A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib audiobook

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance

By Hanif Abdurraqib
Read by JD Jackson

Random House Audio
9.65 Hours 1
Format : Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780593156032

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A stirring meditation on Black performance in America from the New York Times bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. “I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too,” she told the crowd. Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance. Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians he loves. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space—from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice of the Week

A stirring meditation on Black performance in America from the New York Times bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain

At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. “I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too,” she told the crowd.

Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance.

Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians he loves. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent.

Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space—from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Social criticism, pop culture, and autobiography come together neatly in these pages, and every sentence is sharp, provocative, and self-aware.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In this staggeringly intimate meditation…his prose is reliably razor-sharp. Filled with nuance and lyricism, Abdurraqib’s luminous survey is stunning.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Examines the feeling of invisibility that haunts so many Black Americans…[with] thoughtful meditations on how Black lives matter in all areas of life and art.” Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Hanif Abdurraqib

Author Bio: Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, author, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His essays and music criticism have been published in the New Yorker and the New York Times. His first full-length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us until They Kill Us, was named a book of the year by BuzzFeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, the Chicago Tribune, and others.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/Social Science
Runtime: 9.65
Audience: Adult
Language: English