Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America - Eugene Robinson

*Please note: The cover for this book has this teaser underneath the author's name "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize" - yes the author is a winner of this award, but not for this particular book (it was awarded due to his work for The Washington Post and MSNBC). Just want to clarify.

 

Gwen Ifill, one of the anchor's of PBS's news program(s), summed up this book nicely with her back cover blurb:

 

...Eugene Robinson neatly explodes decades' worth of lazy generalizations about race in America. At the same time, he raises new questions about community, invisibility, and the virtues and drawbacks of assimilation. An important book.

 

After finishing reading this book, I definitely agree with Ifill. I do admit to some bias towards Mr. Robinson and his commentary, as I often (but not always) agreed with him when he appeared on Keith Obermann's news program Countdown (man, I miss that show - entertaining and enlightening). This bias led me to pick this book up.

 

Robinson breaks down his big ideas with studies, statistics that go beyond headline-grabbing numbers (actual analysis - YAY!), and personal experiences. His writing is very conversational, which made the book hard to put down (I ended up spending more time on the cardio machines at the gym because I didn't want to put the book down until the end of the chapter). What you won't find is snark or condescension for the reader or the subject matter. This was written in order to inform and provoke interesting conversations, not to be a viral sensation. It may seem like a quieter book than others on the same subject(s), but for me that makes the book work all the more. 

 

However, Robinson is not afraid to put forth some solutions that would take a lot of financial and political capital, that could be seen as controversial. But he explains his arguments with facts and logic; he also acknowledges that his solutions are not going to be easy.

 

One part that I did not agree with Robinson was his support for "education reformer" (quotes intended) Michelle Rhee. That was about all of one or two sentences in the entire book, but I intensely do not like Rhee or her work, so it stood out to me.

 

Overall, 5 stars.

 

P.S. - sorry to my international followers who had to read this review and have no idea of the American media references found here.