White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016

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National Book Critics Circle Award Winner New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016

 
As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,?? historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,?? she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.??

Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House.

Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

white rage

Review
 

“White Rage is a harrowing account of our national history during the century and a half since the Civil War–even more troubling for what it exposes about our present, our deep and abiding racial divide. This is necessary reading for anyone interested in understanding–and perfecting–our union.” ―Natasha Trethewey, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Native Guard and Two-term Poet Laureate of the United States

“Anderson’s mosaic of white outrage deserves contemplation by anyone interested in understanding U.S. race relations, past and present.” ―Library Journal

“Few historians write with the grace, clarity, and intellectual verve Carol Anderson summons in this book. We are tethered to history, and with White Rage, Anderson adeptly highlights both that past and the tenacious grip race holds on the present. There is a handful of writers whose work I consider indispensable. Professor Anderson is high up on that list.” ―William Jelani Cobb, author of THE SUBSTANCE OF HOPE

“To overcome our racial history, Americans must first learn our racial history–as it truly and painfully happened. This powerful book is the place to start.” ―David Von Drehle, author of RISE TO GREATNESS: ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND AMERICA’S MOST PERILOUS YEAR

“Prescient . . . provides necessary perspective on the racial conflagrations in the U.S.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“[An] engaging, thought-provoking work . . . Anderson’s clear, ardent prose detailing the undermining of America’s stated ideals and democratic norms is required reading for anyone interested in the state of American social discourse.” ―Booklist

“Powerful . . . Like a meticulous prosecutor assembling her case, Anderson lays out a profoundly upsetting vision of an America driven to waves of reactionary white anger whenever it’s confronted with black achievement.” ―Bookforum

 

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