The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true hi

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack, and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free. Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets.

The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction. With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his fathers generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.
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    Aubrey

    4.5/5

    He went back to Baldwin, who posed the great paradox that would haunt him to the end: Who among us would integrate into a burning house?

    Where I come from, the white public has an extraordinary penchant for stealing the movement, language, all the etcs of a people you could ever imagine, from the black public. A word will come into a circle of white friends to use and lose and abuse, a segment of communication dehumanized as “slang” that will never be whole so long as it is spoken by those

    He went back to Baldwin, who posed the great paradox that would haunt him to the end: Who among us would integrate into a burning house?

    Where I come from, the white public has an extraordinary penchant for stealing the movement, language, all the etcs of a people you could ever imagine, from the black public. A word will come into a circle of white friends to use and lose and abuse, a segment of communication dehumanized as “slang” that will never be whole so long as it is spoken by those who aren’t black. White pop stars want the dreadlocks and the body type and the lips and voice and skin, but god forbid they risk said oranged up skin in the ongoing political mutilation that is misogynoir. This book’s going on a decade old and filled to the brim with what Buzzfeed and co. like to take and bleach and present to the majority white audience as brand spanking new, never before seen cool and hip and catchy except, of course, in the communities you’re stealing it from. The communities you pressure cook just enough to hold them tight and suck up what squeezes out.

    She knew that I had no idea how close I was, would always be, to the edge, how easily boys like me were erased in absurd, impractical ways.”

    Where I come from, it took me two decades and counting to recognize the mainstream as poison and the law as propaganda. The simple fact of the matter is, when you’re not target practice from day one, it’s a lot easier to devote your learning curve to the exigencies of upper middle class ideologies and render social justice a hobby. A fad. You take the deadbeat black fathers in stride without looking at the deadbeat white fathers who keep killing them. You don’t contest the concept of the angry black woman or the sizeable presence of white supremacists in US first wave feminism. When you have that as a possible existence, your values will be different, your instincts will be different, hell, you’ll have an easier time understanding the emotive motivations of dead people from across the ocean than those of the living right next door.

    Among the Conscious, a man is only worth his latest reading. Each page pulled you farther out of slumber, and among the most enlightened it was not uncommon to hear an entire conversation composed of footnotes.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is a reader. It shows as much in the books he references as the diction he spools, one word in ten of minimal familiarity yet intriguing engagement, the breed of mix usually evoked by aged literature or contemporary in translation. The Hobbit style map of Old Baltimore is a good indication of what is to come: a daydreamer fed on bloodshed both fantastical and not, where honor could very well be the talk of Tybalt and Mercutio had both come from a background that reeks of systematic enslavement and more than a little genocide. This is not a life that takes anything for granted: not Christian morals, not familial structure, not members of a community that have survived to the age of eighteen and beyond. This is not an education that’ll get you that A or that pass or that four point oh, which makes the achievement of such standardized bullshit of credentials that much more profound.

    All the truly living, at least once, are born again.

    I still don’t feel the need to pick up Between the World and Me anytime soon, but that’s alright. Coates is good, but I already got his less modern kind in Native Son, and a 21st century account of anti-blackness in the US that doesn’t touch on black women issues or black LGBT issues or black mental illness issues to a serious extent can only go so far. The public’s reception of him still gives me hope, though. Memoirs outside the white straight and narrow are always a gift.
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    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Everyone knows Ta-Nehisi Coates from his more recent Between the World and Me. When I knew I’d be going to Baltimore for the first time, I went looking for books that were more than just crime novels (there are a lot of them set in Baltimore, thanks, The Wire.) This story of growing up in West Baltimore was a great choice.

    Ta-Nehisi was born in 1975 and spent his childhood in West Baltimore. His father was an integral part in his upbringing, although not always present (Ta-Nehisi has six sibling

    Ta-Nehisi was born in 1975 and spent his childhood in West Baltimore. His father was an integral part in his upbringing, although not always present (Ta-Nehisi has six siblings with four different mothers!.) His father was involved in the Black Panther Party, and later would become a publisher of texts supporting that party and other topics surrounding black liberation (referred to throughout this text as Knowledge with a capital K.) Coates often writes about his brother “Big Bill” as somewhat of a contrast to his own path and decisions, since Bill dipped closer into more dangerous situations.

    “The greater world was obsessed over challenger… But we were another country, fraying at the seams.”

    Most of Coates’ challenges were navigating the violence of his neighborhood while also being smarter than his schooling (he would often get bored and simply not do the work.) He is three years older than me but he describes competing in the Olympics of the Mind, so I like to think of us on opposite sides of the country, practicing for those games. Between the World and Me talks about his Howard University (“Mecca”) years, but this book shows how amazing it is that he even got in.

    The story is interesting, of course. But the thing that makes this a five-star read for me is the writing. Coates writes so that every word counts. Every shift in topic is vibrant in the language he uses to describe it, and several scenes are still clearly in my mind. He is so talented and I will probably buy this to reread.

    I’ll read an excerpt on an upcoming episode of Reading Envy, but in the meantime there is a decent excerpt on NPR.
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    Meghan

    It’s not Between the World and Me, but it’s fucking gorgeous nonetheless.

    I grew up a pastor’s/missionaries’ kid in:
    -a logging town
    -the former Soviet Union
    -a potato and asparagus farming town

    in that order. In other words, I’m white AF y’all. So I had to google a lot of Coates’ references to get the full context. It was super educational. But the writing!! The writing is as usual perfect and brilliant. Coates is one of my favorite living authors.