Harlem Bible-In The Beginning

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Harlem Bible: In the Beginning by Grant Harper Reid is a nonfiction work detailing the author’s family, friends, and biographical experiences. The book starts with a biography of the author’s father and proceeds to narrate the lives of his parents, grandparents, and himself. His father had an interesting upbringing and was a leader in the black community. Reid calls his family, particularly his father, part of the “bougie” class, including vacations in upstate New York and owning boats. This is a perspective of African American history that is lesser known. Reid attended school in Harlem, starting in 1958, and his childhood in Harlem is chronicled, along with high school, later life in New Jersey (black suburban paradise as he calls it), and has numerous wonderful pictures, which I particularly enjoyed seeing. Heartbreaking, racist and cruel moments in middle school and in high school give the book particularly important emotional and historical value.

The book reads like a work of history. It could be especially useful to historians and students of American history. It reminds me of the oral history interviews that I’ve conducted in its retelling of events in a matter of fact way, and has much value in its first person, primary source accounting of a unique American life. Because it reads like an oral history interview, however, its tone is flat. It doesn’t read like a novel (except for the teen year sections), but of a historical accounting. It can be hard to sustain interest because of this. Accounts like this one are to be encouraged, as they are so important to our collective understanding of the past.


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Author Grant Harper Reid
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 188 pages
Publisher CreateSpace-SelfPublished
Publish Date 2017-11-28
ISBN 9781976572838
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue March 2020
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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