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Going Too Far
Going Too Far

Going Too Far

Essays About America's Nervous Breakdown


240 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, EPUB, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $19.95)

Publication Date: September 2012

ISBN 9781926824567

Rights: WOR X CA

Baraka Books (Sep 2012)


eBook Editions Available

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Challenging a prevailing attitude, this account disputes the idea that racism is no longer a factor in American life. Based on cultural and literary evidence—including Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn—it argues that, in some ways, the United States very much resembles the country of the 1850s. Not only are the representations of blacks in popular culture throwbacks to the days of minstrelsy, but politicians are also raising stereotypes reminiscent of those which fugitive slaves found it necessary to combat: that African Americans are lazy, dependent, and in need of management. Bold and direct, this book brings an important debate to the surface.


"In the past 40 years, Reed has published more than 20 books and has also made his mark as an editor, publisher, critic, journalist, songwriter, librettist, and fearsome letter-to-the-editor writer. . . . Reed is among the most American of American writers, if by 'American' we mean a quality defined by its indefinability and its perpetual transformations as new ideas, influences and traditions enter our cultural conversation."  —New York Times

"Just when you think that Reed is exaggerating or being one-dimensional in his analysis of racial issues, he'll open another page of American history and show you something new."  —David Homel, Rover Arts

"There is brutal candor in Reed's argument, which often feels refreshing in light of the euphemisms and platitudes typically expressed in both polite discourse and the media's self-scrutiny. . . . Whether or not one agrees with Reed, one can only be entertained by his gleeful barbs and edgy turns-of-phrase. He names names and shames with derision."  —Caroline Brown, English professor, Université de Montréal for Montreal Review of Books

"Reed's writing is incisive and astute, impassioned and amusing. He fully researches his topics and makes a decisive stand based on the facts, as he sees it. Whether you agree with him or not, you at least get to explore a different viewpoint."  —Gabrielle David, Phati'tude Literary Magazine

"Reed comes across as someone who would make an enthralling conversationalist. . . . Reed is not only a good interviewee, but also a good interviewer, a skill especially evident when he asks the actor Lou Gossett Jr. about the racial obstacles he has faced during his illustrious career." —Jean Coléno, professor of humanities, Dawson College for Montreal Review of Books

"Reed is a pre-future sage. . . . His fiction, poems, plays, and recordings are a moral looking glass for envisioning what we might be. His nonfiction, however, is at once testimony and indictment of what we are." —Jerry Ward, professor of English and African-American world studies, Dillard University

"Wonderful. . . . Bravo!" —Robert Wilson, Pulitzer Prize winner for the CIVIL warS

Author Biography

Ishmael Reed is an essayist, a novelist, a poet, and a playwright, having won prizes in all categories. He is the author of Airing Dirty Laundry, Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media, and Juice, and a former professor at the University of California–Berkeley as well as at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth. He lives in Oakland, California.