Busted in New York and Other Essays

Farrar. Nov. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9780374117443. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780374717148. SOC SCI
This beautifully written collection of essays by fiction and nonfiction writer Pinckney, longtime contributor to the New York Review of Books, covers a wide range of topics while still creating a cohesive, thoughtful experience for readers. He reflects on experiences, struggles, and accomplishments of black Americans today and historically, exploring the many complex ways people have been impacted by and have responded to racism. Many essays, including the one that inspired the book’s title, are deeply personal and explore the author’s own family, travel, education, and growth. Others offer a history of the civil rights movement; an analysis of movies, books, and music created by black artists; and reflections on recent events including the election of President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement. Familiar subjects are presented in ways that compel readers to examine them with fresh perspective. Though the subject matter is vast, the author’s voice is consistently engaging throughout.
VERDICT The wide-ranging scope of this excellent book, with a foreword by Zadie Smith, will appeal to a broad audience. Anyone with a desire to reflect on the role that racism plays in shaping individual lives and broader American culture will undoubtedly find this to be a valuable read.

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