Books & Media
Here at Rights & Wrongs, we want to promote self-education and individual growth. To help meet this goal the R&WP Team and Guests have selected a collection of media recommendations for the community to read gain a better understanding of a wide variety of subjects. We will also be adding a Book/Review section to this page in the Near Future.
Recommended by Host & Producer George O.
Code Talker is a short young adult historical fiction following the life of a member of the Native American Navajo Tribe. The story begins with his experience of being brought to a Christian Missionary school that tries to strip him of his culture and Language. The very same language that would be the foundation of the Unbreakable Navajo Code used by the United States Navy and Marine Corps during the Second world war. This book does well to highlight the sacrifice and Dedication of these men. It also acknowledges their mistreatment and inequality before and after the end of the war. This is a must-read to understand the plight and mistreatment of Native Americans along with giving a larger perspective of the systemic racism common in the United States.
Book-length 240 pages
Average reading time 3 & 1/2 Hours
US: Barnes&Noble $8.99
UK: Blackwell's £6.99
Recommended by Text & Article Editor Cara L..
Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys (2019) is undoubtedly a modern classic. Whitehead is a double Pulitzer winner, recipient of the National Book Award and a #1 New York Times bestseller, and his most recent novel is a monument to his skill as a novelist. Dubbed a “necessary read” by Barack Obama, The Nickel Boys is a harrowing work of fiction which is paints a painfully apt picture of the realities faced by real African Americans. Set in Florida, in the 1960s, the novel follows the story of Elwood Curtis. Elwood a hardworking boy, and dedicated student on track to attend college on scholarship, and an ardent follower of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. and the civil rights movement. Elwood is unjustly sent to the Nickel Academy, as punishment for his involvement in a civil rights protest. The Nickel Academy is a brutal reform school, where black boys disappear “out back”, and physical torture is a regular form of punishment. The detailed account of the Elwood’s time at Nickel is told against the backdrop of his life as an adult, living in New York City, struggling with post-traumatic stress, when the crimes of the Academy are quite literally unearthed when an unmarked mass grave is discovered on the grounds. While numerous other victims of the Academy have engaged in reunions, forming a sort of support group amongst themselves, Elwood does not engage with them, rather he reluctantly ruminates privately. Oh, and brace yourself for some twists.
This is a work of fiction is one that is all too true to reality (with the Nickel Academy being based upon the Dozier School, also in Florida, which existed and operated for 111 years. It is telling of experiences had by too many African Americans who lived through the Jim Crow-era. Colson Whitehead makes a gut-wrenching “memoir” unbearably readable. This book is one that I have no doubt will become an American classic, that will be taught in schools across the world, as it should be. Especially with recent times reiterating that racially motivated violence is as problematic now as it ever was, but with social media making it more visible than before. The Nickel Boys is a poignant look to the history and experiences of African Americans in the states.
While the likes of The Help, or The Secret Life of Bees are both fantastic books: they were written by white women. Colson Whitehead offers a telling by a man who is part of the demographic which this novel represents, and that is beyond important. Because recent history shows us that clearly, not enough white people have learned not to be monsters yet.