Told with wit, humility, and charm, this memoir by Vernon Jordan, one of the most charismatic figures in America, is an unforgettable book about his life and times. It is a story that encompasses the sweeping struggles, changes, and dangers of black life during the civil rights revolution. of photos.Told with wit, humility, and charm, this memoir by Vernon Jordan, one of the most charismatic figures in America, is an unforgettable book about his life and times. It is a story that encompasses the sweeping struggles, changes, and dangers of black life during the civil rights revolution. of photos.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-02-04 Dismayed that his daughter, Vickee, showed little true comprehension of the world of the Deep South in which he grew up, a world of forced servility and oppression toward blacks, Jordan decided that telling his story would help to "bridge that gap" between their experiences. He set out to write a "very personal take on the black experience since the end of the Second World War." The title of this memoir comes from an incredulous outburst by Robert Maddox, "one of the leading figures in Atlanta's white elite" for whom Jordan worked as a chauffeur while home from college on summer break. The irony is that, although Jordan can write, the actual reading of his writing leaves much to be desired. Often a writer's reading of their own words adds depth to the work. Unfortunately, that formula fails here. The listener does not get the sense of being spoken to; instead Jordan reads in a somewhat formal, oratorical tone. Although the work does a fine job of chronicling the progress of blacks in Jordan's lifetime, it does not delve very deeply into Jordan's personal feelings and beliefs. This production's lack of personality echoes that sentiment. Based on the Public Affairs hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 15, 2001). (Dec. 18, 2001) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-10-15 While Jordan's autobiography garnered interest from the moment its publication was announced, its ultimate form surprises. Disappointment awaits those expecting Clinton/ Lewinsky dirt, since the book "effectively ends in the 1980s. All that has happened to me since then is too close to be considered true memories," Jordan writes. But his narrative mission here is not recent political scandal. Jordan means to "bridge the gap" between the years African-Americans were forced to move to the back of the bus and the time when "a young black girl [Vernon's daughter Vickee] could be so confident in her humanity that she found it unfathomable that anyone could try and take it away from her." The bridge, of course, is Jordan himself, and he tells his success story with a concentration and devotion that gives it all the fervor and logic of a good long speech. While readers are treated to some particulars of Jordan's youth (waiting tables for his mother's catering business, attending segregated Atlanta schools in the 1940s and early '50s and then the predominantly white DePauw University) and the trajectory of his early career as a field director for the NAACP, executive director of the United Negro College Fund and president of the National Urban League), there are few more personal revelations. With its lack of extraneous detail and its studious avoidance of private thoughts, this is less a traditional memoir than an extended exposition of an impressive CV. Even so, it should remind people of this chapter in American history and Jordan's crucial role in it. (Oct. 22) Forecast: With Jordan's high profile, this is an automatic big seller. If it's marketed correctly, it should have a wide appeal, too anyone interested in the history of the civil rights movement will appreciate this detailed account of the people and organizations that helped transform a segregated nation. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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