PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn his revealing and passionately argued book, he insists that because the framers did not sanction slavery as a matter of principle, the antislavery legacy of the Constitution has been \'slighted\' and \'misconstrued\' for over 200 years ... Wilentz goes to great lengths and, at times, takes great pains to show how Northern antislavery delegates combined forces with some moderate Upper South delegates to ensure the United States \'would not validate slavery in national law\' ... In the end, restoring the antislavery intent of the Constitution leaves a more perplexing question at the heart of American democracy. If it is now correct to say that America’s leaders got something right about racism in the beginning, why have they repeatedly gotten so much wrong ever since? That’s a history lesson still desperately needing to be taught.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAt first mention the metaphor seems overdrawn, and eventually it slips a bit under its own weight...But among white Americans, ideas about the collective guilt of black Americans exert a powerful pull. In the Colony, individual guilt or innocence is largely irrelevant. Hayes tells story after story of innocent black suspects routinely standing in for the guilty ... Hayes’s forceful analysis comes from an evocative reading of our colonial past ... compel[s] readers to wrestle with some very tough questions about the nature of American democracy and its deep roots in racism, inequality and punishment.
James Forman Jr.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...a masterly account of how a generation of black elected officials wrestled with recurring crises of violence and drug use in the nation’s capital ... Forman’s novel claim is this: What most explains the punitive turn in black America is not a repudiation of civil rights activism, as some have argued, but an embrace of it ... compel[s] readers to wrestle with some very tough questions about the nature of American democracy and its deep roots in racism, inequality and punishment.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewOrigin stories are revealing. This one makes clear that ghettos are physical places that are perpetuated by vicious cycles of inequality and are justified by ideologies of cultural or racial pathology...In Duneier’s impressive and comprehensive volume, readers will find a greater sense of the complexity of America’s problem of racial inequality, as well as the urgency — practical and moral — of solving it.