The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

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Random House Publishing Group, May 6, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 240 pages
41 Reviews
An exceptional father-son story from the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us.

Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons across the shoals of inner-city adolescence—and through the collapsing civilization of Baltimore in the Age of Crack—and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free.

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts—assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present—to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.

With a remarkable ability to reimagine both the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - froxgirl - LibraryThing

It's stunning to discover this memoir after all the justifiable hype about "Between the World And Me", his second book, an aspirational long-note-left-on-the-nightstand to Coates' son. This earlier ... Read full review

Review: The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

User Review  - Kam - Goodreads

The story is especially gripping because of the tails about places and events that I grew up around. Great coming of age story for a Black Baltimore boy. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
10
Section 3
29
Section 4
65
Section 5
103
Section 6
127
Section 7
151
Section 8
183
Section 9
189
Section 10
205
Section 11
225
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a former staff writer at The Village Voice and Time and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, O, and numerous other publications. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information