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Publisher's Summary

Drawing upon his own powerful personal story, Zachary R. Wood shares his perspective on free speech, race, and dissenting opinions - in a world that sorely needs to learn to listen.

As the former president of the student group Uncomfortable Learning at his alma mater, Williams College, Zachary Wood knows from experience about intellectual controversy. At school and beyond, there's no one Zach refuses to engage with simply because he disagrees with their beliefs - sometimes vehemently so - and this view has given him a unique platform in the media. But Zach has never shared the details of his own personal story. In Uncensored, he reveals for the first time how he grew up poor and black in Washington, DC, where the only way to survive was by resisting the urge to write people off because of their backgrounds and perspectives.

By sharing his troubled upbringing - from a difficult early childhood to the struggles of code switching between his home and his elite private school - Zach makes a compelling argument for a new way of interacting with others and presents a new outlook on society's most difficult conversations. 

“Wood elevates the approach to difficult conversations and dialogue, succeeding in helping people overcome indifference. A must-read for young social activists, free speech crusaders, and fans of inspirational memoirs.” (Library Journal)

“Wood is a cerebral analyst...an effective translator of the two worlds he navigates - four worlds, really, rich and poor as notable as black and white.” (The Christian Science Monitor)

“Zachary Wood's story is wrenchingly honest and compelling, a triumph of discipline and resilience, with useful lessons for us all. His willingness to confront opposing views and engage ideological adversaries is brave and important at a time when political polarization is challenging our national strength." (Ambassador Susan E. Rice, coeditor of Confronting Poverty)

©2018 Zachary R. Wood (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this remarkably honest memoir, Zachary R. Wood has written a veritable bildungsroman, tracing his journey from high school scholarship student from a poor black neighborhood in Washington, DC, to leader of the free speech movement at Williams College. This work provides a timely view of both political life on elite college campuses and the struggles of the working poor against the backdrop of institutional racism. It also explores, with bracing candor, Wood's growth as a young writer and intellectual, whose mistakes are as formative as his successes. Wood's memoir is a must-read for anyone concerned about the American promise of social mobility." (Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and author of Life upon These Shores)

“I met Zachary Wood when he was 19. After an hour of talking with him, I was volunteering for his (future) US presidential campaign. (I have my fingers crossed that he’ll decide to run someday, because we need him.) Zachary Wood represents everyone, and he does so with dignity, clarity, kindness, and great courage, which comes across loud and clear in this phenomenal book, Uncensored. Zachary’s story of resilience, compassion, and conviction will be read by millions, and I’ll be pushing for it to be a book that’s assigned in high school classrooms everywhere. He teaches - and shows - us how to resolve and heal some of our deepest conflict - with true curiosity, empathy, and openness.” (Amy Cuddy, New York Times best-selling author of Presence)

“An intensely personal memoir about a childhood that trained [Wood] to be nimble and empathetic.” (Chicago Tribune)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Incredible Insight

Incredible insights from such a young author. This book has definitely changed my perspective on race and other controversial issues. A must read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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thought provoking yet engaging

trauma is a form of sobriety- 1 of many takeaways from this book. thank you.

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worth your time

The honest, vulnerable and nonjudgemental memoir this young man tells is worth the listen. Heartwrenching and insightful

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Riveting

Loved it. As a hardcore liberal; force me to self examine; ask myself some hard questions. Moments where I was deeply moved by it's authenticity. Well done.

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Thoughtful, thought provoking

Very interesting first book by a 22 year old, deep thinking young man.

Conservative or liberal is not the point.

Respect, empathy and shared humanity

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Mesmerizing

Well written and jarring at times. He really is open ,blunt and to the point. Unlike Mr.Woods, I'm a conservative and I also like to hear others opinions . Very well done and very enjoyable.