"Jesmyn Ward left her Gulf Coast home for education and experience, but it called her back. It called on her in most painful ways, to mourn. In Men We Reaped, Jesmyn unburies her dead, that they may live again. And through this emotional excavation, she forces us to see the problems of place and race that led these men to their early graves. Full of beauty, love, and dignity, Men We Reaped is a haunting and essential read." –Natasha Trethewey, US Poet Laureate, author of Thrall and Native Guard, winner of the Pulitzer Prize "Jesmyn Ward is simply sui generis. I am reminded of Miles Davis’ quote: ‘Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there,’ after reading her memoir, Men We Reaped. This is one mighty virtuosic, bluesy hymn. Beautiful." –Oscar Hijuelos, author of Thoughts without Cigarettes "Jesmyn Ward is an alchemist. She transmutes pain and loss into gold. Men We Reaped illustrates hardships but thankfully, vitally, it's just as clear about the humor, the intelligence, the tenderness, the brilliance of the folks in DeLisle, Mississippi. A community that’s usually wiped off the literary map can’t be erased when it’s in a book this good." —Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver "Men We Reaped is a fiercely felt meditation on the value of life that at once reminds us of its infinite worth and indicts us—as a society—for our selective, casual complicity in devaluing it. Ward’s account of these losses is founded in a compelling emotional honesty, and graced with moments of stark poetry."—Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl "Jesmyn Ward's memoir is a miracle. In it, she writes with such clarity and beauty that her discoveries and revelations could very well change the way her readers understand the world. She also makes the unbearable nearly bearable with her poetic prose and her life-affirming passion. This is fierce, brave exploration, but it is also—timeless, universal, and unrelentingly inspired." —Laura Kasischke, author of The Raising "Jesmyn Ward returns to the world of her first two books, but here in the mode of non-fiction. A clear-eyed witness to the harrowing stories of ‘men we reaped,’ she quickens the dead and brings them, vividly alive again. An eloquent, grief-steeped account." --Nicholas Delbanco, author of Lastingness: The Art of Old Age "An assured yet scarifying memoir by young, supremely gifted novelist [Jesmyn] Ward . . . With more gumption than many, Ward battled not only the indifferent odds of rural poverty, but also the endless racism of her classmates...A modern rejoinder to Black Like Me, Beloved and other stories of struggle and redemption - beautifully written, if sometimes too sad to bear."—Kirkus Reviews
Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. She received her MFA from the Univ. of Michigan and has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the Univ. of Mississippi. She is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at the Univ. of South Alabama. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, for which she won the 2011 National Book Award, and was a finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, as well as a nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.