...a collection of 13 extensive essays with adept use of personal accounts and historical insight ... The collection begins with the highly personal 'Letter to a Young Man' ... Using his own life as a backdrop for an analysis of sexism, Powell conveys the intimate details of his relationships with women ... Using a keen analysis of the elections of Barack Obama and the subsequent election of Donald J. Trump along with life lessons...My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man. brings America to bear with itself by telling the naked truth ... Kevin Powell examines a salient mix of tough subjects such as race, poverty, and sexual violence with a passion and sensitivity that few writers of his generation can match.
...passionate, confident and not well thought-out ... Most of the essays are infused with righteous anger over police brutality, racism and white privilege ... It’s his forays into the country’s still-depressing racial landscape, however, that I find the most disappointing. They are not necessarily wrong. But they are lacking in original thought ... one searches in vain in Powell’s book for any hint of how to bring these oppressed groups together to confront their real enemy ... To his credit — and possibly as the book’s saving grace — Powell’s yearning for freedom does not end with observations on race and celebrity. His strongest writing is wrapped up in a heartfelt plea for men to loosen ourselves from an outmoded notion of masculinity ... For all my issues with much of his book, I find that, in the age of Trump and allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, I can’t help but applaud Powell’s demand that we no longer accept sexual violence.
...heartfelt, at times searing, essays ... Powell's reminiscences of their encounters, and [Shakur] the rapper's importance to him and many other young black men, is especially moving ... Powell's essays are written with a sense of urgency that is almost palpable.
...his penetrating profiles of celebrities, such as doomed rapper-actor Tupac Shakur and charismatic quarterback Cam Newton, typify the perils faced by and promise of black America ... Admirers of Greg Tate’s postsoul aesthetic and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s 21st-century urban realism will find much to savor in Powell’s urgent and eloquent prose.