heartbreaking, strident and yet bleak. When I first started reading, I thought I would finish it in one day because the book isn't very long. But it was so provocative that often I could only read a
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carol.
Drawing on an established tradition by American writers of color, 'Between the World and Me' is Ta-Nehisi Coates' own letter to his son. While I was reading, I heard loud echoes of of black writers passing on their experiences with race issues through their lives, including James Balwin's "My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation, 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X and MLK Jr.'s 'Letter from Birmingham Jail.' Interestingly, it also reminded me of Kr ...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I honestly do not feel right putting a rating on this man's experiences, heartfelt thoughts and wishes for his son. I grew up in Chicago and I have seen more than my fair share of the racial divide. Yet, I have never before read an eye opening book like this one. I am not going to express my views on what I think of what he wrote, my opinions have no place here. This is his viewpoint, shared by many of the black race and that is what I found astonishing, because it gave me an inside look at how ...more
Adam Silvera
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads, audiobook
If you're waiting for the millionth person to tell you to read this book, allow me to be Person 1,000,000. The audiobook is narrated by the author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it made the experience deeper for me.
Lexi
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit this book. I broke down into tears on the subway upon finishing the last page. As a very privileged white woman I don't feel like I have much right to talk about this book but I hope when it comes out everyone else talks about it because it is beautiful and devastating and has the potential to be so important.
Darwin8u
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

description

Awaken Fellow Dreamers.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written a book that runs the distance from the black body (with all its wounds and fears) and the stars (with its ability to be a conscious citizen of the world). It travels from the mountain peaks of the dreamers, whose mountain is built on the sacred, black bodies, and their da
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David Schaafsma
I read this book first in October, and now read it again with my Language and Literacy grad class. We had a pretty lively discussion about this book and three articles I provide links to below with respect Coates' views on reparations for Arican Americans.

This is a short book by Coates, who was in 2015 awarded one of the MacArthur "genius" grants, AND the National Book Award for Non-Fiction for this book. I recommend your checking it out. It comes in the form of a letter to his teenaged son, and
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Maxwell
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Re-read this one in physical format so I could underline, after having originally read this via audiobook. Just as powerful; so much to unpack. A great companion to Baldwin's The Fire Next Time which I've just finished reading as well.
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Original review: I listened to the audiobook of this which I would highly recommend as it is read by the author himself. However, I already know I need to re-read this, but this time with the physical book so I can stop and underline and think through all of th
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur "Genius Grant" fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story "The Case for Reparations." He lives in New York with his wife and son.

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Let’s be honest: It’s a lot of pressure to pick your book club’s next read. But never fear, readers are here! We combed through our data...
88 likes · 108 comments
“But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.” 406 likes
“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.” 359 likes
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