Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America

Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America

by Nathan McCall

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One of our most visceral and important memoirs on race in America, this is the story of Nathan McCall, who began life as a smart kid in a close, protective family in a black working-class neighborhood. Yet by the age of fifteen, McCall was packing a gun and embarking on a criminal career that five years later would land him in prison for armed robbery.
In these pages, McCall chronicles his passage from the street to the prison yard—and, later, to the newsrooms of The Washington Post and ultimately to the faculty of Emory University. His story is at once devastating and inspiring. For even as he recounts his transformation, McCall compels us to recognize that racism is as pervasive in the newsroom as it is in the inner city, where it condemns so many black men to prison, to dead-end jobs, or to violent deaths. At once an indictment and an elegy, Makes Me Wanna Holler became an instant classic when it was first published in 1994. Now, some two decades later, it continues to bear witness to the great troubles—and the great hopes—of our nation.
With a new afterword by the author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307787682
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/26/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 473,701
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Nathan McCall grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. He studied journalism at Norfolk State University after serving three years in prison, and went on to report for the Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before joining The Washington Post in 1989. He is the author of a memoir, Makes Me Wanna Holler; an essay collection, What’s Going On; and a novel, Them. McCall is currently is a senior lecturer in African American Studies at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Makes Me Wanna Holler 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
EmpressLay More than 1 year ago
For every single black woman && man in America, this book should be required reading. One cannot deny that the African-American experience is a unique one and that there are very few modern writers supplying a fair, observational and personal look on the matter. Nathan McCall is a great story-teller and you'll be able to do nothing but sulute him after reading his touching memoir. Besides being inspired by his own triumphs, this book can provide young black men with a blueprint to compare thier own possible grim African American experience to and it also can provide insight to some black women in their love troubles in finding the "good black men." It also touches on African-American troubles such as the lack of family structure, Black's constant presence in the prison system, and the overwhelming reality of racism in America, even in 2008. McCall keeps it real, from the first page to the last. So just READ THIS BOOK!... It's that good and you'll certainly learn something, regardless of your race !
AnthonyV More than 1 year ago
Posted 10/19/2009: This book completely blew my mind. It sets an example for everyone, whether they are young or old. This book was just such an inspiration. The natural story of an ex-con struggling to get ahead in life through racial controversies and African-American stereotypes is just interesting. You will learn something from this book no matter what race or gender you are. It is both devastating how the narrator has gone through such a rough childhood and how his bad choices have led to the life of a prison convict. Every time McCall makes a bad choice, you are on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen to him. When he eventually starts to describe the hardships in prison and all the crimes he has committed while he was in a gang, you start to feel an emotion of exploding passion for him. His mistakes teach you what NOT to do to be successful. This book is definitely a must-read that will "slap-you-in-the-face" and give you a quick reality check! This book should be a requirement to read. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. McCall, you took me down memory lane but I didn't go as far with some of my experiences as you did. This book should be a must read for all black males. THANK YOU !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just received the book today via UPS. Something drew me to open the book right away, no particular page, and read anything. No matter where I opened the book, (its been several sections now), it stirred up my soul!!! I write to several inmates very often and I wonder if they have this book in the prison library or have even read it. I'm going to ask them if they do and offer to send this to them, if they don't. I just started mentoring a couple of adolescent boys I consider 'at risk' in my neighborhood. This is my book of choice for reference from and to read to them. This includes my son who may not be 'at risk' but he is at that influential phase in his life where things can go either left or right. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for reading. This is a great addition to my ethnic library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will hold your interest but some of the content is repulsive. It is even more repulsive when you think that it is factual. I do not agree with the premise of this book but I will hand it to the writer. He put his personal struggle as a black man in America out there for all to see. I respect him for that. I do not agree with much of his portrayal or excuses for why he behaved the way that he did. There are no excuses for certain behavior!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nathan McCall is 'right on the money' when he talks about racism in America being a black male. The book is very inspirational and motivational. Every black male should read it and be able to apply what he learned to their lives. Outstanding.
B.Mayaluna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This books gives some serious perspective to what it's like growing up in the U.S. inside a black male body. I was so angered and repulsed by the first 50 pages that I called the person who gave me this book and basically told him off. He said, "just keep reading, you'll thank me later." I am very glad I did and he has been duly thanked. It is an excellent personal narrative that sensitives the white reader to pervasive racism in the United States, and gives inspiration to anyone. Once I got past the brutality against women in the beginning, I couldn't put it down. It is an excellent companion to Tom Wicker's Tragic Failure: Racial Integration in America.
wanderingwatki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Someone gave us this book when we went to teach in a high school that served a population that was 42% minority. Nathan McCall is a journalist for the Washington Post. He shares his experiences of growing up in America as a working-class African-American male. A former gang member who spent time in prison (armed robbery), McCall provides his readers insight into the lives of African-American youth. I remember being very moved by his story. I should start this one again.
mthacher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I discovered this book by accident in the airport one day, and it really gripped me. I wished my son and all his friends would read it. It was great that someone actually articulated the life that so many young men are living, the heartless things they do to their fellow humans, especially women, and why. McCall isn't sentimental, but tells his story with a lot of honesty.
HankIII on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Man oh man! This book kicks, punches, and rocks you gently at the end. Should be required reading in high school; there's so much happening in McCall's up from crappy living to productive living; it's brutal (the description of running a train still makes me shudder) and McCall doesn't pull any punchs--very real and not for the weak hearted. I love the ending: it's all about choices, and when you finally recognize you have them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes Me Wanna Holler is an autobiography about the main character Nathan Mccall. He tells a story about himself starting from the streets that some African Americans live in and the prison yards that Nathan Mccall was in throughout his life. Mr. Mccall believes that the rage in a man can kill himself and when he was in prison always looking over his shoulder, he realized that he would need to change his life around or he will end up dying before he gets out of prison.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh gods, yes. Too fu<_>cking true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good, but this is one of my summer reading. It is one of those insperantal books for young black men.
Writergeek More than 1 year ago
I vividly remember when I was 14 and I saw this book and the beautiful, well-designed cover featuring a poised, alert, and strong black man and I was immediately drawn to the book. I was instantly curious. I was never a reader and it was rare for me to pick up any book for leisure outside of any assigned academic project, but I opened the first page and began to read "Makes Me Wanna Holler". My God! I was utterly mesmerized by just reading the first chapter that focused upon McCall's rebellious, reckless, and anger (misguided)-fueled youth, and I couldn't abandon the book! As a kid, I read the book every day while I saw my peers playing video games, basketball, or other activities. I was reading for the first time upon my own accord and it wasn't for any classroom assignment and it was truly shocking for me. Each time I am asked what my favorite book is and I immediately announce that it is "Makes Me Wanna Holler". It has been my favorite book for 17 years and it is truly an amazing, well-written, lyrical, and powerful book replete with elegant and polished writing, stirring accounts of harrowing and embarrassing incidents, and part cautionary-tale and coming-of-age narrative. McCall deftly illustrates how challenging American life can be for a young black with and without a good education and how he overcame so many personal plights with courage. I identified with the admirable McCall and how he learned several key lessons in life through his older set of friends who had been more experienced than he and his love for music and writing. It was pretty cool to see that we both yearned to become writers at a young age, and McCall's powerful memoir spurred me to become a writer as well. In addition, this brilliant book had amazingly transformed me into a lifelong and voracious reader! I became a bibliophile after I had savored the memoir with the stunningly crisp sentences, action, memorable lessons, and McCall's searing and enlightening observations and truth. McCall's memoir was a crowning achievement and I immediately recommend this book and I hope that other people when come to enjoy this book as much as I have because it made me wanna holler because I have been so impressed with its composition!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kaiandelijah More than 1 year ago
My father had me read this book before I went to college. That was over 10 years ago abd I still can talk abot this book. I have read it several times. This is a book that I think ALL young men should read especially our young black brothers. This book is AWESOME in so many ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maxime Diatta More than 1 year ago
Great book im 14 and i think this book is worth the money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lytbrte More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book... Its based in Portsmouth, va and I grew up in the city next to it but familiar with these parts. However being that I am an 80s baby, its kinda cool picturing how the cities in the area has changed over the last 25 years! I also love it because it shows how real life could be if you weren't born with a silver spoon
corey smith More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was thrilled as I began to read this book. McCall is very honest about his experiences and this is good. I can get passed the excessive profanity, even though I don't appreciate it, because I know that this was an important part of his experience. However, I quickly became appalled by grotesqueness of some of the content and had to put the book down. Chapter 6 is absolutely disgusting; I don't think that he needed to include this story in his narrative, at least not in the detail that he did. Furthermore, there is no excuse for this type of behavior. Nevertheless, I cannot fully pass judgment on this book because I did not finish reading it. Reader beware is all I have to say. You need to be very thick-skinned to read this book.