An American Story by Debra J. Dickerson

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A profoundly courageous and insightful memoir, An American Story documents the events that have shaped journalist Debra Dickerson's conscience.

The daughter of former sharecroppers, Dickerson never imagined she would emerge from her squalid St. Louis neighborhood to become an acclaimed journalist with a Harvard Law degree. A constant reader and a straight-A student, nevertheless Dickerson's lack of confidence kept her from accepting the many colleges offers she received. Instead she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, quickly rising through the ranks. In spite of her success, she recognized within herself deep-seated conflict at being a working class black woman living in a white man's world. Her path to self-acceptance is at the heart of this refreshing narrative.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Debra J. Dickerson

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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.
Published January 16, 2001 by Anchor. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The daughter of a working-class family (and of an abusive father) in North St. Louis, Dickerson excelled in school, won honor upon honor in the Air Force, survived rape, and ultimately worked her way to and through Harvard Law School—all while bearing the double burdens of her race and sex.

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Publishers Weekly

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A minor flaw is Dickerson's reluctance to examine her other four siblings with the same razor-sharp scrutiny that she applies to her youngest brother, Bobby, who als0 endured emotional abuse by their father.

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Lynn Harris, who chose the fiction selections, was eager to include excerpts from novels (such as Pulitzer Prize winner "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao") and young adult fiction, Early says.

Jan 21 2009 | Read Full Review of An American Story

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