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Dick Gregory (1932–2017)

Författare till nigger: an autobiography

31+ verk 1,204 medlemmar 18 recensioner 2 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Dick Gregory (1932-2017) was a comedian, civil rights activist, and cultural icon who first performed in public in the 1950s. He is on Comedy Central's list of "100 Greatest Standups" and was the author of sixteen books, most notably, the bestselling classic Nigger: An Autobiography and the NAACP visa mer Image Award-winning Defining Moments in Black History. visa färre

Inkluderar namnen: Gregory D., Dick Gregory

Verk av Dick Gregory

nigger: an autobiography (1964) 510 exemplar
From the Back of the Bus (1962) 111 exemplar
No More Lies (1971) 72 exemplar
The Shadow That Scares Me (1605) 53 exemplar
Callus On My Soul: A Memoir (2001) 44 exemplar
Write me in! (1968) 33 exemplar
Up from Nigger (1600) 22 exemplar
The Essential Dick Gregory (2022) 9 exemplar
What's happening? (1965) 4 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Work (2010) — Bidragsgivare — 142 exemplar
Mark Twain [2001 TV movie] (2001) — Self — 49 exemplar
The N Word [2004 film] (2004) 4 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



I mentioned I was a sucker for a provocative title when I reviewed Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, and one of my friends (Hi, Dave!) pointed me toward this.

I was not very familiar with Dick Gregory before cracking the cover, and in many ways I feel I still am not since this autobiography only goes up through 1963 as he is first breaking big in his stand-up career and starting his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement.

Nearly half the book is given over to his childhood of poverty and his success as a high school and collegiate runner. It's often heartbreaking and disturbing, but sometimes suffers from that sort of old man embellished storytelling -- y'know, like, I went to and from school in a giant blizzard uphill both ways -- with Gregory frequently reminding us that he was a bullshit artist and hustler, casting a bit of doubt over the reliability of his narration.

The portion about his comedy routines is a bit lacking in the actual jokes he told but includes enough to make me want to seek out some of his recorded performances.

The final section is the most dramatic as he uses his fame to bring attention to the growing Civil Rights Movement, but he breezes in and out of events and locations pretty quickly, flying into a southern state for a protest and flying out to perform a show across the country. A personal tragedy gets twined awkwardly into this section, and then the book abruptly ends with a brilliant speech he gives in Selma to help promote a voter registration drive.

I don't think this is an ideal introduction to Dick Gregory for someone as ignorant of him as I was, but it has certainly whetted my appetite to learn more about him.
… (mer)
villemezbrown | 10 andra recensioner | Nov 6, 2022 |
Ahead of its time in may ways, but at least half the nutrition advice is pseudoscience at best. And I most certainly will not be taking his advice on enemas, lol.
BibliophageOnCoffee | 1 annan recension | Aug 12, 2022 |
The Essential Dick Gregory is an absolute gem, combining various works of his to tell his life story as well as his ideas and beliefs. A remarkable man in his own words.

While the book is organized in a rough thematic form, it is also largely chronological, so it is as much a memoir as it is a collection of his work. What makes this especially strong is that the excerpts and complete shorter works are from various periods of his life. While other memoirs generally consist of a person reflecting and, to a large extent, smoothing the rough edges of their life, these are Gregory's words at those moments of time or at least much closer to them.

I'm not sure he would have wanted to "smooth" his story even if he had written this as a single work, part of what is so amazing about him was his ability to grasp so much even in the moment. My memories of him are largely from TV when I was young and a couple of albums. Later I became aware of the breadth of his activism through interviews and yet more reading.

One of the many things in the book that speak to our current environment as much as it did at the time (1973, in a monologue about Watergate): "anytime you get people that's in control of a nation, any nation, that talk about law and order and never talk about justice, there is a Watergate somewhere close by." He recognized then that "law and order" is a dog whistle, and under the recent orange menace the dogs came out of the darkness and are trying to destroy what democracy we do have.

I would highly recommend this to those who like memoirs as well as those who like to read about truly inspiring people. Gregory almost always saw things from a very considered and intentional perspective. Will you agree, from this much later date, with everything he said? Probably not. But you will be hard pressed to find any kind of malice in his opinions.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
… (mer)
pomo58 | Jul 19, 2022 |
Read this many years ago and remember portions of it vividly to this day.
AnaraGuard | 10 andra recensioner | Nov 1, 2020 |


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