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Busted in New York and Other Essays

Busted in New York and Other Essays

Darryl Pinckney; Foreword by Zadie Smith

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A collection of essays that blend the personal and the social, from the celebrated literary critic and novelist

In these twenty-five essays, Darryl Pinckney has given us a view of our recent racial history that blends the social and the personal and wonders how we arrived at our current moment. Pinckney reminds us that “white supremacy isn’t back; it never went away.” It is this impulse to see historically that is at the core of Busted in New York and Other Essays, which traces the lineage of black intellectual history from Booker T. Washington through the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panther Party and the turbulent sixties, to today’s Afro-pessimists, and celebrated and neglected thinkers in between.

These are capacious essays whose topics range from the grassroots of protest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the eighteenth-century Guadeloupian composer Joseph Bologne, from an unsparing portrait of Louis Farrakhan to the enduring legacy of James Baldwin, the unexpected story of black people experiencing Russia, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, and the painter Kara Walker. The essays themselves are a kind of record, many of them written in real-time, as Pinckney witnesses the Million Man March, feels and experiences the highs and lows of Obama’s first presidential campaign, explores the literary black diaspora, and reflects on the surprising and severe lesson he learned firsthand about the changing urban fabric of New York.

As Zadie Smith writes in her introduction to the book: “How lu… More…

A collection of essays that blend the personal and the social, from the celebrated literary critic and novelist

In these twenty-five essays, Darryl Pinckney has given us a view of our recent racial history that blends the social and the personal and wonders how we arrived at our current moment. Pinckney reminds us that “white supremacy isn’t back; it never went away.” It is this impulse to see historically that is at the core of Busted in New York and Other Essays, which traces the lineage of black intellectual history from Booker T. Washington through the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panther Party and the turbulent sixties, to today’s Afro-pessimists, and celebrated and neglected thinkers in between.

These are capacious essays whose topics range from the grassroots of protest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the eighteenth-century Guadeloupian composer Joseph Bologne, from an unsparing portrait of Louis Farrakhan to the enduring legacy of James Baldwin, the unexpected story of black people experiencing Russia, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, and the painter Kara Walker. The essays themselves are a kind of record, many of them written in real-time, as Pinckney witnesses the Million Man March, feels and experiences the highs and lows of Obama’s first presidential campaign, explores the literary black diaspora, and reflects on the surprising and severe lesson he learned firsthand about the changing urban fabric of New York.

As Zadie Smith writes in her introduction to the book: “How lucky we are to have Darryl Pinckney who, without rancor, without insult, has, all these years, been taking down our various songs, examining them with love and care, and bringing them back from the past, like a Sankofa bird, for our present examination. These days Sankofas like Darryl are rare. Treasure him!”

Less…

SLOUCHING TOWARD WASHINGTON


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People, black and white, say that the throngs of upstanding black men at the Million Man March showed a picture of the Black Man different from what the nation is accustomed to. Because...

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Darryl Pinckney; Foreword by Zadie Smith

Darryl Pinckney, a longtime contributor to The New York Review of Books, is the author of the novel, High Cotton (winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and the works of nonfiction, Blackballed: The Black Vote and U.S. Democracy and Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature. He is a recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for Distinguished Prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York.

image of Darryl Pinckneyo
Copyright Dominique Nabokov

Darryl Pinckney

Read Darryl Pinckney at the New York Review of Books

Meet the Author

November 18, 2019

Award-winning author and literary critic Darryl Pinckney (High Cotton, Blackballed) discusses some of the personal and social themes explored in his essay collection Busted in New York.

READ THE FULL EXCERPT →

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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