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W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race.

Before he turned thirty, near the end of the Nineteenth Century, Harvard alumnus W.E.B. Du Bois had already served notice on Booker T. Washington and a host of white scholars and politicians that his was a voice to be reckoned with. But no one, including Du Bois himself, could have imagined that his career as a social activist and scholar would span more than sixty years. The granitic New Englander was destined to be not only the foremost black intellectual of his time, but also one of America's great thinkers and doers through the decades between the birth of the NAACP and the death of Jim Crow.

Rutgers University historian David Levering Lewis (an intellectual star in his own right, thanks to four previous books of superior quality, one of them a sparkling portrait of the Harlem Renaissance), shows himself to be altogether equal to the task of riding the great man's comet. This first of two volumes on Du Bois won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for biography, and the paperback is due out in November. Lewis is a thorough and careful researcher with a sharp eye for significant detail. What's more, he has a gift for organizing a vast amount of material and presenting it in a readable and engaging style. History is never better--more enlightening, satisfying, inspiring--than when it flows from the mind and hand of a writer like Lewis. Du Bois is finally getting his due.
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Author:Egerton, John
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1994
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