Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Lawrence-Lightfoot, Harvard professor and author of Balm in Gilead (Addison-Wesley, 1988), has joined the ranks of authors writing about black professionals as a group. Unlike Ellis Cose's Rage of a Privileged Class (LJ 11/1/93), which relies on interviews with many individuals and statistics to make the point that even successful African Americans are affected by racism, Lawrence-Lightfoot portrays six individuals to make the same point. They include Katie Cannon, ordained minister and professor of Liberation Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School; Charles Ogletree, criminal defense lawyer and professor at Harvard Law School; Toni Schiesler, dean of Academic Affairs at Cabrini College; Tony Earls, doctor, researcher, and professor at Harvard School of Public Health; Cheryle Wills-Matthews, activist; and Orlando Bagwell, filmmaker. A common thread in their stories is how they knew that race was the reason they were not doing even better than they were. This book is a fine complement to the statistical approach and also valuable for the biographical information it contains on these successful but unsung professionals. Recommended for all social science collections.-Anita L. Cole, Miami-Dade P.L. System, Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Responding to E. Franklin Frazier's somewhat disdainful Black Bourgeoisie , Harvard sociologist Lawrence-Lightfoot ( Balm in Gilead ) here portrays the complex lives, drives and commitments of six middle-aged ``African-Americans of privilege.'' Each subject, whom she interviewed over a period of several years, reveals something thought-provoking: Charles Ogletree, a criminal defense lawyer and Harvard professor, feels ``both burdened and inspired'' by the ghosts of his small-town past; Cleveland and Boston businesswoman Cheryle Wills describes learning the spiritual and material values of community at Cleveland's largest black funeral home; documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell recalls the abandonment (similar to the ``isolation'' noted by his subject, Malcolm X) he felt when his family moved to a rural white area. In a brief coda of analysis, the author has avoided some probing questons, such as the relationships of two subjects with white spouses. Also, Lawrence-Lightfoot allows the narratives to meander, following the line of her interview sessions; she might have done more to mold her subjects' stories. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Portraying six African American professionals, Lawrence-Lightfoot shows that even successful African Americans are affected by racism. Her work elegantly complements the statistical approach to African American life while offering valuable biographical information on these unsung individuals. (LJ 9/1/94) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Deserving sustained applause for the magnificent effort expended, this book is the culmination of a year's interviewing of six remarkable African Americans. The author endeavors to present the "path to success" as seen through the life-courses of these individuals. The selling point of the book is that after reading it one comes away with the feeling of having read six separate novels. Each story is unique, yet all are similar in speaking to trials and tribulations any American might experience in the pursuit of success. The reader will undoubtedly be moved by Lightfoot's "human archaeology" approach to writing, and her work will be welcomed by those seeking a book that explores the "deep structure" of human existence. General readers. R. Stewart; Buffalo State College