Brandishing the tools of genetic criticism, Rachel Douglas illustrates how James wrote and revised texts not simply as part of his own creative development, but to recast his political insights for new audiences and changing circumstances.
As artistic profile, Dread Poetry and Freedom is successful. In fact, it also succeeds in constructing a worthwhile rubric through which political art can be viewed. Though this may be accidental, it also unveils a broader problem, albeit one well beyond the scope of the book. That is, if poetry can play a role in “informing our understanding of political possibilities,” can it play a role in widening those possibilities?
Black women, as a group, are not known for their conservatism. They are, in fact, more likely to vote Democratic and along progressive lines than Black men. So, Uprising and Blackout are worth thinking about in this context. Why are some Black women openly, even aggressively as in the cases of Owens and Diamond and Silk, identifying as conservative?
Because it is about our nation as much as it is about one city, and because Johnson frames it as “the two-hundred-year history of removal, racism, and resistance that flowed through the two minutes of confrontation on August 9, 2014”—the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, which touched off Black Lives Matter—the book is for all of us and for now.
Even the most experienced and knowledgeable readers of boxing history and the life and times of Muhammad Ali will learn many new things from this engagingly written and well-researched work.
Cara Robertson compellingly documents the known facts of the Borden case, and because she strategically avoids participating in a long tradition of sensationalizing the events of the murder and its aftermath, she is simultaneously able to tell the equally captivating story of the many ways that journalists, writers, and historians have shaped the mythology of Borden murders, beginning in the hours after the crime.
In different ways, the books under review offer alternative perspectives on what is arguably the most polarizing of film genres. All three are by established film historians who have written extensively on specific eras and themes. Yet of the three texts only Hollywood Musicals You Missed opens up fresh lines of inquiry.
Madame Fourcades’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler reads like a well-written thriller about the most interesting French woman since Eleanor of Aquitaine. It stars an unlikely heroine who fought autocrats throughout her life.
In Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination, Adom Getachew returns to the sunrise of African and Caribbean decolonization in the twentieth century. Far from portraying the neoliberal African state as the fulfillment of the freedom dreams of the Black Atlantic’s architects of decolonization, Getachew excavates a vibrant set of histories that show us that those visions were quite different.