The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

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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 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.

About Ta-Nehisi Coates

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TA-NEHISI COATES is a blogger for He is a former staff writer at The Village Voice and Time, and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and numerous other publications. He lives in New York City.
Published May 6, 2008 by Spiegel & Grau. 242 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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The author's account of growing up with a former Black Panther for a father in a disintegrating corner of Baltimore.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Struggle: A Fat...

Publishers Weekly

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West Baltimore, where Coates, a former Village Voice and Time staff writer, spent his formative years, was an environment ravished by crack and beset with deadbeat fathers. But his own father (and his

Apr 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Struggle: A Fat...


And whereas Tim Tebow will someday either ride off to glory or be exposed, the Cowboys are an ever-regenerating Tim Tebow.

Nov 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Struggle: A Fat...

Daily Kos

Thanks for Black Kos - I wish it could be put up on the left side of the page - instead of scrolling off when a flood of new diaries roll in.

May 09 2008 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Struggle: A Fat...

APOOO Bookclub

Working full time as an Equal Opportunity Investigator, she enjoys spending her free time traveling to bookstores within the area to meet her favorite authors at book signings or helping to plan book events.

Jun 23 2008 | Read Full Review of The Beautiful Struggle: A Fat...

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