An American story

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Pantheon Books, Sep 1, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 285 pages
8 Reviews
A powerfully compelling, unsparing memoir from a widely admired African-American journalist. Debra Dickerson's parents were share-croppers who migrated north after World War II. Born in 1959, Dickerson is an amalgam of her background--rural southern conservative and midwestern liberal--and at the same time a contemporary woman whose life has been shaped by the hardscrabble determination of her heritage. In this book Dickerson bears brilliant witness to her rich, tumultuous life: the crippling self-doubt of her adolescence and her belief in education as a way out; her transformation in the U.S. Air Force into a distinguished intelligence officer; her years at Harvard Law School and metamorphosis into a "neurotic attorney with a Gold Card"; and, finally, her current position as a journalist in demand for her refreshing and controversially sane views on social issues. With sharp intelligence and fierce wit, Dickerson shows us how she became what she is today--an iconoclastic American who transcends traditional notions of race and class.

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Review: An American Story

User Review  - Timothy Bazzett - Goodreads

A devastatingly honest & revealing self-portrait. I had never heard of Debra Dickerson before running across this book in a local thrift store. And I guess she's not exactly "famous." But considering ... Read full review

Review: An American Story

User Review  - Juana E. - Goodreads

An American Story, by Debra J. Dickerson is an inspirational book. It is a very eye opening biography. This book gives reads a sense of a reality check as they read along through what i believe is one ... Read full review


one Family History
two Whistling Women
three Airman Dickerson

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About the author (2000)

Debra J. Dickerson is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and a columnist for She has been an editor at U.S. News & World Report and her writings have appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, Slate, The Village Voice, and Essence, among other periodicals.  She lives in Washington, D.C.