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Busted in New York and Other Essays

Busted in New York and Other Essays


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on November 17, 2020


A collection of essays that blend the personal and the social, from the celebrated literary critic and novelist

In these twenty-five essays, Darryl Pinckney has given us a view of our recent racial history that blends the social and the personal and wonders how we arrived at our current moment. Pinckney reminds us that “white supremacy isn’t back; it never went away.” It is this impulse to see historically that is at the core of Busted in New York and Other Essays, which traces the lineage of black intellectual history from Booker T. Washington through the Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Panther Party and the turbulent sixties, to today’s Afro-pessimists, and celebrated and neglected thinkers in between.

These are capacious essays whose topics range from the grassroots of protest in Ferguson, Missouri, to the eighteenth-century Guadeloupian composer Joseph Bologne, from an unsparing portrait of Louis Farrakhan to the enduring legacy of James Baldwin, the unexpected story of black people experiencing Russia, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight, and the painter Kara Walker. The essays themselves are a kind of record, many of them written in real-time, as Pinckney witnesses the Million Man March, feels and experiences the highs and lows of Obama’s first presidential campaign, explores the literary black diaspora, and reflects on the surprising and severe lesson he learned firsthand about the changing urban fabric of New York.

As Zadie Smith writes in her introduction to the book: “How lucky we are to have Darryl Pinckney who, without rancor, without insult, has, all these years, been taking down our various songs, examining them with love and care, and bringing them back from the past, like a Sankofa bird, for our present examination. These days Sankofas like Darryl are rare. Treasure him!”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250758132
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 11/17/2020
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Darryl Pinckney, a long time contributor to The New York Review of Books, is the author of novels, Black Deutschland and High Cotton, and the works of nonfiction, Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy and Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Thus Far on the Way, BY ZADIE SMITH


Slouching Toward Washington

Busted in New York

Beyond the Fringe


Dreams from Obama

Obama and the Black Church

What He Really Said

Deep in the Bowl


Invisible Black America

In Ferguson

Black Lives and the Police


Pilot Me

Austere and Lonely Offices

The Great Puzzle

The Afro-Pessimist Temptation


Paris: The Black Maestro

On Your Own in Russia

How I Got Over



The Real Harlem

The Genius of Blackness

Black Master


Looking at Selma

Under the Spell of James Baldwin

Moon over Miami


Miss Aretha Franklin


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