Brown Is the New White: How the
panache and analytical insight Clay’s genius
for audacious self-promotion and strategic
self-concealment, and Malcolm X’s dream
of resolving his increasingly
dire conflict with the Nation
of Islam leader Elijah Mu-
hammad by bringing Clay
and his burgeoning inter-
national fame fully into the
fold. Vividly set within the
coalescing civil rights move-
ment, this incisive anatomy
of a “fatal friendship” turns on the bitter irony
that Clay, soon to become Muhammad Ali,
and Malcolm X became brothers in spirit by
virtue of their shared insistence on equality
and freedom in a racist society, only to be
drawn to the Nation of Islam, which betrayed
and terrorized them both, forcing them
apart and ultimately murdering Malcolm
X. Roberts and Smith portray both of these
courageous and controversial, inspired and
inspiring men with fresh, stinging clarity, and
extend our perception of the interconnectiv-
ity of race, religion, sports, and media during
this violent and transformative era, which is
so very germane today. —Donna Seaman
Demographic Revolution Has Created a
New American Majority.
By Steve Phillips.
Feb. 2016. 272p. New Press, $25.95 (9781620971154). 305.
Phillips, cofounder of PowerPAC.org, a
political-action committee striving for social
justice, offers a manifesto to those seeking to
change the way politics plays out in America
today. He offers statistics stating that 51 percent of eligible voters in America today are
“progressive people of color” and “
progressive whites.” Phillips has a background in
both politics and law, and here he lays out
reasons why white politicians (mainly calling
out the whole of the Democratic party) have
stalled in producing effective social change—
stemming from the progressive movement’s
failure to utilize this new and diverse eligible
voting majority. The book pulls no punches
(there’s a chapter titled, “Fewer Smart-Ass
White Boys”) but is ultimately hopeful. Appendixes outline statistics, terminology, and
recommended reading. This slim yet jam-packed call to action will be in demand,
both because Phillips is a popular pundit and
because the time is ripe for an upheaval in
politics-as-usual. —Rebecca Vnuk
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the
By Matthew Desmond.
Mar. 2016. 432p. Crown, $28 (9780553447439). 339.4.
It’s hard to paint a slumlord as a sympathetic
character, but Harvard professor Desmond
manages to do so in this compelling look at
home evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one
of America’s most segregated cities. Two landlords are profiled here: Sherrena, who owns
The best works of multicultural nonfiction reviewed in Booklist be- tween February 1, 2015, and January 2016 are written with valiant
candor and breathtaking eloquence and cover a broad spectrum, from
the ancient peoples of the Southwest to the experiences of African
Americans and immigrants past and present.
Between the World and Me. By Ta-Nehisi Coates. 2015. Spiegel &
Grau, $24 (9780812993547).
In this concentrated and potent book, Coates reveals what it means
to be an African American now, encompassing the tragic legacy of
the past and the injustices of today.
Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back. By Janice P. Nimura.
2015. Norton, $26.95 (9780393077995).
Nimura tracks five nineteenth-century Japanese girls who were sent to live in America
for 10 years and, upon their return, sparked a revolution in Japanese women’s education.
A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. By Sandra Cisneros. 2015. Knopf, $28.95
Cisneros creates a patchwork-quilt memoir out of more than 40 essays in which she
reflects on the meaning of home and her struggles as a self-described “American Mexican” and “working-class writer.”
The Light of the World. By Elizabeth Alexander. 2015. Grand Central, $26
With spellbinding grace, poet Alexander tells the story of her joyful marriage to exuberantly creative Ficre Ghebreyesus, an Eritrean refugee artist and chef; her grief after his
sudden death; and the healing radiance of art and literature.
The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest. By David Roberts. 2015. Norton, $27.95 (9780393241624).
Roberts guides readers into the wilds of the Southwest and far back in time, reporting
on findings illuminating the lives of groups such as the ancient Fremont Puebloans.
Martín Ramírez: Framing His Life and Art. By Victor M. Espinosa. 2015. Univ. of Texas,
Espinosa’s groundbreaking biography reveals the hard facts about Martín Ramírez, a
Mexican immigrant artist whose spectacular drawings are owned by major museums yet
who lost his family, land, identity, and freedom, and never received a penny.
Negroland. By Margo Jefferson. 2015. Pantheon, $25 (9780307378453).
In her beautifully written memoir of growing up in an upper-class African American family in Chicago in the 1960s and ’70s, Jefferson addresses issues of class that complicate
the quest for racial unity.
Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence. By Jonathan Sacks. 2015. Schocken,
Sacks closely examines and repudiates the use of scripture by Jews, Christians, and
Muslims to perpetuate an us-them dualism and legitimize terrorist attacks on peacefully
Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim. By Justin Gifford. 2015. Doubleday, $26.95
In the first full biography of Robert “Iceberg Slim” Beck (1918–92), Gifford tells the
dramatic, sharply relevant story of the African American pulp writer who inspired gangsta
rap, hip-hop, and street lit.
We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future. By Deepa Iyer. 2015. New Press, $25.95 (9781620970140).
Iyer draws on the personal experiences (including her own) of young South Asian,
Arab, Muslim, and Sikh immigrants living in communities that have suffered backlash
and hate crimes.
TOP 10 MULTICULTURAL NONFICTION
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