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Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga…
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Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (utgåvan 2015)

av Pamela Newkirk

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1055201,820 (3.54)2
"Describes the cruelty and prevalent racial prejudice in early-twentieth-century America that resulted in a Congolese man being featured in an exhibit in the 1904 World's Fair and then displayed in the Monkey House of a New York zoo,"--Amazon.com.
Medlem:evenlake
Titel:Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga
Författare:Pamela Newkirk
Info:Amistad, Kindle Edition, 333 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:biography, history, kindle, nonfiction, unread

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Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga av Pamela Newkirk

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» Se även 2 omnämnanden

Visar 5 av 5
I wanted to love "Spectacle" but it just fell a little flat. I hadn't heard of Ota Benga in any context and appreciated all the information Newkirk offered and it's clear she did an incredible amount of research for this book. I enjoyed the structure of the story: Newkirk moves back and forth in time and space, offering a broad view and then zeroing in on different aspects of Ota Benga's story and the context around him. Where I lost interest was in some of these contextual pieces Newkirk included. There were times I just wasn't interested in the tangent I was reading. It was almost TOO much information and I definitely felt overloaded. Where Newkirk really excelled was displaying the nuanced complexity of Ota Benga's story and the way narratives are shaped, distorted, and laced with agendas. ( )
  bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
Copiously researched story of Ota Benga, an African “pygmie” brought to the U.S. by an opportunist who put him on display in the monkey cage of the Bronx Zoo for the masses to gawk at, prod, and otherwise make fun of the unassuming native. Much has been written about this story, but much of it is inaccurate according to this author. The notes are impressive, and the book includes a complete and thorough index. I enjoyed the book although it made me mad to read how cruel people can be to those they perceive to be less than them.
  DanDiercks | Aug 14, 2018 |
Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk is a horrible book to read but it is full of information about the subject. This has spoilers...
Ota Benja was taken by slavers after they killed his wife and two kids. Him and a handful of others from his village were taken for the 1904 St Louis Fair and later he was put in a cage with a chimp in NY, in a zoo in the Bronx. Here he was daily humiliated and taunted. A few black preachers started to put pressure on the owner and it took time but slowly the press started to help his plight. This book is great in going into the politics of the time, the social standing, who was in whose pocket, and the racial unrest at the time. If you are not a big history buff, this may not interest you but it did me. Big names, who was backing who, a sad situation that they let this man suffer for friendship and money. He is finally released and put in an orphanage even though he is an adult. He is taught English. He gets all he wants and asks for a job. He works at a tobacco factory for a while but he is depressed and can't go home due to WWI. He can't get away from what has been done to him. He doesn't look like anyone, he is only 4'11", 103 lbs, misses his family, his life has been nothing but abuse...and he kills himself. If that isn't enough, they make molds of his body and face and display it and they don't even give it his name. It is displayed as Pygmy. This is such a sad period in our history...I just wanted to cry for him all the way through the story. I ached and hurt for the injustice. The president of the US knew this too but his friends were friends of the NY zoo. So very sad. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Aug 7, 2017 |
Very interesting story I knew nothing about. Shocking how people can take someone they know nothing about and sell them to be displayed in a zoo. It just shocks me how some people treat others. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 11, 2016 |
I won this book off of First Reads and was really excited to read it, because I had only just known Ota Benga's name and not the details of his life. Unfortunately, this book missed the mark. While Benga was the central point of story, it did not go in depth about him personally, but instead events and people who were connected to him.

Half of the book was about Phillip Verner, the man who captured and forced Benga to come to the states as an act for the amusement of the American people. Further, each character or event Newkirk described she would continue on three or four page tangents on a different aspect of history that had little or nothing to do with Benga. For example, while describing how Verner gave Benga to the president of the American Natural History Museum in New York, the author described how the same had been done to a family of Inuits. For four pages she explains the hardships this family faced and the legal battles that pursued after the family either died or were released from forced custody. While this may have been fascinating information, readers of the book learned more about the Inuits forced stay at the Museum than they did about Ota's stay.

However, even after being mislead by the book's title, I found it extremely interesting and extraordinarily written. Newkirk must have spent a tremendous amount of time researching for her book only to find that there was little not no research on Benga's life and forced her to fill the void with areas that surrounded the life of Benga. Definitely, a though provoking read. My only wish is that the title of the book was different. ( )
  jackpando | Aug 10, 2015 |
Visar 5 av 5
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Pygmy:

(1) Late fourteenth century, Pigmei, "member of a fabulous race of dwarfs," described by Homer and Herodotus and said to inhabit Egypt or Ethiopia and India, from the Latin pygmaei and Greek pygmaios, meaning "dwarfsh" or "of the length of a pygme; pygme tall." In seventeenth century referred to chimpanzees or orangutans and during the mid-nineteenth century applied by Europeans to the equatorial African race.

(2) Chiefly derogatory, a very small person, animal, or thing.

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Saturday, September 8, 1906, was sunny and warm, and New York's parks beckoned city dwellers from their cramped apartments and crowded streets.
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"Describes the cruelty and prevalent racial prejudice in early-twentieth-century America that resulted in a Congolese man being featured in an exhibit in the 1904 World's Fair and then displayed in the Monkey House of a New York zoo,"--Amazon.com.

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