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Written in the tradition of works by Joan Didion, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ensler, a provocative and soul-searching “autobiography of America”—the past, the present, and the future Kevin Powell wants for us all, through the lens and lives of three major figures: his mother, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Ten short years ago, Barack Obama became president of the Written in the tradition of works by Joan Didion, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ensler, a provocative and soul-searching “autobiography of America”—the past, the present, and the future Kevin Powell wants for us all, through the lens and lives of three major figures: his mother, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Ten short years ago, Barack Obama became president of the United States, and changed the course of history. Ten short years ago, our America was hailed globally as a breathtaking example of democracy, as a rainbow coalition of everyday people marching to the same drum beat. We had finally overcome. But did we? Both the presidencies of Obama and Donald Trump have produced some of the ugliest divides in history: horrific racial murders, non-stop mass shootings, the explosion of attacks on immigrants and on the LGBTQ community, the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, a massive gap between the haves and the have-nots, and legions of women stepping forth to challenge sexual violence—and men—in all forms. In this gripping new collection of thirteen essays, My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man., Kevin Powell interweaves brutally honest personal stories with the saga of America, then and now. Be it politics, sports, pop culture, hip-hop music, mental health, racism, #MeToo, or his very complicated relationship with his mother, these impassioned essays are not merely a mirror of who we are, but also who and what Powell thinks we ought to be.


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Written in the tradition of works by Joan Didion, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ensler, a provocative and soul-searching “autobiography of America”—the past, the present, and the future Kevin Powell wants for us all, through the lens and lives of three major figures: his mother, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Ten short years ago, Barack Obama became president of the Written in the tradition of works by Joan Didion, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ensler, a provocative and soul-searching “autobiography of America”—the past, the present, and the future Kevin Powell wants for us all, through the lens and lives of three major figures: his mother, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Ten short years ago, Barack Obama became president of the United States, and changed the course of history. Ten short years ago, our America was hailed globally as a breathtaking example of democracy, as a rainbow coalition of everyday people marching to the same drum beat. We had finally overcome. But did we? Both the presidencies of Obama and Donald Trump have produced some of the ugliest divides in history: horrific racial murders, non-stop mass shootings, the explosion of attacks on immigrants and on the LGBTQ community, the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, a massive gap between the haves and the have-nots, and legions of women stepping forth to challenge sexual violence—and men—in all forms. In this gripping new collection of thirteen essays, My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man., Kevin Powell interweaves brutally honest personal stories with the saga of America, then and now. Be it politics, sports, pop culture, hip-hop music, mental health, racism, #MeToo, or his very complicated relationship with his mother, these impassioned essays are not merely a mirror of who we are, but also who and what Powell thinks we ought to be.

30 review for My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    That is quite a title right? Although there is plenty of talk about his mother and what Kevin Powell refers to as their complicated relationship, there is much less about Obama and very little of Trump. The challenge of essay collections, if the collection is not conceived originally as a whole book project as opposed to collecting pieces that have been written and previously published and then brought together to form a book is you get a lot of overlap, and you often find yourself muttering, he That is quite a title right? Although there is plenty of talk about his mother and what Kevin Powell refers to as their complicated relationship, there is much less about Obama and very little of Trump. The challenge of essay collections, if the collection is not conceived originally as a whole book project as opposed to collecting pieces that have been written and previously published and then brought together to form a book is you get a lot of overlap, and you often find yourself muttering, he said that already. This book doesn’t greatly suffer from repetition, and what there is; is easily acceptable, because some of what he says bears repeating. And the essays that appeared elsewhere in some form all fall into the time period between 2015-2018. So, it’s not like you’ll find some divergent thoughts separated by many years that easily could explain growth of mind and deeper examination of initial impressions. There are thirteen essays here and perhaps the thirteen is symbolic for the thirteen books that he has written. Kevin Powell has been an activist often speaking loudly in alliance with women empowerment issues. The fact he has thirteen books I found surprising, because I didn’t realize he had been that productive. Here, he wants the reader to know, “reflecting much of what I have experienced and learned since I was that puny kid-writer so many chapters ago...... And I have digested the reactions to what I have penned the past few months, via email, via social media, after my speeches, in random spaces. I feel I have found my voice again.” That voice is most lucid when he is challenging current politics and social situations as he does in the essay:Will Racism Ever End? Certainly a question that is becoming more urgent as the social gaffes continue to pile up like mountains of waste. Kevin is insistent that whites must be as engaged in this work as much as others if not outright leading the effort to end racism. “I can hear my White sisters and brothers say now, as many often declare to me when this uncomfortable dialogue occurs, “But I did not own slaves, I had nothing to do with that” or “My relatives did not do that.” It does not matter if you or your long-gone relatives were directly involved or not, or if you believe that “that is in the past.” The past, tragically, is the present, because we’ve been too terrified to confront our whole history and our whole selves as Americans.” He also is at the top of the game when he writes about hip-hop and that culture. His writing career was birthed at Vibe magazine an early chronicler of hip-hop culture and rap music. His essay A Letter To Tupac Shakur is one of the highlights of the book. The loving critique and challenge to Jay-Z in Jay-Z and the Remaking Of His Manhood is also a very strong piece. He writes very lovingly of his mother and obviously he is extremely grateful for her tremendous sacrifice in making and shaping Kevin Powell to the man he has become. He has done a great job with this offering, challenging his country, his brothers and sisters to always be better and do better. It would do you well to read and share this book with your friends and family and take what you need to make positive changes that will lead to positive contributions to this thing called life, perhaps being in and of service to a greater good. Highly Recommended. Thanks to Atria Books and Netgalley for advanced DRC. Book will drop Sept. 4, 2018

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karla Strand

    See the full review at A Review of Kevin Powell's Latest Book. This year I have committed to reading and reviewing books mainly by womxn writers but when I received an advanced proof of Kevin Powell’s latest book, My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man., I decided to make an exception. Despite Kevin Powell having authored 12 previous books, this is the first one of his I am reading. I initially encountered Powell during his time on The Real World in the 90 See the full review at A Review of Kevin Powell's Latest Book. This year I have committed to reading and reviewing books mainly by womxn writers but when I received an advanced proof of Kevin Powell’s latest book, My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. And the Last Stand of the Angry White Man., I decided to make an exception. Despite Kevin Powell having authored 12 previous books, this is the first one of his I am reading. I initially encountered Powell during his time on The Real World in the 90s and kept loose tabs on his writing career since. I have enjoyed some of his essays in Vibe and other outlets throughout the years so was excited to read this new book. The book is a collection of 13 of Powell’s articles and blog posts from the last couple of years. The essays are cogent reminders and reflections of events from pop culture to politics, from Tupac and Prince, to gender and masculinity, to mental health and police brutality, all through the eyes of Kevin Powell. ... On the whole, I really dig Kevin Powell’s writing and certain elements really resonate with me. One is the variety of styles with which he is willing to experiment, be it a conversational blog style as in “Why is Baltimore Burning?,” a letter format as in “Letter to a Young Man” and “A Letter to Tupac Shakur,” or an impassioned essay like his “Will Racism Ever End? Will I Ever Stop Being a Ni**er?” I appreciate the repetition, timing, and poetic phrasing in his work which is reminiscent of the cadence of his heroes Malcolm X or Muhammad Ali, or of the musical qualities of Black preachers I heard one chilly Sunday morning in Alabama. I covet the pure and unabashed passion with which Kevin Powell writes. He’s not afraid to show his sensitivity which gives me hope for the future of (cishet men’s) writing. I also appreciate Powell’s ability to write broadly and deeply about a subject, taking his time to display his detailed and thorough understanding, while still making it accessible to the general public. There is usually a lot of meat to what Powell writes. He ties personal experiences in with his subjects; he refers to other events, current and historical, and he weaves in music, art, politics, and more so that his pieces can feel like experiences. The essay, “Hamilton, OJ Simpson, Orlando, Gun Violence, and What the 4th of July, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas and Baton Rouge Police Shootings Mean to Me,” is so much more than a summary of his experience attending the play Hamilton on Broadway and what it meant to him. And there is a paragraph (pages 146-147 in the advanced proof copy) in his piece about JAY-Z’s album 4:44 that is the epitome of how I wish I could pen a review. Powell not only entices you to understand where he is coming from on a topic, but he challenges you to critically reflect on where you stand on it and why. It probably won’t be surprising that one of the essays I most enjoyed is entitled, “Re-defining Manhood: Harvey Weinstein and How his Toxic Manhood is our Toxic Manhood, too.” In this piece, Powell takes responsibility for his own transgressions – that time he pushed a former girlfriend into a bathroom door – and explains how male privilege takes hold of boys early on and subsequently develops into ubiquitous notions of toxic manhood as they grow up. He discusses the #MeToo movement and how actions of men like Harvey Weinstein, men like Kevin Powell, and all men, can harm and wound women in ways that must end and can only end when men take action to help support women and fight against sexual violence and harassment. ... Kevin Powell’s latest book is a collection of reflective and impassioned essays from a veteran observer and chronicler of music, politics, race, gender, and current events. It will appeal to wide audiences and may be most enjoyably read in multiple sittings so the reader can digest and reflect upon each piece. Individual readings could readily be assigned in special topics or intro courses covering race, and other sociocultural issues, politics, and gender and women’s studies. This book is recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. Danvers

    Jemele Hill's blurb says it all for me: He masterfully uses his own life experiences to force us to take an uncomfortable look at how we've been conditioned to adopt, accept, and extend the unfortunate American traditions of hate and violence. Jemele Hill's blurb says it all for me: He masterfully uses his own life experiences to force us to take an uncomfortable look at how we've been conditioned to adopt, accept, and extend the unfortunate American traditions of hate and violence.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Miller

    I loved this collection of essays by Kevin Powell. Because I know nothing about Hip-Hop I started to skim the essays on JAY-Z and Tupak, but I quickly realized that Powell turns his sharp gaze on everything and draws all the cords together. His insights about how music and athletics reflect truths about our culture are dead on. He gives voice to what it feels like to be a Black man in America, but his essays go way beyond that. He tries to get to the heart of what it means to be human.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richie East

    I liked this book... I really did, but coming off of rereading Assata (an Autobiography of a revolutionary), The Aretha Franklin biography, and knowing so much of Kevin’s work I’m concerned that this was a bunch of short essays about what he thinks about current pop culture as a whole. It’s just thrown together in a book. It’s in Kevin’s voice, and it feels familiar. You get a lot of what he’s trying to say, but I’m not really sure that we needed a book on the lens through which Kevin Powell see I liked this book... I really did, but coming off of rereading Assata (an Autobiography of a revolutionary), The Aretha Franklin biography, and knowing so much of Kevin’s work I’m concerned that this was a bunch of short essays about what he thinks about current pop culture as a whole. It’s just thrown together in a book. It’s in Kevin’s voice, and it feels familiar. You get a lot of what he’s trying to say, but I’m not really sure that we needed a book on the lens through which Kevin Powell sees the modern world. His voice is and will always be relevant. He is an excellent story teller, but we have read/heard his story about pushing the young lady into the door and his past of toxic masculinity. We didn’t need it in this book. Just like we didn’t really need more of the Tupac talk, even though I love when Kev talks about Pac. We want to hear about the depths of Kevin’s spiritual journey. His experience as a yogi. Stories from the trails he hikes. How he met his wife. How his shift from toxic masculinity led to a much healthier relationship to women and how it has blessed his marriage. That’s what we want from Kevin. Love you man.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Interesting take on racism today. I sort of skimmed through it, but focused on the last essay. As a white woman, I really can't empathize with Powell's hardships through life. One statement did stand out, however: Obama’s base support, White, Black, Latinx, Asian,Native American, Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, straight, queer, able-bodied, disabled, young, old, poor and the super wealthy, essentially became the rainbow coalition that Hampton and Jackson had envisioned, and it also resembled th Interesting take on racism today. I sort of skimmed through it, but focused on the last essay. As a white woman, I really can't empathize with Powell's hardships through life. One statement did stand out, however: Obama’s base support, White, Black, Latinx, Asian,Native American, Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, straight, queer, able-bodied, disabled, young, old, poor and the super wealthy, essentially became the rainbow coalition that Hampton and Jackson had envisioned, and it also resembled the beloved community that Dr. King spoke of, marching Barack Obama straight to the 2008 Democrat nomination over a highly surprised Hillary Clinton and the Clinton machine. He went on later to note that it was the bigotry of the "angry white man" that was triggered by Obama's presidency, yet they blame Obama for the rise in racism. I've never considered Obama as racist. I felt Michelle was angry when she first entered the WH, and this was picked up by those same "angry white men" who opposed a black president. Trump emboldened those men and women who felt disenfranchised during Obama's presidency, and he continues to encourage their racism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    Abandoned

  8. 4 out of 5

    LA

    A very interesting and insightful book about contemporary race issues in the US. Very well written and thoughtful. I think this book will age well --- looking forward to reading it again in 20 years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathlyn Walton

    Excellent read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Life altering. As a long time fan and friend of Mr. Powell, I am always inspired by his willingness to bring a perspective that white men don't have access to,given the bubble we live in. His writing about his mother and the trauma of being black in America is confronting to listen to and is the story of millions of unheard voices. I am still rocked to my core. I request that every man reads this book - or better yet listens to it. Hear your brother's pain. Really hear it. Life altering. As a long time fan and friend of Mr. Powell, I am always inspired by his willingness to bring a perspective that white men don't have access to,given the bubble we live in. His writing about his mother and the trauma of being black in America is confronting to listen to and is the story of millions of unheard voices. I am still rocked to my core. I request that every man reads this book - or better yet listens to it. Hear your brother's pain. Really hear it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Lorren

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Vale

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tina Shirey

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hagander-Luanava

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Dickinson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Irene

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brad Krautwurst

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Harmon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey L. Wilson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Hunt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erin

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