Mr. Lewis has written an engaging history of Du Bois's exciting and long life ... Mr. Lewis examines a tremendous amount of information, but never overwhelms the reader. He carefully analyzes the historical, sociological, literary and journalistic works of Du Bois, including the often self-contradictory autobiographical volumes, without confusing the reader. Likewise, he reveals the political, economic and social development of the nation in a way that illuminates Du Bois's life and the history of his era ... Mr. Lewis is a deft and sensitive guide through all this. He so vividly evokes the environments that shaped Du Bois that one almost participates in the life ... I hope that this most important book will not merely invigorate discussions of Du Bois within the academy, but that it will help to revitalize discussions of his life throughout our society.
In the first volume of his biography, Lewis interpreted Du Bois’s sense of doubleness or duality not as a contradiction to be overcome but as a permanent condition that could be a source of strength and creativity ... The conclusion one draws from Lewis’s first volume, therefore, is that Du Bois was intent on finding a middle ground between black separatism, or what today would be called “Afrocentrism,” and straightforward integration or assimilation ... One of the finest biographies that this country has produced.
This rich, masterful biography covers the first half of the complex life and abundant career of scholar/activist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) ... Drawing on a wealth of sources, including critical readings of Du Bois's memoirs, which he ``retouched . . . to produce the desired image of impregnable racial pride,'' Lewis advances the narrative with grace and energy.