Four Hundred Souls – Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain

A big thank you to One World Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review

FOUR HUNDRED SOULS: A COMMUNITY HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICA, 1619 – 2019 – Ibram X. Kendi (Released February 2nd, 2021)

Book Description:

An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America’s leading Black writers.

Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower.

In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty.

Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America’s narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more.

Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.

My Thoughts: 5/5 stars

I’ve been reading this book throughout the month in between my other reads and I’m so happy that I got to really prolong the time I had with it. Ninety authors, 5 years each, numerous writing styles, and SO much history. Not only did I get a huge history lesson as I read this, but I also have discovered a ton of authors that are new to me. I loved the wide range of writing styles – fiction, poetry, essays, short stories, testimonies, and others. I thought this might be jarring to jump between the different genres and styles, but I think it helped immensely in giving each writer their own voice as they talked about their five year period. While it may look like an intimidating book to pick up, I highly recommend giving this a read. I’ve heard great things already about the audiobook version as well if that’s what you prefer! Four hundred years, 1619 – 2019, of stories, experiences, history, calls to justice, and more await for you inside these pages.

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