London in the nineteenth century was the greatest city mankind had ever seen. Its growth was stupendous. Its wealth was dazzling. Its horrors shocked the world. This was the London of Blake, Thackeray and Mayhew, of Nash, Faraday and Disraeli. Most of all it was the London of Dickens. As William Blake put it, London was 'a Human awful wonder of God'.
In Jerry White's dazzling history we witness the city's unparalleled metamorphosis over the course of the century through the daily lives of its inhabitants. We see how Londoners worked, played, and adapted to the demands of the metropolis during this century of dizzying change. The result is a panorama teeming with life.
“A profound impact on Hurston’s literary legacy.”—New York Times
“One of the greatest writers of our time.”—Toni Morrison
“Zora Neale Hurston’s genius has once again produced a Maestrapiece.”—Alice Walker
A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.
In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.
Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.
The book also contains substantial discussion of Brakhage's work in light of the filmmakers he encountered at Telluride and discussed in Rolling Stock. Long chapters are given over to Soviet filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky, Larissa Shepitko, and Sergei Parajanov, as well as the German filmmaker Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. Brakhage was a keen viewer of these filmmakers and their contemporaries, both at Telluride and in his role as teacher at the University of Colorado, and Stan Brakhage and Rolling Stock attempts to place his work alongside theirs and thus reclaim him for world cinema.
The book's appendices reprint letters Brakhage wrote to Stella Pence (Telluride's co-founder and managing director), as well as summaries of his work for Telluride and a brace of difficult-to-find reviews.
White outlines a very specific five-step program to coping with disaster; to achieving strength and hope; and to turning tragedy into triumph. In their own words, his survivor friends and colleagues share their stories. It's a group that includes the well known, like Lance Armstrong, Nelson Mandela, and the late Princess Diana, and also everyday survivors of death, loss, injury and heartbreak. Through their stories and the author's words, the book takes readers step-by-step through the process of not only surviving tragedy and victimhood, but going on to thrive.