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Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Assata: An Autobiography

Assata: An Autobiography

Author: Assata Shakur
Genre:  Autobiography
Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books
Release Date:  November 1, 2001
Paperback: 320 pages

Source:  Purchased at EsoWon Bookstore
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Description
This black activist's memoir is like a freeze frame of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though the polemical rhetoric is dated, the book is an otherwise compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman. Born Joanne Chesimard, she took an African name to confirm her commitment to black liberation, joined militant organizations, and was ultimately convicted of the murder of a New Jersey highway patrol officer in 1977. Her descriptions of life in prison and the vagaries of the court system are especially wrenching. Living now in Cuba as an escaped felon, she continues her Utopian plea for revolution. Recommended for large libraries and specialists. Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind. 
This book was an eye opener for me.  I had no idea who Assata Shakur was before this book.  I have heard about Angela Davis and other members of the Black Panther Party as well as the parties contributions to the communities they organized.  But this was my first time hearing of her and I am so glad I read this book.  
In the beginning of this book it took me a few minutes to get used to her writing style.  Lower case "i" and lower cases for names and places she would never give the honor of upper casing the first letter.  But once I got passed that I really enjoyed this book and all the lessons it held.  Not just political lessons for which there were many, but history and life lessons as well.  
There were a few parts in the book that were very preachy and left the reading thinking..."What was this chapter about again?"  Her preachy parts are excellent and make a lot of sense, but I feel like they should be in the Afterwards or somewhere else.  Not in the mist of telling us a story.  
I would have loved to find out how she escaped prison and ended up in Cuba but I completely understand why she would not include that in the book.
In my opinion, this book should be on the required reading list for high school students to help them understand the history of the Black Panther Party as well as giving them more to the Civil Rights struggle than Martin Luther King.  
Amazing woman and a good book!
I would recommend this book to high school students and older due to the language.
This book is number 10 in my 2012 Good Reads Challenge
This book is number 4 in my POC Reading Challenge 
Mocha Girls Read Book of the Month
Did you read this book?  What did you think of it? 

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