Reviews

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

With nearly 900 illustrations (formal portraits, news photos, historic lithographs, broadsides, flyers, posters, newspaper clippings, advertisements) complemented by a succinct but informing text, Harvard professor Gates (Black in Latin America) provides a visual sojourn through African-American history, a generally upbeat march from Juan Garrido, accompanying Cortes in 1519, to Barack Obama taking the presidential oath in 2008. Gathered in this chronologically arranged compendium, with its focus on the accomplishments and moments of achievement in the African-American community, is a wealth of materials about the historical, political, social, literary, and scientific events influencing American social and political culture. Scant attention is paid to the oft-told tale of plantation slavery, although the devastations wrought upon the African-American community are not neglected: "the infamous Middle Passage," Fort Pillow massacre, the convict lease system, the Tulsa race riot, the Tuskegee syphilis study, the police attack on the Selma marchers, Hurricane Katrina. The familiar and famous are in Gates's encyclopedic reach, but so are the less known and nearly forgotten. (How hard it is today to imagine that a 1950 photograph of Billy Eckstein with "white female fans" could be "revolutionary.") "Although we cannot change the past," Gates observes in one entry, "we can change how we remember it." In this sumptuous volume, Gates assembles an affirming, illuminating, and needed tribute. (Nov.) (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.

In this heavily illustrated, oversize volume covering the cultural and historical milestones of the past 500 years of African American history, Gates (Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard; Black in Latin America) begins with the Africans who accompanied the conquistadors to the New World and outlines the basis of African slavery. In chronologically arranged miniessays based on the latest scholarship, he goes on to track African American influences through the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Jim Crow era, the civil rights movement, and on up through hip-hop and the 2008 election of Barack Obama. Gates does an admirable job covering not only the significant figures in African American history but in reflecting on neglected individuals such as Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett, the first African American diplomat appointed an ambassador (to Haiti, 1869) and Eva Beatrice Dykes, a scholar of English literature who received her Ph.D. from Radcliffe in 1921. Verdict While the relatively abbreviated entries may not match Gates's previous work, the almost 900 illustrations and accessible coverage of the varieties of black experience make Life Upon the Shores an essential source for nonspecialists from high school on up.-John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Gates directs the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. This volume is an excellent example of Gates's ability to maintain high standards of scholarship while making a broad, dense subject accessible to a modern audience. This incredibly comprehensive history begins African life in America in 1513 with a free black conquistador who accompanied Ponce de Leon, and concludes with Barack Obama's presidential election in 2008. Amazingly, Gates manages to capture well-known figures and events as well as the not so well known. And he covers the diverse spectrum of black American politics, art, literature, religion, sports, and popular culture. The book is richly illustrated with maps, woodcuts, line drawings, cartoons, color photographs, and daguerreotypes; there is some type of picture on each page. Much of the history presented here is "familiar in the academy"; however, it will be new to many general readers, and as Gates writes in his introduction, he intends this book to be "a general history for a general audience." A remarkable accomplishment that should endure through many editions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. D. W. Bilal Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis


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

The credentials of author Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard. Challenging the notion of a single "Black Experience," Gates contextualizes his narrative with more than 800 images and doesn't duck controversy. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Four hundred years of public records and private collections went into the creation of this survey of African American history from well before the slave trade that would swell the black population of the New World to the election of the first black U.S. president. Gates begins with the little-known history of free black conquistadors, including Juan Garrido, who accompanied Ponce de Leon on his first expedition to Florida. Gates documents the famous, the obscure, and the long forgotten, from exploration to slavery to the Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction to the world wars to the Great Migration and the Great Depression to the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age to the civil rights and black-power movements to the hip-hop generation. Maps, posters, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and postcards add to the appeal of this chronicle of the pressing issues and events of each generation and the incredible diversity covered by the appellation African American. A tour de force of African American history.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist