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Publisher's Summary

• Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction• A New York Times best-seller in race and civil rights• Finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction• "The most ambitious book of 2016" (Washington Post) • A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016• A Washington Post Notable Book of 2016• A Chicago Review of Books Best Nonfiction Book of 2016• A Root Best Book of 2016• A BuzzFeed Best Nonfiction Book of 2016• A Bustle Best Book of 2016• Nominated for 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Nonfiction• Finalist for the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction• A Kirkus Best History Book of 2016• A Kirkus Best Book of 2016 to explain current politics• A Kirkus Best Heartrending Nonfiction Book of 2016• An Entropy Best Nonfiction Book of 2016• The Washington Post 2016 summer reading list

Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America - more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists.

©2016 Ibram X. Kendi (P)2017 Novel Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Must Read for Anyone Seeking to Understand American History

By critically and carefully examining the intellectual raw material surrounding the founding and building of America, Ibram X. Kendi is able to trace the roots of so many ideas back their origins, revealing for the reader a complex web of ideas invented as post hoc rationalizations of current and future brutality, exploitation, and injustice. Kendi proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that unjust policies and practices are not merely the result of existing social realities and public opinions, but that public opinion is shaped by strategic racist rationalizations, deployed to justify existing practice and policy. Many of the ideas are not at all new, but are just reiterations of ideas that go all the way back to the beginning, ideas that have been stamped onto our collective consciousness and must be disrupted and dismantled every single day.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Excellent book, tiring narration.

Excellent developmental account of racism in America. As an avid audiobook listener, I found the narration to be monotonous and tiring after a few hours. There is room for performance improvement.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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very informative

I am very greatful to have pick this book by random. I learned so much. I knew some of the facts, which only kept my focus. yet, I wouldnt have looked at them from this angle.... which I def. agree. #Truth. It gets straight to the point. hits each point quickly. I had to go back in order not to miss a few key points in our nations history. I feel that it left some things out or didnt go into to much detail... maybe that was to keep on track and not get lost in another direction. I enjoyed every bit of it. thank you to the writer and speaker. Great job.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous book, poor reader

I've lately been diving into many books on the history of race in America, and this one is by far the best I've come across. The writing is solid, the research is impeccable, and the interpretation is trenchant. I did, however, struggle with the reader. He mispronounces names, sounds alternatively bored or angry, and pauses oddly during sentences. I was tempted to give this book a miss due to the poor reader, but ended up being glad I stuck with it despite the sometimes cringe-worthy performance.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Missing Epilogue

Where is the epilogue? It's missing from the audiobook, and I submit--given the author's confessions about his own racist ideas in the introduction--it is an inherent part of the thesis. Leaving out the epilogue is a glaring omission. I feel as though I've been robbed of an important part of the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Stamped From the Beginning is a must read!!!

This book should be a must read for every American. We need to see how racist ideas penetrate our lives, our beliefs, our society, and our politics. Please take the time to read this book. Please also consider the book, The New Jim Crow, which opens up the disgrace of our mass incarceration prison industrial complex. Please carry these discussions on racial injustice to your friends and neighbors. Blessings to you all.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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good book, passable narration

The book was well-researched. I learned a lot about the history of racism in America which was my goal. The narration was understandable, but a bit amateurish. The tone of voice changes at odd intervals, giving the impression that different recordings were spliced together. But once I got used to it it was fine.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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WOW

Where does Stamped from the Beginning rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Way up at the top!

Any additional comments?

Very eye opening book. I finished it feeling angry but motivated. I'll probably listen to this one again somewhere down the line.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I thought I wanted to know

In my personal quest to understand the source, intensity, and forms of all the energy associated with racism, I found this work to be enlightening. I will be re-reading it again before long. So much useful and well documented information from a perspective I am not privy to.

I found the author's bias sympathetic to radical anti-racists and critical toward non-violent anti-racists and assimilists distracting, tho not hard to understand. There are generations of frustration behind the emotions of anyone who is aware of racism from the inside out.

Maybe I find the author's bias distracting/annoying b/c what I read .. the way it's written .. challenges my belief that racism can be smothered peacefully; American culture can be cancer-free of all discrimination peacefully. Maybe I am uncomfortable b/c I don't want to know I'm wrong.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional!

An excellent book. Incredibly thorough and engaging. Don't miss the chance to listen to this and become informed of the underbelly and essence of the history of the United States (because it isnt too much too say that the perpetuation of racist ideas in America is in the core of American history). I cant wait to use and reference this book in my U.S. history courses. I'm also excited to attend a book talk with the author--because that's how much I love this book!

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  • Thorkell Agust Ottarsson
  • 02-20-18

An ocean of knowledge regarding the history of rac

What made the experience of listening to Stamped from the Beginning the most enjoyable?

The scope of the project. This book is epic. It is like an encyclopedia on racism.

What other book might you compare Stamped from the Beginning to, and why?

It is not unlike many other books on race issues except it does not deal a lot with modern problems, but instead shows the origin of racism for black people and how it developed.

Which character – as performed by Christopher Dontrell Piper – was your favourite?

Ibram X. Kendi discusses many historical characters. The one I enjoyed the most was Angela Davis.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A documentary on racism.

Any additional comments?

I learned so much from this book. It is an ocean of knowledge regarding the history of racism. It's well researched (as far as I can tell, with my limited knowledge of the subject), well written and honest. Ibram X. Kendi is not afraid of an honest discussion, criticizing white and black people alike for naive ideas, ignorance or plain racism. I also love his take on what racism means and what it does not mean. So all in all this is a brilliant book. I do however have 3 issues with it:

1) I find that Ibram X. Kendi is overly enthusiastic in claiming different films racists. While I can see that the films he discusses can be interpreted this way I honestly can't agree that this is the most obvious interpretation in all cases. Planet of the Apes is one example. It is a nuclear war that caused the apes to take over in Planet of the Apes and it was white people who held the knowledge and power of nuclear weapons back then. Kendi never dives into the problems of interpretations of the films he names, but rather names the main points that support his theory and disregards everything else.

2) Ibram X. Kendi does not limit his focus to race but also discusses feminist and gay issues. I was therefore rather surprised that he glossed over the fact that LGBTQ people have not always been welcomed in modern times in the black communities. Since Kendi is quite honest in this book, I'm assuming this was an oversight.

3) Like I said before. Kendi is usually quite honest. But sometimes I felt he took short cuts in the name of political ideology, where he could have spilt ink on the subject. This is especially the case when he weaves feminism into the subject. Then suddenly slogans are all that is needed to make a point. No facts are presented. Only assumed universal truths.

Finally, I do hope that these minor issues don't stop anyone from reading this fantastic book. It needs to be read!