The Brown Bag Book Club—Bring your Lunch!
Second Thursday of each Month, noon to 1:00 at the Headquarters
Our Next Books will be:
February 13th For African History Month, please read one or both of the following titles.
Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. James W. Loewen . New Press, 2005. 436 pp. According to bestselling sociologist Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me), “something significant has been left out of the broad history of race in America as it is usually taught,” namely the establishment between 1890 and 1968 of thousands of “sundown towns” that systematically excluded African-Americans from living within their borders. Located mostly outside the traditional South, these towns employed legal formalities, race riots, policemen, bricks, fires and guns to produce homogeneously Caucasian communities—and some of them continue such unsavory practices to this day. Loewen’s eye-opening history traces the sundown town’s development and delineates the extent to which state governments and the federal government, “openly favor[ed] white supremacy” from the 1930s through the 1960s, “helped to create and maintain all-white communities” through their lending and insuring policies. Note: is available as an audio-book.
Between the world and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Spiegel and Grau, 2015. 176 pp. It is written as a letter to the author’s teenage son about the feelings, symbolism, and realities associated with being Black in the United States. Coates recapitulates American history and explains to his son the “racist violence that has been woven into American culture.” Coates draws from an abridged, autobiographical account of his youth in Baltimore, detailing the ways in which institutions like the school, the police, and even “the streets” discipline, endanger, and threaten to disembody Black men and women. The work takes structural and thematic inspiration from James Baldwin‘s 1963 epistolary book The Fire Next Time. Unlike Baldwin, Coates sees white supremacy as an indestructible force, one that Black Americans will never evade or erase, but will always struggle against.
March 12rd SAVING CAPITALISM For the Many, Not the Few. Robert B. Reich. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 279 pp. To understand “Saving Capitalism,” Robert Reich’s sweeping treatise on inequality in America, you must accept a central premise: The free market is fundamentally a human construct and so to debate the appropriateness of government in shaping it is beside the point. Someone is always writing the rules of the market. Reich’s concern is that over the last three decades, the lead authors have been Wall Street, big corporations and the wealthy elite. His fear is that “we are lurching toward a capitalism so top-heavy it cannot be sustained.” Note: you may also watch the documentary of the same title on Netflix!!
April 9th Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. By Rick Reilly Hachette, 2019. 256 pages. Review by Susan Macura (LibraryThing):
The author poses a hypothesis that to truly understand Donald Trump one need only look at his history with his favorite pastime – golf. There are numerous funny stories of how Trump cheats and lies when playing, as well as influencing others to cheat for him! While these stories have a light side, when one considers his role in our nation, they take on an ominous note. As the author says, “If you’ll cheat to win at golf, is it that much further to cheat to win an election? To turn a Congressional vote? To stop an investigation? “If you’ll lie about every aspect of the game, is it that much further to lie about your taxes, your relationship with Russians, your groping of women? “If you’re adamant that that the poor don’t deserve golf, is it that much further to think they don’t deserve health care, clean air, safe schools?” Frightening thoughts indeed, but we need to really think about them. Loved this book for those reasons.
The books may be purchased used on Amazon or at The Book Shop ($10 membership takes 25% off new books for a year Or at Beach Book Mart, Atlantic Station Shopping Center, 1010 Fort Macon Road, (252) 240-5655