Author Archive: Vanessa Bush

Vanessa Bush is a freelance reviewer for Booklist and is a contributor to Chicago Public Radio.

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Minority Report: Knowing Mandela Was the Real Deal

Minority Report: Knowing Mandela Was the Real Deal

My oldest son, now an adult, was a toddler when Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island. I held my squirming son in my lap as I watched the historic occasion and tried to get him to watch, too. He was bored and distracted; I was stunned and mesmerized. Nelson Mandela […]

Posted in: Book News
Be Careful Reading Brain Scans–and Books on the Subject

Be Careful Reading Brain Scans–and Books on the Subject

I’m as intrigued as anyone with science and technology that seems to open us up to understand the mysteries of our bodies, our brains, our genes. I was listening to an interview recently about the pros and cons of women of Jewish heritage learning about their genetic propensity for breast cancer and, in the funny […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Minority Report: Ward's Tender Portrait Defies Stereotypes

Minority Report: Ward's Tender Portrait Defies Stereotypes

Part of what makes Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward so moving, beyond the awful personal loss of five people close to her in four years, is the haunting notion that the small town closeness she describes is what was lost when so many black families left the South during the Great Migration. What the […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Could Coming Apart Pull Together Social Policy on Poor?

Could Coming Apart Pull Together Social Policy on Poor?

I’ve been listening with keen interest to interviews with Charles Murray, author of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. In the last few weeks, he’s been interviewed by Robert Siegel of All Things Considered and Tom Ashbrook of On Point, both on NPR. In Coming Apart, Murray observes that the current generation of […]

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For Anita Hill, Serenity is the Best Revenge

For Anita Hill, Serenity is the Best Revenge

It’s been 20 years since Anita Hill had the temerity to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas. It took a lot of nerve for her to come forth with allegations of sexual harassment against a man who was lined up to be the second African American male to serve on the Supreme […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Elizabeth and Hazel Show Unsentimentalized Complexity of Race Relations

Elizabeth and Hazel Show Unsentimentalized Complexity of Race Relations

Like most black Americans of the civil rights generation, I recognize the iconic photograph of Elizabeth Eckford in 1957 as she was taunted and threatened by white hecklers on her first day of school — the first day of school for nine black students at the newly desegregated Little Rock (Arkansas) Central High School. The first […]

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Minority Report: Revisiting Malcolm X in the "post-racial" age

Minority Report: Revisiting Malcolm X in the "post-racial" age

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley, is the most stolen book in American libraries, according to an attendee at a recent symposium on Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. That declaration of the popularity of Haley’s book, and the iconic status of the book and its subject, was reportedly based on […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Minority Report: Broader Perspectives for Young Black Men

Minority Report: Broader Perspectives for Young Black Men

With the frenzy of another school year ended, I’ve had the time to reflect on the past year – one where I was fortunate enough to be able to send both my sons abroad. The 8th grader went to Barcelona with his Spanish class, the college senior went to Tanzania in a semester abroad program. […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Minority Report: Gang Reflections

Minority Report: Gang Reflections

Some fifty years and nearly twenty miles from the site of operation of the notorious Chicago gang the Almighty Black P Stone Nation, nearly sixty people gathered recently to discuss the book of same title that examines the rise and fall of that gang and its leader. The setting was the main library in Oak […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Minority Report: Teaching America Important Lessons on Public Education

Minority Report: Teaching America Important Lessons on Public Education

However a person might feel about the great debate regarding public school reform (vouchers, charters, etc.), the idealism – at least – of Teach for America seems to be broadly admired. It’s regarded as the education equivalent of the Peace Corps. During the holiday season I had the pleasure of meeting one of its members, […]

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