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Black Like Me | [John Howard Griffin]

Black Like Me

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.
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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

4.3 (277 )
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4.3 (116 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carol Groton, CT, USA 11-28-05
    Carol Groton, CT, USA 11-28-05
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    "What a glorious accident to find this book..."

    As a white woman who decided to read and learn more about black history, the finding of this book was purely accidental, but couldn't have been more appropriate. At first I thought I was going to find this tedious, but once I gave in to giving this timeless piece work a fair chance, I was engrossed. I learned much and my perspective was broadened immensely. After further investigation, this book is often used in the academic setting. After experiencing this incredible tale of a timeless social experiment, I feel it should be mandatory reading in the academic setting. Absolutely breathtaking and I have not remorse for experiencing this book. Conversely I have an enormous gratitutde for the opportunity to experience this marvelous piece of literary work.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Baltimore, MD, United States 12-04-10
    Pamela Baltimore, MD, United States 12-04-10
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    "Wonderful!"

    I loved... LOVED... listening to this book. The story is amazingly interesting (especially for social scientists who study race in America). But the reason I took time to write this review is to comment on the narrator's performance. I cannot imagine another person doing a better job. I am now a total fan of Ray Childs; I just wish there were more selections read by him. If you find the description of this book the least bit interesting, you won't regret spending time with it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leerkkee Australia 08-19-04
    Leerkkee Australia 08-19-04 Member Since 2014
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    "Black Like Me"

    Excellect, the best book i have read for years. It shows how far we have come in such a short time but it also shows how much further we have to go.

    The book is a must not only for Americans (I am not American) becuase the world must stop judging and start embracing.

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billie Lafayette, CO, United States 04-22-06
    Billie Lafayette, CO, United States 04-22-06 Member Since 2005
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    "A lesson in humanity and courage"

    A touching, poignant story of one man's incredible courage to move outside the realm of the "known" in order to discover the truths of racism and ignorance ingrained into Southern society. Growing up in Kentucky in the 60's, I witnessed many of the tragic and gut-wrenching scenarios described in his journey. A brilliant social experiment that exposes the lies of what some believe is "equality." A reminder to us all to keep ourselves in check when dealing with people of different races, religions and nationalities different from our own.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 09-07-12
    Tim Fremont, NE, United States 09-07-12 Member Since 2004

    Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.

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    "Absolutely Stunning!"

    What a fantastic book! Had this in my audible library and finally got around to reading it.

    First of all, it was hard to believe that you could physically transform a white man to a black man, but I've seen the before and after pictures online and it was amazing.

    Secondly, the various situations he encountered were almost unbelievable. From a man who picked him up while he was hitchiking, primarily to ask him about his genitalia, to the shoe shine man who didn't realize he was the same guy before and after, the stories in this book are simply astounding!

    Third, it is also curious as to how dangerous an undertaking this actually was. Can't believe he came out physically unscathed, although there are some close calls in the book. (However, after the book was published, he and his family had to flee to Mexico due to death threats).

    Like "Uncle Tom's Cabin", this is a must-read and really points out how it feels to be on the "other side". Highly recommend!!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer North Carolina 08-25-13
    Amazon Customer North Carolina 08-25-13
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    "Does everything a good book should do.."

    This book makes you stop, think, and question. It stays with you, haunts you and makes you reflect on yourself and how you treat others. I stumbled upon this little gem quite by accident as I was looking for books which addressed social justice for a graduate course. I was astonished. Griffin has gone above and beyond to explore racism. This story takes place in the 1960s and is told from his experiences. He chemically and medicinally darkens his skin to become a black man. His experiences are heartbreaking. He witnesses both kindness extended by complete strangers and chilling cruelty from neighbors. I won't give spoilers or too much detail as you must listen to/read this book for yourself.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Bristol, United Kingdom 06-21-13
    Sandra Bristol, United Kingdom 06-21-13
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    "Discrimination in any form is totally unacceptable"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Black Like Me to be better than the print version?

    I never read the book but feel that they would have been on an equal par.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I found the very poor young man with his wife and children living in the forest to be my favourite character because I remember a young man in South Africa some years ago saying to my father that had he broken down in a rural area, he would have taken him in and given him what food he had and a place to sleep but it would not have been the same if the young man had broken down in a "white" area. I really found the whole situation the same as I had known it then.


    What does Ray Childs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I think that Ray Childs brought a good narrative voice and quality to the reading, which brought my imagination to life in many ways. His voice brought the whole situation to life.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Man's arrogance in thinking that he has the right to judge and see himself as superior to anyone.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book. For me it was a confirmation of what I thought was happening in America in that time period. I had also seen this in South Africa, and in later years as well until Mandela's government took over. I was able to see a lot through this book which I had only thought and believed happened.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jd4nd Suwanee, Georgia, US 08-12-14
    jd4nd Suwanee, Georgia, US 08-12-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Everyone should read"
    Would you listen to Black Like Me again? Why?

    yes. I plan to listen again later. I enjoyed hearing his insight on societal norms.


    What did you like best about this story?

    it was honest.


    Have you listened to any of Ray Childs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no.


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

    I loved the contrast in cultures. his observations were accurate from his perspective.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02-20-12
    02-20-12 Listener Since 2008
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    "Enlightning"
    Where does Black Like Me rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of my better listens


    Which character – as performed by Ray Childs – was your favorite?

    great narration my favorite character was the shoe shine man .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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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
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

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