Book Review: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates | What's Left

As a writer and blogger for the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates was alreadywell-known as a public voice in support of the Black Lives Mattermovement, having written on issues of race and social policy for many years.

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The publication of his second book, earlier this year, has had the effect of a shock wave, providing the movement not only with an amplified sense of resistance, but with lyricism and powerful, moving language to lend it credibility.

In Between the World and Me, Coates addresses his 14 year old son to explain to him his own experience and challenges of being black in the United States. He discusses his growing up in Baltimore, where racial injustices and police brutality led to protests just a few months prior to the book’s publication. Central to his argument and narrative is the black body: who owns it, who doesn’t, the intrinsic hopes, fears, joy, tears and injustices that inhabit it. Through his experiences and historical anecdotes, he paints a picture of the contradictions between freedoms and opportunities offered to black people as opposed to those who believe they are white, as described by the author.

The book is a short, intense non-fiction well worth the read to put into context race and resistance in today’s world, as an introduction to the movement, or to deepen one’s connection and understanding of it.

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