More Praise for
Stamped From The Beginning


 
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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.
The Root
I honestly wish every American would read this book, especially people who haven’t been exposed to the history of blatant, transparent racism in our public policy.
Chicago Review of Books
A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society.
The Atlantic
Kendi blends “deep research and analysis with a powerfully intimate and personal voice. . .Kendi grounds his argument in the present moment, citing the killing of Trayvon Martin and the birth of Black Lives Matter as ‘heartbreaks that are a product of America’s history of racist ideas’ — a history he then narrates through the lives and works of five individuals: Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. DuBois and Angela Davis. By anchoring the book on these five historical figures — each of them brilliant, complicated and fascinating — Kendi renders this work of intellectual history as compelling as the juiciest biography.
The Los Angeles Times
In this tour de force, Kendi explores the history of racist ideas—and their connection with racist practices—across American history. Racism is the enduring scar on the American consciousness. In this ambitious, magisterial book, Kendi reveals just how deep that scar cuts and why it endures, its barely subcutaneous pain still able to flare.
Kirkus, Starred Review
One thing is sure. Stamped from the Beginning will be read by future generations. It has the potential to become a classic, must-read chronicle in the vast historiography on antiblack racist thought in the United States.
Public Books
A staggering intellectual history of racism in America that is both rigorous and. . .readable.
New Republic
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.
Time
Stamped From The Beginning is ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism.
The Seattle Times
In hisambitious, illuminating, and engaging book, Ibram X. Kendiseamlessly assembles sources from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis; the Great Awakening to Black Lives Matter; the Birth of a Nation to Hip Hop culture, to show how not only race but racist ideas are at the center of American thought.
Paula J. Giddings, EA Woodson Professor, Smith College, and author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching
Stamped From The Beginning centers on five figures: Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis. Through their lives, and with novelistic flair, Kendi details the American construction of white supremacy as a three-pronged tragedy of religion, government, and activism.
The Strange
A work as prodigious as the subtitle implies. . . . Had Kendi only provided history, Stamped From The Beginning would be a meaningful contribution to the literature, but it is so much more. It a call for all Americans to look inward.
Albany Times Union
Self-proclaimed as a definitive history of racist ideas in the US, this exhaustive, encyclopedic opus lives up to that claim. Kendi’s mighty tome is breathtaking in its scope. . . .Both, worthwhile and extraordinary. . . . Essential.
Choice
Given our political moment and the work we need to do as individuals and as a country, this book should be on every young leader’s bookshelf. It’s not pretty, but the truth often isn’t.
Forbes
This heavily researched yet easily readable volume explores the roots and the effects of racism in America. The narrative smoothly weaves throughout history, culminating in the declaration that as much as we’d like it to be, America today is nowhere near the “postracial” country that the media declared following the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The hope here is that by studying and remembering the lessons of history, we may be able to move forward to an equitable society.
Booklist
Richly sourced and engaging, Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning is a highly accessible yet provocative study that seeks to complicate our understanding of racist ideas and the forces that produce them.
Yohuru Williams, Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Fairfield University
Kendi admits that he is not writing to change the minds of those who produce and espouse racist ideas. Rather, in his honesty about how deeply he himself had held multiple racist ideas before embarking on the historical odyssey of this book, he gives the reader permission to accompany him on that eye-opening journey...Kendi leaves plenty of room for self-questioning, and for drawing connections between the racist apologetics of the past and those of the present. The process makes for a compelling, thoroughly enlightening, unsettling, and necessary read.
Vox
Stamped from the Beginning is a tour de force of intellectual history that brilliantly illuminates the tragic history of racist ideas from slavery to Black Lives Matter.
Peniel E. Joseph, author of Stokely: A Life and Waiting ’til the Midnight Hour
Stamped from the Beginning delivers a timely and bold corrective to the history of racist and anti-racist ideas that explodes our understanding of the root of anti-black violence as we know it today. Kendi’s deft analysis of key thinkers from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis illustrates how racial thought, specifically debates about racial difference, take shape across space and time and influence racial policies and the persistence of racial discrimination. This book is a must read for those interested in working to unearth the foundational ideas and practices that hinder true racial progress.
Keisha-Khan Y. Perry, Associate Professor, Brown University, and author of Black Women against the Land Grab: The Fight for Racial Justice in Brazil
Kendi’s unusually original and groundbreaking analysis is the product of an almost clinical modus operandi. First, he formulates a clear and simple definition of what constitutes a racist idea (“any concept that regards one racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way”). He then unflinchingly applies that definition to the work of individual historical figures and to the ideas on race, slavery, segregation and integration that prevailed at various stages in US history. Like a laboratory scientist, he then interprets the results.
The Guardian
To structure his book, which he spent three years writing, Kendi built it around five major American intellectual figures: Puritan leader Cotton Mather, founding father Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, African-American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and activist Angela Davis. While showing the reader each of them grappling with questions of race, Kendi places them in the wider context of history with graceful, engaging prose and deeply researched details. Stamped is a book that connects everything from Mather’s 17th century theological theories about the souls of Africans to Bo Derek’s cornrows in the movie 10, and much more.
Tampa Bay Times
Stamped From The Beginning provides “ever-relevant context for the white supremacist moment.
The Dallas Morning News
Stamped from the Beginning is a history of how racist ideas are built, and how they are built to last. Understanding this history is essential if we want to have any hope of progress. This book will forever change the way we think about race.
Touré, MSNBC contributor and author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness
Both a penetrating treatise and a wonderfully accessible work of intellectual history, Stamped from the Beginning reveals the heritage of ideas behind the modern dialectic of race-denial and race-obsession. By historicizing our entrenched logic of racial difference, Kendi shows why “I don’t see color” and other professions of post-racialism remain inexorable alibis for white supremacy. As this meticulous study suggests, we escape such contradictions only by becoming staunch anti-racists and actively confronting the intellectual and material legacies of our common racialist genealogy. Stamped from the Beginning has done the cause of anti-racism a great service.
Russell Rickford, Associate Professor, Cornell University, and author of We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination
Kendi’s provocative egalitarian argument combines prodigious reading and research with keen insights into the manipulative power of racist ideologies that suppress the recognition of diversity. This is a must for serious readers of American history, politics, or social thought.
Library Journal