May 18, 2021
The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

An exceptional father son story 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 hiAn exceptional father son story 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 Balti 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 fathers generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys t

  • Title: The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
  • Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • ISBN: 9780385520362
  • Page: 254
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Beautiful Struggle A Father Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood An exceptional father son story 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 Bl


    4.5 5He went back to Baldwin, who posed the great paradox that would haunt him to the end Who among us would integrate into a burning house Where I come from, the white public has an extraordinary penchant for stealing the movement, language, all the etcs of a people you could ever imagine, from the black public A word will come into a circle of white friends to use and lose and abuse, a segment of communication dehumanized as slang that will never be whole so long as it is spoken by those who a [...]

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Everyone knows Ta Nehisi Coates from his recent Between the World and Me When I knew I d be going to Balti for the first time, I went looking for books that were than just crime novels there are a lot of them set in Balti, thanks, The Wire This story of growing up in West Balti was a great choice Ta Nehisi was born in 1975 and spent his childhood in West Balti His father was an integral part in his upbringing, although not always present Ta Nehisi has six siblings with four different mothers H [...]


    It s not Between the World and Me, but it s fucking gorgeous nonetheless I grew up a pastor s missionaries kid in a logging town the former Soviet Union a potato and asparagus farming town in that order In other words, I m white AF y all So I had to google a lot of Coates references to get the full context It was super educational But the writing The writing is as usual perfect and brilliant Coates is one of my favorite living authors.


    But all of us need myths And here out West, where we all had lost religion, and had taken to barbarian law, what would deb our magic What would be sacred words Ta Nehisi Coates Beautiful Haunting Rythmic Pulsing with life, love, and the development of consciousness This is a memoir of a peer Ta Nehisi Coates is one year younger than me We grew up watching the same things through different lenses Watching the same play from vastly different seats His was a lens of black America in West Balti I wa [...]


    Along with Dreams from my Father, I want to add this to the Coming of Age Memoir unit I teach Ta Nehisi is a fantastic writing, and the book moves along with a lightness and wit I finished the book in under 24 hours that belies the seriousness of his subject.Stylistically, the book feels as if it were written effortlessly, yet is filled with clever and knowing asides that don t feel forced That Coates can retain the straight power of street slang while mixing in references to Dungeons and Dragon [...]


    Oh man, I just love him This is totally different from his blog twitter postings, but equally awesome along a totally different dimension I think the writing occasionally goes off the rails with some of the flowery, figurative language, but he s also trying to capture the essence of something that is hard to explain I really appreciate this as a meditation on black masculinity and the experience of trying to grow into a man in the world where Coates grew up Loved the super complicated relationsh [...]

    Craig Werner

    Extremely interesting material that never quite coalesces into either a clear statement or a good read One of seven children of a black nationalist father, Coates grew up in West Balti where he was consistently on the verge of washing out of the educational system entirely Although he ultimately makes it on one level this is a variation on the narrative of ascent in which a black protagonist acquires literacy and a limited degree of freedom Coates doesn t provide a clear picture of which parts o [...]

    Evan Leach

    Coates first book, written seven years before Between the World and Me, is a memoir of Coates childhood growing up in inner city Balti The Beautiful Struggle revolves around the relationship between Coates, his father, and his brother Big Bill Coates father, a former Black Panther turned independent publisher, is determined to see his children escape the streets and get them into Howard University Opposing him are the many forces plaguing the inner city and, often, his sons themselves.Between th [...]

    Carol Storm

    This is the most incredible memoir I ve ever read It s as great as GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin or MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER by Nate McCall What makes this book so compelling, and impossible to put down, is not what Coates has to say about race in the abstract It s how honest he is about the specifics of his own life You can t help identifying with him, no matter what color you are, because he writes about how children feel about their parents in ways that are timeless and true He wri [...]

    Jamie Nesbitt

    Coates gift for wordplay is indisputable Moving, lyrical memoir.


    Admittedly, I m beginning to experience a sort of sedition of my critical faculties when I read Ta Nehisi Coates Coates writing journalistic and literary isn t meant to be palliative in the least But that s exactly the effect that this slim work engendered for me A Bildungsroman that s not exactly lyrical but poetic, The Beautiful Struggle has 90 s urban America s fingerprints all over it it took me back to a time that was both simpler and treacherous In those days Balti was factional, segmented [...]

    Elliot Ratzman

    We are the walking lowest rung, and all that stands between us and beast, Ta Nehisi Coates claims, is respect Respect Silly machismo I m of two minds about this memoir can t decide if it s poetic profundity or puerile posturing I enjoy Coates insightful pieces in Time, Atlantic and New Yorker The memoir of his pre college Howard years is at turns hip hop cartoonish, beautifully evocative and eye rolling frustrating A few chpts are stellar In short, he s raised by a sharp but bitter and philander [...]

    Maya Smart

    I love Ta Nehisi Coates s unflinching essays on race They exemplify journalism s highest calling as a discipline of verification He consistently eviscerates uniquely American delusions with deep reporting, impregnable facts and powerful prose.Witness this brilliant story in which he lets confederates themselves declare the battle flag s meaning, quoting long passages of their defense of slavery and white supremacy Only the willfully ignorant or comprehension impaired can read it and credibly ass [...]


    I just started reading this today, but in the first chapter alone, here are a couple gems About that time my Converse turned to cleats and I bolted, leaving dents and divots in the concrete The streetlights flickered, waved as I broke ankles, blew by, and when the bandits reached to check me, I left only imagination and air They elevated bar fights to a martial art, would rush the ring, all juiced on jeers and applause, white music blaring, Van Halen hair waving in the wind, and raise their chin [...]


    How not to love Ta Nehisi Coates Of course I got to know him through his blog on The Atlantic and that s kind of hard to stop reading it after you start Not too dissimilar from a drug It is really no secret that Coates most attractive characteristic at least for me is being this soft, sweet underdog who, despite it all, made it Take this conversation between father and son I am not raising nothing niggers Where is your head What are you thinking, boy I am thinking of Sunday waffles and Morning S [...]

    Winter Sophia Rose

    Engaging, Deep, Soulful Insightful A Unique Wonderful Read I Loved It


    I ve been lucky enough to hear Ta Nehisi Coates speak twice, and both times I ve left the auditorium reflective and inspired Coates often speaks and writes about structural racism, especially black criminality, where he explains that American society tends to create boxes of criminality around black people readily than those of other races, and that black people are often in violation of the law because the laws were written to specifically target them Having lived in, covered, and experienced [...]


    A memoir from one of our greatest minds Unfortunately, it felt pushed and, to me, sounded like a long list of summary sentences, rather than a flow of events It seemed like every significant event which we can see are significant events needed to be concluded with a Great Insight.There is much good writing, but this just a bit of a disappointment after Between the World and Me This was originally published in 2008, so written by a considerably younger man i eagerly await from the writer he has [...]


    This is a worthwhile read for those who have read and appreciated Between the World and Me It fills in the back story of Coates young years in Balti up to the time he goes to college Much of the story focuses on his father Coates father was a Vietnam vet, turned Black Panther, turned Afrocentric publisher He had 7 children with 4 women, being married to 2 of them, one Coates mother During Coates teen years, his father focused on his publishing business that brought Afrocentric classics back into [...]

    Book Riot Community

    One of our foremost intellectuals takes a look back at his Balti childhood, his complicated relationship with his father, and his circuitous journey toward self awareness Coates s is a dynamic voice that I look to for perspective and clarity on just about any issue of importance, and given recent events in Balti, it s fascinating to watch him trace the origins of that voice His next book, Between the World and Me, doesn t come out until September, so those who can t wait should get their hands o [...]


    Ta Nehisi Coates tells of his life in Balti growing up with his family in the ghetto His father had been a member of the Black Panthers and raised his children to get knowledge by reading what most people did not know existed I did not always understand what Ta Nehisi was saying but I understood what his father was teaching him and his siblings I also liked the history that we do not get in school An interesting read.


    Fantastic memoir So much fun to read Coates is a stylist, and pays close attention to his sentences The layers of details will sometimes get past you if you re not familiar with 80s rap or fashions, for example , but you can t miss the heartbreak, the yearning of a young man Most impressive is how he tells his own, very specific story against the broader story of black West Balti in the 1980s Thrilling writing.


    Here you can see the way to Between the World and Me, and Coates writing is powerful It just felt a bit disjointed to me.


    Another memoir by Coates Mostly about his childhood and adolescence in Balti Worth reading, but doesn t hold a candle to Between the world and me.


    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 Balti boy.


    Fuck what you have heard of what you have seen in your son He may lie about homework and laugh when the teacher calls home He may curse his teacher, propose arson for the whole public system But inside is the same sense that was in me None of us ever want to fail None of us ever want to be unworthy, not to measure up I read this book partly because I was interested in the what is it like to grow up with a father who was a Black Panther aspect of Ta Nehisi Coates story, and partly because he writ [...]

    Books written by POC

    I just finished The Beautiful Struggle by Ta Nehisi Coates, which I have mixed feelings about More than anything, it s about Coates father, and yet I don t feel like I know him at all for reading about his life The distance between reader and writer may reflect the distance between the inner lives of father and son love and respect don t require full disclosure on anyone s part Still, this is a book crammed with personalities, with lives long and short, and yet few if any really flower on the pa [...]


    A very eloquent biography of a familiy and a boy s journey to manhood Tells the story of a boy raised by a black panther in the Balti of the crack era Not your typical rags to riches story of escaping a bad situation, but rather a loving story of beautiful people living beautiful lives The narrative focuses on the struggles of a black family struggling to make it, to be authentic to their roots, to not compromise to a system that abuses them, and to simply be a family.There is a lot to be said, [...]


    I tried to read this over the summer, and didn t end up finishing it At the time I said I couldn t get into it, that the references were escaping me and I couldn t identify with the situations Now that I ve just finished it, my only explanation for why I didn t finish it is that I wasn t paying attention I ve always loved Ta Nehisi Coates journalism, and this book is written in a very different way It is poetic and less concrete, but no less beautiful This time around, I found myself enchanted [...]


    Mr Coates captures his upbringing with piercing honesty and insight I remember seeing him talk on C Span back in the 90 s and have admired him ever since J.D Jackson delivers an entrancing performance Win Win Worth the listen.

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