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The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America--it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities.
In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Praise for Stamped from the Beginning:
"We often describe a wonderful book as 'mind-blowing' or 'life-changing' but I've found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning... I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellous, ambitious, and clear-sighted book." - George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017
"We often describe a wonderful book as 'mind-blowing' or 'life-changing' but I've found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning... I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellous, ambitious, and clear-sighted book."
―George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017
"An engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America.... The greatest service Kendi [provides] is the ruthless prosecution of American ideas about race for their tensions, contradiction and unintended consequences."
"A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society."
"A staggering intellectual history of racism in America that is both rigorous and ...readable."
"An intricate look at the history of race in the U.S., arguing that many well-meaning American progressives inadvertently operate on belief systems tinged with a racist heritage."
"Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism."
"Kendi upends many commonly held beliefs about how racism works, exploring the ideas and thinkers behind our most intractable social and cultural problem."
"An altogether remarkable thesis on history, but, in ways that are both moving and immediately painful, it also reverberates with the post-election autopsy we're all conducting right now... Stamped from the Beginning is a riveting (and often rivetingly written) work, well deserving of the National Book Award."
"The National Book Awards show the way toward the America we want, not the one we're getting."
―New York Magazine
"Kendi has done something that's damn near impossible: write a book about racism that breaks new ground, while being written in a way that's accessible to the nonacademic. If you've ever been interested in how racist ideas spread throughout the United States, this is the book to read."