"[A] rich, meticulous biography . . . Jackson beautifully contextualizes Ellison, whether in Oklahoma, Alabama, or New York . . . While evoking each of Ellison's environments brilliantly, Jackson also discusses the influence of The Waste Land on Ellison's young mind. This kind of cultural and psychological insight makes for a very satisfying counterpart."
—New York Times Book Review
Powerfully enhanced by rare photographs, this work draws from archives, literary correspondence, and interviews with Ellison’s relatives, friends, and associates. Tracing the writer’s path from poverty in dust bowl Oklahoma to his rise among the literary elite, Jackson explores Ellison’s important relationships with other stars, particularly Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, and examines his previously undocumented involvement in the Socialist Left of the 1930s and 1940s, the black radical rights movement of the same period, and the League of American Writers. The result is a fascinating portrait of a fraternal cadre of important black writers and critics--and the singularly complex and intriguing man at its center.
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