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Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York. 2012. New Press. 9781595581037. With a new foreword by Cornel West. 312 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Pollen, New York. 

 

9781595581037FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

WINNER, NAACP IMAGE AWARD. WINNER, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMENTARY AWARD. "Devastating.' - Forbes Magazine. "An instant classic." - CORNEL WEST. "The bible of a social movement." - San Francisco Chronicle. "[An] extraordinary book." - MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN. 'Striking... Alexander deserves to be compared to Du Bois in her ability to distill and lay out as mighty human drama a complex argument and history." - The New York Review of Books. Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action.' Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize—winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily KOS, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

 

Alexander MichelleMICHELLE ALEXANDER is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Formerly the director of the ACLU Racial Justice. Project in Northern California, Alexander served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

 

CORNEL WEST is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University.

 

 


 

 

 

Maurer, David W.. The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man & the Confidence Game. Indianapolis. 1940. Bobbs-Merrill. 300 pages. hardcover.  

big con bobbs merrill 1940

big con no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

CON MEN DON'T STEAL - they literally have wads of cash thrust into their hands by trusting victims. Find out how they accomplish these dizzying feats in David Maurer's The Big Con, one of the finest and most entertaining portraits of confidence men and their games ever written. First published in 1940, it later inspired the Oscar-winning movie The Sting, and is to this day considered a classic of criminology. In addition to being a treasure trove of underworld lingo and unforgettable characters, The Big Con vividly illustrates the fundamental stages of every con, including Putting up the mark - finding a well-to-do victim Playing the con for him - gaining his or her confidence Giving him the convincer - allowing the victim to make a small profit Putting him on the send - sending him home to get more money Taking off the touch - fleecing the victim Forewarned is forearmed. In today's world of ever bigger Ponzi schemes, the price of this book might be the best money you ever spent. 

 

Maurer David WarrenDavid Warren Maurer (April 12, 1906 – ca. June 11, 1981) was a professor of linguistics at the University of Louisville from 1937 to 1972, and an author of numerous studies of the language of the American underworld. Maurer received a doctorate from the Ohio State University in Comparative Literature in 1935. He spent much of his academic career studying the language of criminals, drug addicts, and other marginal subcultures. He died on his farm outside Louisville from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Big Con is Maurer's most popular and perhaps most important book. It was originally published in 1940 by Bobbs-Merrill Company. The source material for it came from Maurer's correspondence, interviews, and informal chats with hundreds of underworld denizens during the 1930s. Among the interviewed criminals were such figures as Joseph "The Yellow Kid" Weil, Charles Gondorff and Limehouse Chappie. Maurer won the trust of hundreds of grifters, who let him in on their language and their methods. The book served as a source for the film The Sting. Maurer wrote three other books, Narcotics and Narcotic Addiction, Whiz Mob: A Correlation of the Technical Argot of Pickpockets with Their Behavior Pattern, and Kentucky Moonshine. In all these books, Maurer described the language – mostly the lexicon – of the people living in these "subcultures." For example, in the last book he focused on the craft of the moonshiners, discussed their infiltration of "dry" counties and reported their terminology. Language of the Underworld is a collection of several of his previous published articles collected by two of his students. It includes an introduction that describes the methods he used to collect criminal argot. Maurer died at home at age 75, the apparent victim of a self-inflected gunshot wound.

 


 

 

 

Lyons. Malcolm C. with Ursula Lyons (translators).

 

9780140449389The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 1. New York. 2010. Penguin Books. 9780140449389. Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons with Ursula Lyons. Introduction by Robert Irwin. 982 pages. paperback. Cover: Flying over Istanbul and the Galata Tower on the Magic Carpet, 19th-century miniature from The Tale, of The Thousand and One Nights, in the University Library, Istanbul (photogaph The Art Archive,' Gianni Doak Orti). 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - When the beautiful Shahrazad gives herself to the bloody-handed King Shahriyar, she is not expected to survive beyond dawn. But using all her wit and guile, she begins a sequence of stories that will last 1001 nights: stories of 'ifrits and money-changers, princes and slave girls, fishermen and queens, and magical gardens of paradise. This volume also includes the well-known tale of 'Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves'. Along with this landmark new translation, Robert Irwin's introduction discusses the many cultures The Arabian Nights has drawn on and the elaborate structure of the story-within-a-story that defines the collection, as well as the importance to the Nights of locked doors, sex and the recurring themes of money, merchants and debts. This edition also contains suggestions for further reading, a glossary, maps and a chronology.

 

 

9780140449396The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 2. New York. 2010. Penguin Books. 9780140449396. Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons with Ursula Lyons. Introduction by Robert Irwin. 878 pages. paperback. . Cover: Aladdin Transported by the Genie, 19th-century miniature from The Tales of The Thousand and One Nights, in the University Library, Istanbul (photogaph © The Art Archive/Gianni Dagli Orti). 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - When the beautiful Shahrazad gives herself to the bloody-handed King Shahriyar, she is not expected to survive,- beyond, dawn. But using all her wit and guile, she begins a sequence of stories that will last 1001 nights: stories of jinns and blind men, warriors and princesses, viziers and magical palaces, and wonderful talking birds. This volume also includes the well-known tales of Sindbad the Sailor. Along with this landmark new translation, Robert Irwin's introduction examines the history and provenance of the Nights, the different uses of the works — from ethnographic source to storytelling celebration — and the varied translations through the years. This edition also contains a glossary and maps.

 

 

9780140449402The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 3. New York. 2010. Penguin Books. 9780140449402. Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons with Ursula Lyons. Introduction by Robert Irwin. 855 pages. paperback. . Cover. The Genie Appearing from the Lamp 19th-century miniature from The Tales of The Thousand and One Nights, the University Library, Istanbul.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - When the beautiful Shahrazad gives herself to the bloody-handed King Shahriyar, she is not expected to survive beyond dawn. But using all her wit and guile, she begins a sequence of stories that will last 1001 nights: stories of caliphs and merchants, sultans and dancing girls, robbers and enchanted rings, and fantastical fountains of Youth. This volume also includes the well-known tale of 'Aladdin and the Magic Lamp'. Along with this landmark new translation, Robert Irwin's introduction examines the influence of the Nights on writers through the centuries, in works as diverse as The Canterbury Tales and Jane Eyre, and reflects upon the 'improvements’ many of these writers made to the stories. This edition also contains a glossary and maps.

 

 

 

Malcolm Lyons (co-translator) is a professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge and a widely published scholar of classical Arabic literature. Ursula Lyons (co-translator) is an emeritus fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, specializes in modern Arabic literature. Robert Irwin (editor, introducer) is the author of The Arabian Nights: A Companion as well as numerous other studies of Middle Eastern politics, art and mysticism.

 

 


 

 

 

Irwin, Robert. The Arabian Nights: A Companion. London. 1994. Allen Lane. 0713991054. 344 pages. hardcover. The cover shows an illustration to The Arabian Nights by E. J. Detmold.

 

0713991054FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

The book of The Arabian Nights has become a synonym for the fabulous and the exotic. Every child is familiar with the stories of Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor and Ali Baba. Yet very few people, even specialists in oriental literature, have a clear idea of when the book was written or what exactly it is. Far from being a batch of stories for children, The Arabian Nights contains hundreds of narratives of all kinds — fables, epics, erotica, debates, fairy tales, political allegories, mystical anecdotes and comedies. It is a labyrinth of stories and of stories within stories and of stories within stories within stories. Widely held in contempt in the Middle East for its frivolity and occasional obscenity, the Nights has nevertheless had a major influence on European and American culture, to the extent that the story collection must be considered as a key work in Western literature. A full understanding of the writings of Voltaire, Dickens, Melville, Proust and Borges, or indeed of the origins of science fiction, is impossible without some familiarity with the stories of the Nights. The Arabian Nights: A Companion guides the reader into this labyrinth of storytelling. It traces the development of the stories from prehistoric India and Pharaonic Egypt to modern times. It explores the history of the translation, and explains the ways in which its contents have been added to, plagiarized and imitated. Above all, the Companion uses the stories as a guide to the social history and the counter-culture of the medieval Near East and the world of the storyteller, the snake-charmer, the burglar, the sorcerer, the drug-addict, the treasure hunter and the adulterer.

 

Irwin Robert GrahamRobert Graham Irwin (born 23 August 1946) is a British historian, novelist, and writer on Arabic literature. Irwin read modern history at the University of Oxford, and did graduate research at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) under the supervision of Bernard Lewis. His thesis was on the Mamluk reconquest of the Crusader states, but he failed to complete it. From 1972 he was a lecturer in medieval history at the University of St. Andrews. He gave up academic life in 1977 in order to write fiction, while continuing to lecture part-time at Oxford, Cambridge and SOAS. Irwin is currently a Research Associate at SOAS, and the Middle East editor of The Times Literary Supplement. He has published a history of Orientalism and is an acknowledged expert on The Arabian Nights. Many of Irwin's novels focus on Arabic themes. This includes his first, the acclaimed dark fantasy novel The Arabian Nightmare, which was inspired by Jan Potocki's The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Later novels would focus on diverse subjects, such as British Surrealism (Exquisite Corpse) and Satanism in Swinging London (Satan Wants Me). A character from Satan Wants Me, the Satanist Charlie Felton, has a cameo in the 1969 episode of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic. Alan Moore, the comic's creator, has described Irwin as a 'fantastic writer'. In 2006, Irwin published For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and their Enemies, his critique of Edward Said's Orientalism (1978). Among various points, he maintains that Said focused his attention on the British and French in his critique of Orientalism, while it was German scholars who made the original contributions. He notes that Said linked the academic Orientalism in those countries with imperialist designs on the Middle East, yet, by the 19th and the early 20th centuries, it was more proper to regard Russia as an empire having imperialist designs on the Caucasus region and Central Asia. Irwin maintains that the issue of Russia's actual imperialist designs is avoided by Said. Another of Irwin's key points is that oriental scholarship, or 'Orientalism', 'owes more to Muslim scholarship than most Muslims realise.' Maya Jasanoff in the London Review of Books argued: '...Irwin's factual corrections, however salutary, do not so much knock down the theoretical claims of Orientalism as chip away at single bricks. They also do nothing to discount the fertility of Orientalism for other academics. The most thought-provoking works it has inspired have not blindly accepted Said's propositions, but have expanded and modified them.'

 


 

 

 

Dick, Philip K.. Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities: The Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick. Carbondale. 1984. Southern Illinois University Press. 0809311593. Edited by Patricia S. Warrick and Martin H. Greenberg. 261 pages. hardcover. 

0809311593FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

What humans imagine ends as reality: once conceived, construction is inevitable; constructed, the mechanism will be used; loosed, the forms will metamorphose. What is human? What is a machine? How do they differ? Or do they? Philip K. Dick addresses these questions in these 12 stories of humans and machines and his answers differ with each story. In the fictional world and in the exploring mind of Dick the only certainty is change—but he does provide some guidelines: "To be human, one must maintain his intellectual and spiritual freedom at a" costs. He must refuse obedience to any ideology; he must remain unpredictable, unfettered by patterns and routines." Machines, not humans, are predictable, repetitious, free from error. Often the fictional worlds Dick creates are frightening; no other contemporary writer so consistently creates metaphorical visions of the fears of our atomic age. Typically he presents a post holocaust world of ash and desolation where tattered humans and other forms struggle to survive. All manner of beings tumble from his imagination: humans who behave like machines, robots who think they are human, androids that long for electric pets, doors that talk, suitcases that give psychiatric counseling, taxicabs that chat with their passengers. There are papoola, swibbles, swabbles - an endless parade of mechanical shocks and delights. Living entities are constantly in the process of being turned into things while nonliving entities take on the qualities of living creatures. The editors argue that "Dick can best be described as a prose poet; the power of his fiction comes from his creation of brilliant metaphors that capture the essence of our fears. and anxieties. Like the metaphysical poets whom he admired so much, he often yokes contraries in complex tortured metaphors that seem about to explode. He had mastery of this metaphorical power from the very beginning, as 'Second Variety' demonstrates. Deadly, vicious claws whirr above the gray ash of a destroyed landscape, programmed to seek out and destroy human flesh. These mechanical blades strike terror in the heart. Then across the desolate landscape comes a small boy dragging his teddy bear, and the reader's heart is filled with compassion. Pity and terror are yoked together. But the reader soon discovers his sympathy is misplaced. Appearances are not to be trusted."

 

 

Dick Philip KPhilip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist whose published work is almost entirely in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick's thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS. The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. ‘I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,’ Dick wrote of these stories. ‘In my writing I even question the universe; I wonder out loud if it is real, and I wonder out loud if all of us are real.’ In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

 

Patricia S. Warrick is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Center, Fox Valley. She has written numerous articles and books on the subjects of science fiction and artificial intelligence including The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction.

 

Martin H. Greenberg, Associate Professor in the College of Community Services at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, is a frequent author/editor in the area of popular culture.

 


 

 

 

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Boston. 2014. Beacon Press. 9780807000403. 296 pages. hardcover. Jacket design and photo illustration: Gabi Anderson. Jacket art: Images courtesy of Veer.  

 

9780807000403FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire. With growing support for movements such as the campaign to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the Dakota Access Pipeline protest led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States is an essential resource providing historical threads that are crucial for understanding the present. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.” Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative. An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States is a 2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature.

 

Dunbar Ortiz RoxanneRoxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico. She lives in San Francisco.

 

 


 

 

 

Himes, Chester. Black on Black. Garden City. 1973. Doubleday. 0385025262. 287 pages. hardcover.

 

0385025262FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

Seventeen short stories, five essays and a film scenario. "These writings are admittedly chauvinistic. You will conclude if you read them that black protest and black heterosexuality are my two chief obsessions. And you will be right." -- Himes.

 

 

 

 

Himes ChesterChester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909 - November 12, 1984) was an American writer. His works include If He Hollers Let Him Go and a series of Harlem Detective novels. In 1958 he won France's Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on July 29, 1909. He grew up in a middle-class home in Missouri. When Himes was about 12 years old, his father took a teaching job at Branch Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), and soon a tragedy took place that would profoundly shape Himes's view of race relations. He had misbehaved and his mother made him sit out a gunpowder demonstration that he and his brother, Joseph Jr., were supposed to conduct during a school assembly. Working alone, Joseph mixed the chemicals; they exploded in his face. Rushed to the nearest hospital, the blinded boy was refused treatment. ‘That one moment in my life hurt me as much as all the others put together,’ Himes wrote in The Quality of Hurt. ‘I loved my brother. I had never been separated from him and that moment was shocking, shattering, and terrifying....We pulled into the emergency entrance of a white people's hospital. White clad doctors and attendants appeared. I remember sitting in the back seat with Joe watching the pantomime being enacted in the car's bright lights. A white man was refusing; my father was pleading. Dejectedly my father turned away; he was crying like a baby. My mother was fumbling in her handbag for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.’ Chester's parents were Joseph Sandy Himes and Estelle Bomar Himes; his father was a peripatetic black college professor of industrial trades and his mother was a teacher at Scotia Seminary prior to marriage; the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents' marriage was unhappy and eventually ended in divorce. Himes attended East High School in Cleveland, Ohio. While he was a freshman at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, he was expelled for playing a prank. In late 1928 he was arrested and sentenced to jail and hard labor for 20 to 25 years for armed robbery and sent to Ohio Penitentiary. In prison, he wrote short stories and had them published in national magazines. Himes stated that writing in prison and being published was a way to earn respect from guards and fellow inmates, as well as to avoid violence. His first stories appeared in 1931 in The Bronzeman and, starting in 1934, in Esquire. His story ‘To What Red Hell’ (published in Esquire in 1934) as well as to his novel Cast the First Stone - only much later republished unabridged as Yesterday Will Make You Cry (1998) - dealt with the catastrophic 1930 prison fire Himes witnessed at Ohio Penitentiary in 1930. In 1934 Himes was transferred to London Prison Farm and in April 1936 he was released on parole into his mother's custody. Following his release he worked at part-time jobs and at the same time continued to write. During this period he came in touch with Langston Hughes, who facilitated Himes's contacts with the world of literature and publishing. In 1936 Himes married Jean Johnson. In the 1940s Himes spent time in Los Angeles, working as a screenwriter but also producing two novels, If He Hollers Let Him Go and The Lonely Crusade that charted the experiences of the wave of black in-migrants, drawn by the city's defense industries, and their dealings with the established black community, fellow workers, unions and management. He also provided an analysis of the Zoot Suit Riots for The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP. By the 1950s Himes had decided to settle in France permanently, a country he liked in part due to his popularity in literary circles. In Paris, Himes' was the contemporary of the political cartoonist Oliver Harrington and fellow expatriate writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Gardner Smith. It was in Paris in the late 1950s that Chester met his second wife Lesley Himes, née Packard, when she went to interview him. She was a journalist at the Herald Tribune, where she wrote her own fashion column, ‘Monica’. He described her as ‘Irish-English with blue-gray eyes and very good looking’, he also saw her courage and resilience, Chester said to Lesley, ‘You’re the only true color-blind person I’ve ever met in my life.’ After he suffered a stroke, in 1959, Lesley quit her job and nursed him back to health. She cared for him for the rest of his life, and worked with him as his informal editor, proofreader, confidante and, as the director, Van Peebles dubbed her, ‘his watchdog’. After a long engagement, they were married in 1978. Lesley and Chester faced adversities as a mixed race couple but they prevailed. Theirs was a life lived with an unparallelled passion and great humor. Their circle of political colleagues and creative friends included not only such towering figures as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright; it also included figures such as Malcolm X, Carl Van Vechten, Picasso, Jean Miotte, Ollie Harrington, Nikki Giovanni and Ishmael Reed. Bohemian life in Paris would in turn lead them to the South of France and finally on to Spain, where they lived until Chester’s death in 1984. In 1969 Himes moved to Moraira, Spain, where he died in 1984 from Parkinson's Disease. He is buried at Benissa cemetery.

 


 

 

 

Run Man Run by Chester Himes. New York. 1966. Putnam's. 192 pages.


run man run putnams 1966FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

The author of THE HEAT’S ON and COTTON COMES TO HARLEM offers here one of his most dramatic and suspenseful crime stories. A white plainclothesman with a wicked trigger finger starts the ball rolling, and there is no letup for the reader until the very last page. Walker, one of New York’s not very ‘finest,’ is a perpetually drunk, psychotic, detective, vicious with any man unlucky enough to get in his way at the wrong time. Staggering into a restaurant on a freezing day, he kills two Negro workers ‘because they were there,’ and pursues a third who witnessed the murders, determined to kill him as well. Thus opens Mr. Himes’ latest novel of violence pursuit and suspense and it is a hard-hitting tense story all the way. There is a skillfully developing cat-and-mouse game played out between Walker and his brother-in-law on the Force; there is the fleeing Negro’s affair with a nightclub entertainer; plus brilliant flashes of local color from the seamy New York night scene. Chester Himes delivers savory entertainment for readers who like their reading meat rare and their action highly seasoned. In this novel the reader will find confirmation of the N.Y. Herald Tribune’s comment that ‘Himes is skilled at quick-action prose,’ and the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s observation that he has a ‘tremendous talent for packing a story with wild action.’

 

 

Himes ChesterChester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909 - November 12, 1984) was an American writer. His works include If He Hollers Let Him Go and a series of Harlem Detective novels. In 1958 he won France's Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on July 29, 1909. He grew up in a middle-class home in Missouri. When Himes was about 12 years old, his father took a teaching job at Branch Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), and soon a tragedy took place that would profoundly shape Himes's view of race relations. He had misbehaved and his mother made him sit out a gunpowder demonstration that he and his brother, Joseph Jr., were supposed to conduct during a school assembly. Working alone, Joseph mixed the chemicals; they exploded in his face. Rushed to the nearest hospital, the blinded boy was refused treatment. ‘That one moment in my life hurt me as much as all the others put together,’ Himes wrote in The Quality of Hurt. ‘I loved my brother. I had never been separated from him and that moment was shocking, shattering, and terrifying....We pulled into the emergency entrance of a white people's hospital. White clad doctors and attendants appeared. I remember sitting in the back seat with Joe watching the pantomime being enacted in the car's bright lights. A white man was refusing; my father was pleading. Dejectedly my father turned away; he was crying like a baby. My mother was fumbling in her handbag for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.’ Chester's parents were Joseph Sandy Himes and Estelle Bomar Himes; his father was a peripatetic black college professor of industrial trades and his mother was a teacher at Scotia Seminary prior to marriage; the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents' marriage was unhappy and eventually ended in divorce. Himes attended East High School in Cleveland, Ohio. While he was a freshman at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, he was expelled for playing a prank. In late 1928 he was arrested and sentenced to jail and hard labor for 20 to 25 years for armed robbery and sent to Ohio Penitentiary. In prison, he wrote short stories and had them published in national magazines. Himes stated that writing in prison and being published was a way to earn respect from guards and fellow inmates, as well as to avoid violence. His first stories appeared in 1931 in The Bronzeman and, starting in 1934, in Esquire. His story ‘To What Red Hell’ (published in Esquire in 1934) as well as to his novel Cast the First Stone - only much later republished unabridged as Yesterday Will Make You Cry (1998) - dealt with the catastrophic 1930 prison fire Himes witnessed at Ohio Penitentiary in 1930. In 1934 Himes was transferred to London Prison Farm and in April 1936 he was released on parole into his mother's custody. Following his release he worked at part-time jobs and at the same time continued to write. During this period he came in touch with Langston Hughes, who facilitated Himes's contacts with the world of literature and publishing. In 1936 Himes married Jean Johnson. In the 1940s Himes spent time in Los Angeles, working as a screenwriter but also producing two novels, If He Hollers Let Him Go and The Lonely Crusade that charted the experiences of the wave of black in-migrants, drawn by the city's defense industries, and their dealings with the established black community, fellow workers, unions and management. He also provided an analysis of the Zoot Suit Riots for The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP. By the 1950s Himes had decided to settle in France permanently, a country he liked in part due to his popularity in literary circles. In Paris, Himes' was the contemporary of the political cartoonist Oliver Harrington and fellow expatriate writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Gardner Smith. It was in Paris in the late 1950s that Chester met his second wife Lesley Himes, née Packard, when she went to interview him. She was a journalist at the Herald Tribune, where she wrote her own fashion column, ‘Monica’. He described her as ‘Irish-English with blue-gray eyes and very good looking’, he also saw her courage and resilience, Chester said to Lesley, ‘You’re the only true color-blind person I’ve ever met in my life.’ After he suffered a stroke, in 1959, Lesley quit her job and nursed him back to health. She cared for him for the rest of his life, and worked with him as his informal editor, proofreader, confidante and, as the director, Van Peebles dubbed her, ‘his watchdog’. After a long engagement, they were married in 1978. Lesley and Chester faced adversities as a mixed race couple but they prevailed. Theirs was a life lived with an unparallelled passion and great humor. Their circle of political colleagues and creative friends included not only such towering figures as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright; it also included figures such as Malcolm X, Carl Van Vechten, Picasso, Jean Miotte, Ollie Harrington, Nikki Giovanni and Ishmael Reed. Bohemian life in Paris would in turn lead them to the South of France and finally on to Spain, where they lived until Chester’s death in 1984. In 1969 Himes moved to Moraira, Spain, where he died in 1984 from Parkinson's Disease. He is buried at Benissa cemetery.

 


 

 

 

Himes, Chester. Yesterday Will Make You Cry: A Novel. New York. 1998. Norton. 0393045773. Introduction by Melvin Van Peebles. 363 pages. hardcover.

 

0393045773FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

In 1937 Chester Himes, newly released from a seven-year stretch in the Ohio State Penitentiary for grand larceny, began his first novel, YESTERDAY WILL MAKE YOU CRY. By turns brutal and lyrical and never less than totally honest, it tells the autobiographical story of young Jimmy Monroe’s passage through the prison system, which tests the limits of his sanity, his capacity for suffering, and his definition of love. Stunningly candid about racism, homosexuality, and prison corruption, the book would take sixteen years and four subsequent revisions before being published in a much-altered form as CAST THE FIRST STONE in 1953. Even bowdlerized, it was recognized as a sardonic masterpiece of debasement and transfiguration. This edition, the first hardcover publication in Norton’s Old School Books series, presents for the first time the book precisely as Himes intended it to be read, with its raw honesty and startling compassion entirely intact.

 

 

 

 

The original extensively edited edition from 1952:

 

cast the first stone coward mccann 1952Himes, Chester. Cast the First Stone. New York. 1952. Coward-McCann. 346 pages. hardcover.


FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

Jim looks between the cold-gray bars of his cell seeing the red sun flashing through the naked branches of a distant tree. It is all that he can see of the outside from the small cell he shares with three others who, like himself, are going to spend many years in a single room. A prisoner knows upon his first arrival in prison that he is losing time. Time is the one thing that can never be replaced; the element that can never be compensated for by any little victories lurking in the imagination. He knows, or thinks that he knows, that his prison is a place where normal men of normal appetites and desires are shut off from their natural yearnings as a punishment for attacks on a cruel, uninterested society. He thinks that he will be a normal man shut off from intercourse with normal human beings. It is here that he is wrong. For it will be only after time - something quite different in prison than out - has passed that he slowly awakens to the fact that he is not simply a man locked up. Prison is not only keeping him from contact with his fellow humans; it is making him into something else. A man - if a prisoner can be called a man - who thinks, feels, and loves differently from other men. Jim Munroe is the prisoner in CAST THE FIRST STONE. In prison for twenty years, he tells his own story in this powerful novel - a novel that is big, brutal, and vicious, startlingly revealing, and, best of all perhaps, enormously compassionate. Jim Munroe shows you how a prisoner faces years, years to think, to live, to suffer, to yearn, to strive for what he considers good. Mostly good is outside of the walls, for inside are only the dreams that germinate in the dark corners of his mind - dreams that come to a fulfillment that is even worse than frustration. In 1937 Chester Himes, newly released from a seven-year stretch in the Ohio State Penitentiary for grand larceny, began his first novel, CAST THE FIRST STONE. By turns brutal and lyrical and never less than totally honest, it tells the autobiographical story of young Jimmy Monroe’s passage through the prison system, which tests the limits of his sanity, his capacity for suffering, and his definition of love. Stunningly candid about racism, homosexuality, and prison corruption, the book would take sixteen years and four subsequent revisions before being published in a much-altered form in 1953. Even bowdlerized, it was recognized as a sardonic masterpiece of debasement and transfiguration. This book was later published as YESTERDAY WILL MAKE YOU CRY by Norton in their Old School Books series, presented for the first time the book precisely as Himes intended it to be read, with its raw honesty and startling compassion entirely intact.

 

The Signet paperback edition:

Cast The First Stone by Chester Himes. New York. 1972. Signet/New American Library. 303 pages. January 1972. Y4882. paperback. 

signet cast the first stone y4882FROM THE PUBLISHER -   

A GREAT NOVEL THAT RIPS ASIDE THE BARRED DOORS OF PRISON LIFE. James Monroe was young and educated. He stood before the judge and tried to look humble and heard himself sentenced to twenty years in prison. Here is Chester Himes’s great novel of prison life. It is a story both of brutal debasement and of the slow growth of maturity and compassion. It is a vivid re-creation of a perverse society with its own rules, its own taboos, its own virtues and grotesque vices. And strangely enough, it is also a love story - a love between two men. ‘Accurate and intense. . . as good as IF HE HOLLERS LET HIM GO.’ - Saturday Review. ‘A nightmarish picture, illuminated by flashes of sardonic humor. . . . I’ve never read anything like it.’ - Saturday Review.

 

 

 


Himes ChesterChester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909 - November 12, 1984) was an American writer. His works include If He Hollers Let Him Go and a series of Harlem Detective novels. In 1958 he won France's Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on July 29, 1909. He grew up in a middle-class home in Missouri. When Himes was about 12 years old, his father took a teaching job at Branch Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), and soon a tragedy took place that would profoundly shape Himes's view of race relations. He had misbehaved and his mother made him sit out a gunpowder demonstration that he and his brother, Joseph Jr., were supposed to conduct during a school assembly. Working alone, Joseph mixed the chemicals; they exploded in his face. Rushed to the nearest hospital, the blinded boy was refused treatment. ‘That one moment in my life hurt me as much as all the others put together,’ Himes wrote in The Quality of Hurt. ‘I loved my brother. I had never been separated from him and that moment was shocking, shattering, and terrifying....We pulled into the emergency entrance of a white people's hospital. White clad doctors and attendants appeared. I remember sitting in the back seat with Joe watching the pantomime being enacted in the car's bright lights. A white man was refusing; my father was pleading. Dejectedly my father turned away; he was crying like a baby. My mother was fumbling in her handbag for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.’ Chester's parents were Joseph Sandy Himes and Estelle Bomar Himes; his father was a peripatetic black college professor of industrial trades and his mother was a teacher at Scotia Seminary prior to marriage; the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents' marriage was unhappy and eventually ended in divorce. Himes attended East High School in Cleveland, Ohio. While he was a freshman at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, he was expelled for playing a prank. In late 1928 he was arrested and sentenced to jail and hard labor for 20 to 25 years for armed robbery and sent to Ohio Penitentiary. In prison, he wrote short stories and had them published in national magazines. Himes stated that writing in prison and being published was a way to earn respect from guards and fellow inmates, as well as to avoid violence. His first stories appeared in 1931 in The Bronzeman and, starting in 1934, in Esquire. His story ‘To What Red Hell’ (published in Esquire in 1934) as well as to his novel Cast the First Stone - only much later republished unabridged as Yesterday Will Make You Cry (1998) - dealt with the catastrophic 1930 prison fire Himes witnessed at Ohio Penitentiary in 1930. In 1934 Himes was transferred to London Prison Farm and in April 1936 he was released on parole into his mother's custody. Following his release he worked at part-time jobs and at the same time continued to write. During this period he came in touch with Langston Hughes, who facilitated Himes's contacts with the world of literature and publishing. In 1936 Himes married Jean Johnson. In the 1940s Himes spent time in Los Angeles, working as a screenwriter but also producing two novels, If He Hollers Let Him Go and The Lonely Crusade that charted the experiences of the wave of black in-migrants, drawn by the city's defense industries, and their dealings with the established black community, fellow workers, unions and management. He also provided an analysis of the Zoot Suit Riots for The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP. By the 1950s Himes had decided to settle in France permanently, a country he liked in part due to his popularity in literary circles. In Paris, Himes' was the contemporary of the political cartoonist Oliver Harrington and fellow expatriate writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Gardner Smith. It was in Paris in the late 1950s that Chester met his second wife Lesley Himes, née Packard, when she went to interview him. She was a journalist at the Herald Tribune, where she wrote her own fashion column, ‘Monica’. He described her as ‘Irish-English with blue-gray eyes and very good looking’, he also saw her courage and resilience, Chester said to Lesley, ‘You’re the only true color-blind person I’ve ever met in my life.’ After he suffered a stroke, in 1959, Lesley quit her job and nursed him back to health. She cared for him for the rest of his life, and worked with him as his informal editor, proofreader, confidante and, as the director, Van Peebles dubbed her, ‘his watchdog’. After a long engagement, they were married in 1978. Lesley and Chester faced adversities as a mixed race couple but they prevailed. Theirs was a life lived with an unparallelled passion and great humor. Their circle of political colleagues and creative friends included not only such towering figures as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright; it also included figures such as Malcolm X, Carl Van Vechten, Picasso, Jean Miotte, Ollie Harrington, Nikki Giovanni and Ishmael Reed. Bohemian life in Paris would in turn lead them to the South of France and finally on to Spain, where they lived until Chester’s death in 1984. In 1969 Himes moved to Moraira, Spain, where he died in 1984 from Parkinson's Disease. He is buried at Benissa cemetery.

 

 


 

 

 

Himes, Chester. My Life of Absurdity: The Autobiography of Chester Himes Volume II. Garden City. 1976. Doubleday. 0385089090. 398 pages. hardcover. Jacket photo by Claire Lachance. Jacket typography by Douglas Bergstreser.  

 

0385089090FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

CHESTER HIMES has been hailed as ‘one of the most important black writers since Richard Wright. He has written eighteen novels, and scores of short stories and essays. . . . He was an advocate of black revolution in the 1940s, who wrote angry social criticism about his rejection of and by America: IF HE HOLLERS LET HIM GO and LONELY CRUSADE. . . . But he’s probably best known as the creator of two uninhibited Harlem detectives named Coffin Ed Smith and Gravedigger Jones — recently featured in the films based on his stories Cotton Comes to Harlem and Come Back, Charleston Blue. Here, in the long-awaited second volume of his autobiography, Chester Himes deals with the time span for which he became internationally known as a writer. Moving to Paris in the early ‘50s, Himes developed from an eloquent ‘protest’ writer into an outstanding novelist, and in a broader sense, from an influential ‘black writer’ into an important figure on the international literary scene. ‘No American ever lived a life as absurd as mine,’ Chester Himes points out. And My LIFE OF ABSURDITY is the story of a life lived as only Himes could have lived it and described it: just on the outside edge of reality, about three steps short of fantasy, and three generations out of slavery. Here is a literary adventure that takes the reader to the heart of Paris expatriate cafe society in the early ‘50s and into the writing of eighteen books and novels, and offers fascinating glimpses of lovers, three continents, and others also making their way as writers: Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin. . . . ‘I am proud to have had a forerunner like Chester Himes,’ wrote Julius Lester in The New York Times Book Review. ‘I am humbled by the courage he has exemplified. Now the task is to be worthy of him.’

 

 

Himes ChesterChester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909 - November 12, 1984) was an American writer. His works include If He Hollers Let Him Go and a series of Harlem Detective novels. In 1958 he won France's Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, on July 29, 1909. He grew up in a middle-class home in Missouri. When Himes was about 12 years old, his father took a teaching job at Branch Normal College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), and soon a tragedy took place that would profoundly shape Himes's view of race relations. He had misbehaved and his mother made him sit out a gunpowder demonstration that he and his brother, Joseph Jr., were supposed to conduct during a school assembly. Working alone, Joseph mixed the chemicals; they exploded in his face. Rushed to the nearest hospital, the blinded boy was refused treatment. ‘That one moment in my life hurt me as much as all the others put together,’ Himes wrote in The Quality of Hurt. ‘I loved my brother. I had never been separated from him and that moment was shocking, shattering, and terrifying....We pulled into the emergency entrance of a white people's hospital. White clad doctors and attendants appeared. I remember sitting in the back seat with Joe watching the pantomime being enacted in the car's bright lights. A white man was refusing; my father was pleading. Dejectedly my father turned away; he was crying like a baby. My mother was fumbling in her handbag for a handkerchief; I hoped it was for a pistol.’ Chester's parents were Joseph Sandy Himes and Estelle Bomar Himes; his father was a peripatetic black college professor of industrial trades and his mother was a teacher at Scotia Seminary prior to marriage; the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. His parents' marriage was unhappy and eventually ended in divorce. Himes attended East High School in Cleveland, Ohio. While he was a freshman at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, he was expelled for playing a prank. In late 1928 he was arrested and sentenced to jail and hard labor for 20 to 25 years for armed robbery and sent to Ohio Penitentiary. In prison, he wrote short stories and had them published in national magazines. Himes stated that writing in prison and being published was a way to earn respect from guards and fellow inmates, as well as to avoid violence. His first stories appeared in 1931 in The Bronzeman and, starting in 1934, in Esquire. His story ‘To What Red Hell’ (published in Esquire in 1934) as well as to his novel Cast the First Stone - only much later republished unabridged as Yesterday Will Make You Cry (1998) - dealt with the catastrophic 1930 prison fire Himes witnessed at Ohio Penitentiary in 1930. In 1934 Himes was transferred to London Prison Farm and in April 1936 he was released on parole into his mother's custody. Following his release he worked at part-time jobs and at the same time continued to write. During this period he came in touch with Langston Hughes, who facilitated Himes's contacts with the world of literature and publishing. In 1936 Himes married Jean Johnson. In the 1940s Himes spent time in Los Angeles, working as a screenwriter but also producing two novels, If He Hollers Let Him Go and The Lonely Crusade that charted the experiences of the wave of black in-migrants, drawn by the city's defense industries, and their dealings with the established black community, fellow workers, unions and management. He also provided an analysis of the Zoot Suit Riots for The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP. By the 1950s Himes had decided to settle in France permanently, a country he liked in part due to his popularity in literary circles. In Paris, Himes' was the contemporary of the political cartoonist Oliver Harrington and fellow expatriate writers Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and William Gardner Smith. It was in Paris in the late 1950s that Chester met his second wife Lesley Himes, née Packard, when she went to interview him. She was a journalist at the Herald Tribune, where she wrote her own fashion column, ‘Monica’. He described her as ‘Irish-English with blue-gray eyes and very good looking’, he also saw her courage and resilience, Chester said to Lesley, ‘You’re the only true color-blind person I’ve ever met in my life.’ After he suffered a stroke, in 1959, Lesley quit her job and nursed him back to health. She cared for him for the rest of his life, and worked with him as his informal editor, proofreader, confidante and, as the director, Van Peebles dubbed her, ‘his watchdog’. After a long engagement, they were married in 1978. Lesley and Chester faced adversities as a mixed race couple but they prevailed. Theirs was a life lived with an unparallelled passion and great humor. Their circle of political colleagues and creative friends included not only such towering figures as Langston Hughes and Richard Wright; it also included figures such as Malcolm X, Carl Van Vechten, Picasso, Jean Miotte, Ollie Harrington, Nikki Giovanni and Ishmael Reed. Bohemian life in Paris would in turn lead them to the South of France and finally on to Spain, where they lived until Chester’s death in 1984. In 1969 Himes moved to Moraira, Spain, where he died in 1984 from Parkinson's Disease. He is buried at Benissa cemetery.


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