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Black Like Me Audiobook

Black Like Me

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Publisher's Summary

Writer John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) decided to perform an experiment in order to learn from the inside out how one race could withstand the second class citizenship imposed on it by another race. Through medication, he dyed his skin dark and left his family and home in Texas to find out.

The setting is the Deep South in 1959. What began as scientific research ended up changing his life in every way imaginable. When he decided the real story was in his journals, he published them, and the storm that followed is now part of American history.

As performed by Ray Childs, this first-ever recording of Black Like Me will leave each listener deeply affected. John Howard Griffin did the impossible to help bring the full effect of racism to the forefront of America's conscience.

©1960, 1961, 1977 John Howard Griffin; renewed 1989 Elizabeth Griffin-Bonazzi, Susan Griffin-Campbell, John H. Griffin, Jr., Gregory P. Griffin, and Amanda Griffin-Sanderson; (P)2004 Audio Bookshelf; Recorded by arrangement with New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

What the Critics Say

"No one can read it without suffering." (Dallas Morning News)
"Only the coldest of hearts could be unaffected by this story, told with dignity and warmth, conviction and steadfast honesty. Audiobooks like this can help heal wounds and open minds about racism, an issue our nation still struggles with." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (920 )
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Story
4.5 (703 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    AudioAddict 08-30-15
    AudioAddict 08-30-15

    I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2013
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    "I can't believe he actually did this!"

    STORY (true) - This author is truly an incredible human being. While the nation was suffering from racial inequality, John Griffin medically altered his skin color from white to black and traveled the volatile deep south to view firsthand the treatment of Negroes. (That's what they were called back then.) He hitchhiked or traveled by bus, slept in run-down hotels or with people he met along the way. He was often refused service of food and drink, and many times had to walk miles across town just to find a place where he was allowed to use the restroom. He received verbal insults and "hate stares," and that's just while his skin was black. Upon resurfacing again as a white man, he began to tell the story of his experience. He was, again, mistreated by many people of his own race for sympathizing with the Negroes. He and his family received threats and were forced to leave their home.

    Most of this book is about the actual experiences of John Griffin as a Negro in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas in, I believe, 1958. In the last hour or so he talks of how he tried to spread the story of what he observed and other efforts he made to improve the treatment of Negroes across America.

    PERFORMANCE - Good job.

    OVERALL - Interesting and educational story. No sex, violence or profanity. The real-life situations observed by Mr. Griffin are touching, but I didn't find them too emotionally charged to hear. Recommended for anyone interested in the subject matter.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sao83 Oregon 03-05-15
    sao83 Oregon 03-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Not a history buff"

    The idea of becoming black to learn to learn about the racism was intriguing. I enjoyed listening to his experiences. I didn't want to stop listening. Side note: people still don't understand the only difference is the color of their skin.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aurora Leos Orange County, CA USA 05-28-13
    Aurora Leos Orange County, CA USA 05-28-13

    Artist/writer

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    "In a word: POWERFUL! ~ A must read!"

    It's an amazing read... at times I found it shocking! It's hard to believe John Howard Griffin, a white man, could've live his life as a black man, but he did. Truly, a thought provoking true story.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen 09-03-15
    Kathleen 09-03-15 Member Since 2008
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    "The epilogue is even more thought provoking"

    I picked this book up on a daily deal and although I found the actual book interesting, it was easy to say, yeah that was then. The epilogue gave me more insight into a world that I grew up in than I expected. I grew up in the 70's and 80's and can think back to that time and see a different perspective now. I think I will reflecting on this for some time to come.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hali 02-12-15
    Hali 02-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Book!"


    This book was very eye-opening to see how far we have come in such a small amount of time. There is still work to be done but this proves with work progress can happen.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 07-21-12
    Anja Schmidt Denmark 07-21-12 Member Since 2006

    k11923

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    "Very interesting experiment"
    What made the experience of listening to Black Like Me the most enjoyable?

    Meeting all kinds of prejudice.


    What about Ray Childs’s performance did you like?

    Nothing special.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt sorry for America. I never understood why this "land of the free" has such a hard time living up to that.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this extremely interesting and I very much enjoyed listening.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Weatherspoon Nashville TN USA 08-23-16
    A. Weatherspoon Nashville TN USA 08-23-16 Member Since 2016

    Easy Reader

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    "Past and Present"

    The experiment took place the year before I was born. I first read the book in my 20s and was mildly fascinated. Now 57yrs later, it appears we're right back where we began.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jstep 08-02-16
    jstep 08-02-16
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    "Narration a bit dry, but interesting story"
    What did you love best about Black Like Me?

    I really found it interesting (can't say that I LOVED it, as the segregation and racism was so prevalent throughout the story). This book is an unbiased first person account of what it was like to be a black man in a white society. I listened to this more for the learning aspect rather than to gain any enjoyment out of it.


    What other book might you compare Black Like Me to and why?

    I don't think that there is another book that is comparable to Black Like Me. I mean, he made his skin black to immerse himself and truly learn what it was like to be a black man at the time. Who does that? Just Mr. Griffin.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Ray Childs?

    I'd have to really want to listen to a book to listen to another one that Ray Childs has narrated. I found his tone very, very dry and monotonous. Perhaps this is just the way that he narrated this particular book. I felt like I was in my college geology class listening to the teacher give a lecture at 8am. I had a hard time staying awake...


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    This may be silly, but I would have never imagined that anyone could take something to change the pigment of their skin so much as to appear to be a different ethnicity, especially back then. Craziness.


    Any additional comments?

    I really had a rough time finishing this book. The story was interesting but I seriously could not stand the narrator. I had to come back to it multiple times to complete it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason E. Johnson Kansas City, MO 07-14-16
    Jason E. Johnson Kansas City, MO 07-14-16 Member Since 2014

    Tank

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    "Thought provoking book"

    I find it intriguing that this book is still very relevant even after so long...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Worrell 06-14-16
    Amy Worrell 06-14-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Amazing Book"

    I really enjoyed this book. It is amazing and inspirational! Loved it! I think the narrator did an OK job narrating, but there were times that I asked myself if he was in fact a computer reading, like Siri. But when the narrator changed his voice to read the dialogue, I was pleased by his "performance."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Claudia
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    10/2/11
    Overall
    "Excellent listening - great narration!"

    Read this at school in the lates 70's. As a black pupil in a mainly black class I was really fascinated by the unusual storyline and was really anxious to get through to the end.I wasn't disappointed at all.Since rediscovering it, have recommended to others, black and white!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Demirep
    LONDON, England
    8/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Important"
    If you could sum up Black Like Me in three words, what would they be?

    Don't miss it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Black Like Me?

    There is plenty of bleak humour in this book. One of the most grimly funny exchanges was when Griffin was discussing visiting a church and then in the same conversation asked where he could find the closest of the very few "black" toilets. The other man asked him if he wanted "to pray or to piss" and then observed that since there were so few such facilities available for the use of black people in town, he would spend most of his time "praying for a place to piss".


    What about Ray Childs’s performance did you like?

    He read the narrative well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a short book but couldn't be read properly in one sitting because there was too much to think about.


    Any additional comments?

    An important historical document, absorbingly well told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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