The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.
Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true hi
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He went back to Baldwin, who posed the great paradox that would haunt him to the end: Who among us would integrate into a burning house?Where I come from, the white public has an extraordinary penchant for stealing the movement, language, all the etcs of a people you could ever imagine, from the black public. A word will come into a circle of white friends to use and lose and abuse, a segment of communication dehumanized as "slang" that will never be whole so long as it is spoken by those ...more
I grew up a pastor's/missionaries' kid in:
-a logging town
-the former Soviet Union
-a potato and asparagus farming town
in that order. In other words, I'm white AF y'all. So I had to google a lot of Coates' references to get the full context. It was super educational. But the writing!! The writing is as usual perfect and brilliant. Coates is one of my favorite living authors.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates
Beautiful. Haunting. Rythmic. Pulsing with life, love, and the development of consciousness. This is a memoir of a peer. Ta-Nehisi Coates is one year younger than me. We grew up watching the same things through different lenses. Watching the same play from vastly different seats. His was a lens of black America in W ...more
Stylistically, the book feels as if it were written effortlessly, yet is filled with clever and knowing asides that don't feel forced. That Coates can retain the straight power of street slang while mixing in references to Dungeons an ...more
What makes this book so compelling, and impossible to put down, is not what Coates has to say about race in the abstract. It's how honest he is about the specifics of his own life. You can't help identifying with him, no matter what color you are, because he writes about how children feel about their parents in ways that are timeless and true. He ...more
"About that time my Converse turned to cleats and I bolted, leaving dents and divots in the concrete. The streetlights flickered, waved as I broke ankles, blew by, and when the bandits reached to check me, I left only imagination and air."
"They elevated bar fights to a martial art, would rush the ring, all juiced on jeers and applause, white music blaring, Van Halen hair waving in the wind, and raise their ...more
Coates' writing—journalistic and literary—isn't meant to be palliative in the least. But that's exactly the effect that this slim work engendered for me.
A Bildungsroman that's not exactly lyrical but poetic, The Beautiful Struggle has 90's urban-America's fingerprints all over it; it took me back to a time that was both simpler and treacherous:
"In those days Baltimore was factional ...more
'I am not raising nothing niggers. Where is your head? What are you thinking, boy?
I am thinking of Sunday waffles and ...more
Witness this brilliant story in which he lets confederates themselves declare the battle flag’s meaning, quoting long passages of their defense of slavery and white supremacy. Only the willfully ignorant or comprehension impaired can read it and credibly ...more
There is much good writing, but this just a bit of a disappointment after “Between the World and Me”. This was originally published in 2008, so written by a considerably younger man. i eagerly await more from the ...more
I read this book partly because I was interested in the "what is it like to grow up with a father who was a Black Panther" aspect of Ta-Nehisi Coates' story, and partly becau ...more
There is a lot more ...more
Those interested in the effects of crack on 1980s Baltimore could not find a more wrenchingly beautiful descriptio ...more