Reading ➽ Manchild in the Promised Land Author Claude Brown – Stg2bio.co

Manchild In The Promised Land Is Indeed One Of The Most Remarkable Autobiographies Of Our Time This Thinly Fictionalized Account Of Claude Brown S Childhood As A Hardened, Streetwise Criminal Trying To Survive The Toughest Streets Of Harlem Has Been Heralded As The Definitive Account Of Everyday Life For The First Generation Of African Americans Raised In The Northern Ghettos Of The S And S When The Book Was First Published In , It Was Praised For Its Realistic Portrayal Of Harlem The Children, Young People, Hardworking Parents The Hustlers, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Numbers Runners The Police The Violence, Sex, And Humor The Book Continues To Resonate Generations Later, Not Only Because Of Its Fierce And Dignified Anger, Not Only Because The Struggles Of Urban Youth Are As Deeply Felt Today As They Were In Brown S Time, But Also Because The Book Is Affirmative And Inspiring Here Is The Story About The One Who Made It, The Boy Who Kept Landing On His Feet And Became A Man


10 thoughts on “Manchild in the Promised Land

  1. Ted Ted says:

    I started going to night school Most of the cats who were out there on the corners dealing stuff now were the newcomers Most of the cats I came up with were in jail or dead or strung out on drugs I d been out on street life long before these cats ever knew how to role a reefer I could do what I wanted and not worry about anybody naming me lame I d been through the street life thing At seventeen, I was ready to retire from it I d already had ten or eleven years at it.Claude Brown Born i I started going to night school Most of the cats who were out there on the corners dealing stuff now were the newcomers Most of the cats I came up with were in jail or dead or strung out on drugs I d been out on street life long before these cats ever knew how to role a reefer I could do what I wanted and not worry about anybody naming me lame I d been through the street life thing At seventeen, I was ready to retire from it I d already had ten or eleven years at it.Claude Brown Born in 1937 This fictional autobiography tells of his youth and young manhood in Harlem If you re like me, you spend time wondering, what s true Well the first person narrator, whose name is definitely Claude Brown, though he s usually called Sonny in dialog, is certainly the same age as the writer, 15 years old in 1952 The way Harlem was when he was different ages certainly has the ring of truth to me, but I wouldn t really know The names of all the characters Probably not true, maybe some are The names and tales of his family Who knows The general experiences he had Sure, probably the way it was Specific things he did Maybe some made up Was he really in those reform schools at those young ages I guess he was The first sections of the book find Sonny at a very young age Before he was even ten he was on the streets, stealing, fighting, sometimes out all night His dad would beat him if provoked enough, his mother fretted and worried but could do nothing with him In this part of the book Claude Brown is not likable at all I just sort of shuddered every once in a while Later in the book, reflecting back on his youth in the forties, Claude says this Throughout my childhood in Harlem, nothing wasstrongly impressed upon me than the fact that you had to fight and that you should fight Everybody would accept it if a person was scared to fight, but not if he was so scared that he didn t fight.As I saw it in my childhood, most of the cats I swung with wereafraid of not fighting than they were of fighting.Thus the youngster fights, even though he s afraid, and gains a reputation as a tough guy, way tougher than his age would warrant So at the age of eleven he spends his first time in the Wiltwyck School for Boys which does exist, in Esopus New York , where he makes new friends who then reenter his life back on the streets As a young teen Sonny goes back and forth between Wiltwyckthan once.But Sonny tells us that as he began to approach the age of eighteen, getting in trouble became something that he becamefearful of He didn t want to actually end up in jail for a serious crime, and he tells us that he resolved that he would never kill anyone, even though he carried weapons sometimes.The book takes us up to around 1960, Claude in his early twenties Over the last few years he s moved out of Harlem, down to the Village, got a job or two, finished high school, started playing a bit of piano, had an eye opening fling with Judy, a white Jewish girl, which doesn t last but still goes back to Harlem frequently, sees the plague that heroin brought in the late fifties, the coming of the Black Muslims, the way they take over a small section of Harlem and preach to the people about standing up, taking pride in themselves as blacks, rejecting the white merchants who suck all the money out of Harlem They never rope Sonny into their movement, but he sees the good it does At the end of the book he s still hanging loose, doesn t really have concrete goals, but is no longer in the City, is off somewhere startingschooling.He s a young man who looks back on the streets as his real home, but who somehow turned out different from most of his old friends It s a story that s hard to take sometimes, but ultimately inspiring And if you re white, and lived through those times quite differently than Claude Brown did, it really makes you think Previous review George Passant novel Next review The Wapshot Chronicle novelOlder review On Native Grounds lit crit, social historyPrevious library review Between the World and Me Ta Nehisi CoatesNext library review The Autobiography of Malcolm X


  2. Tony Hynes Tony Hynes says:

    This is probably my favorite book It impacted me in ways that are hard to describe For one, Brown s account of what happened to those who used heroine stuck with me to this day I wasn t exactly thinking about trying heroine or any other hard drug before, but reading Manchild in the Promised Land ensured I would never go down that path Throughout the book it seems like Claude loses everyone he ever cared about to jail, heroine, or death If anyone wonders where the anger of the Black Panther This is probably my favorite book It impacted me in ways that are hard to describe For one, Brown s account of what happened to those who used heroine stuck with me to this day I wasn t exactly thinking about trying heroine or any other hard drug before, but reading Manchild in the Promised Land ensured I would never go down that path Throughout the book it seems like Claude loses everyone he ever cared about to jail, heroine, or death If anyone wonders where the anger of the Black Panther Party came from, they need look no further than this book, which chronicles how difficult it was to grow up in Harlem and in any inner city really for a young black male in the 40 s,50 s,and 60 s I m not sure I would have handled it with as much class as Brown


  3. Jane Jane says:

    An extraordinary book documenting the impact of generations of cultural disruption, violence, and cruelty This is the memoir of a member of the first generation after the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural south to the northern cities, in this case Harlem, but you can feel how directly the roots of this experience reach back through slavery and its aftermath I felt very strongly the disjuncture between the rhetorical power of the text and the extreme cultural privation Brown d An extraordinary book documenting the impact of generations of cultural disruption, violence, and cruelty This is the memoir of a member of the first generation after the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural south to the northern cities, in this case Harlem, but you can feel how directly the roots of this experience reach back through slavery and its aftermath I felt very strongly the disjuncture between the rhetorical power of the text and the extreme cultural privation Brown describes in his childhood, and the story of the book is of how the two converge how he became the man who wrote the book His personality comes through very strongly He seems to have cultivated detachment from childhood, and his ability to report without judging a gang rape in which he participated, for instance is extremely unsettling, and yet feels heroic at times, in his capacity for love and forgiveness I won t forget this


  4. Nicki Nicki says:

    I read this book in high school I had been deeply affected by the Watts riots in the mid sixties It upset me to see the violence and at the same time I knew that it came from hundreds of years of festering hurt, fear and anger among African Americans It looked like the beginning of another civil war to me My father was a teacher and had taught us all about the real American history that was not being taught in the schools in those days He taught us about slavery, the abusive treatment of th I read this book in high school I had been deeply affected by the Watts riots in the mid sixties It upset me to see the violence and at the same time I knew that it came from hundreds of years of festering hurt, fear and anger among African Americans It looked like the beginning of another civil war to me My father was a teacher and had taught us all about the real American history that was not being taught in the schools in those days He taught us about slavery, the abusive treatment of the Native Americans, child labor laws and womens suffrage, etc Also, I had grown up hearing my mother s war experiences when she was a child in Europe and China All this good teaching served to shape my values and my career plans So Manchild in the Promised Land was an important and powerful book for me to read as I had already decided I wanted to teach in the inner city It was excellent preparation for my years in teaching in Watts


  5. Anthony Keys Anthony Keys says:

    This is a harsh book This is a painful book This is a funny book This is a real book Any teacher teaching urban children should read this book to understand the suffering and pain of street life It is an accomplishment that the author was able to overcome his past to tell his story.


  6. Shay Shay says:

    Best book I ve ever read I m from Harlem, so I can really relate to a whole lot he wrote about, even tho he wrote about a Harlem 30 years before my time I give this to all my male friends who get locked up Yeah, I kno that sounds funny, but I just want them to see that other people have gone thru they what they ve gone thru, lived the life they ve lived, and managed to get thru it to the other side.


  7. Frank Stein Frank Stein says:

    It took me forever to finish this book because it is very long and it has little or no structure Overall, it s just an endless series of little vignettes, but it still may be one of the most amazing books I ve ever read.The book is a semi fictionalized account of the author s life growing up as a small time street criminal in Harlem in the 1940s and 50s the narrator is, like the author, named Claude Brown He eventually gets shot escaping from a heist, gets put in a juvenile detention center, It took me forever to finish this book because it is very long and it has little or no structure Overall, it s just an endless series of little vignettes, but it still may be one of the most amazing books I ve ever read.The book is a semi fictionalized account of the author s life growing up as a small time street criminal in Harlem in the 1940s and 50s the narrator is, like the author, named Claude Brown He eventually gets shot escaping from a heist, gets put in a juvenile detention center, and then starts working innumerable small jobs to help himself finish school and escape the pull of the streets On one level, the book is a classic story of decline and redemption, though Brown wouldn t put it in such Manichean terms He is, perhaps appropriately,interested in the moments than the grand arc The one constant throughout the book, though, is what Brown calls the plague, the descent of heroin on Harlem in the early 1950s To Brown it seemed to transform what was already an impoverished ghetto into a permanent wasteland Hopeless junkies with no concern for anything replaced the low level hustlers and scared even the hardened criminals His friends started talking about junkies robbing their own parents for money, which, as he said, nobody had ever heard of before It was a previously unimaginable level of depravity Eventually, most of his friends and some of his family succumbed to the plague, and ended up dead or in jail He escaped to tell the tale.The pull of the book is that almost all of the little stories Brown tells, from participating in a stick up to watching the rise of the Black Muslims, are simply amazing on their own terms, and are relayed with such clear eyed intensity that you can t help but be carried along by it all Brown also has a perfect ear for dialogue and great insight into what makes people in extreme situations tick If you have the time, I highly recommend it


  8. Lorna Lorna says:

    Manchild in the Promised Land 1965 is an autobiographical novel written by Claude Brown It tells about the author s coming of age amidst poverty and violence in Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s and has frequently appeared on banned book lists.I read this coming of age story when I was a kid growing up in a single family household living in the projects in the Bronx It touched the core of my soul, and gave voice to a voiceless girl child of color This is a must read if one is to understand Manchild in the Promised Land 1965 is an autobiographical novel written by Claude Brown It tells about the author s coming of age amidst poverty and violence in Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s and has frequently appeared on banned book lists.I read this coming of age story when I was a kid growing up in a single family household living in the projects in the Bronx It touched the core of my soul, and gave voice to a voiceless girl child of color This is a must read if one is to understand the history of oppressed people in the U.S It remains timely and is why so many are warned against reading it If Malcolm X is a book that changed your life, or is a book you ve been wanting to read then Claude Brown s Manchild in the Promised Land should be your next one It is guaranteed to be an eye opener


  9. Maggie Maggie says:

    Damn I mean daaamn If this were made into a movie, it d be called Hard to Watch and Tracy Jordan would star in it.I do agree that this is an important book The author s voice is not a voice that you will probably hear in any other reading circles, even if you look for other autobiographies about kids growing up in dire poverty This is not Angela s Ashes , or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn This is not even I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or Black Boy The difference between those novels Damn I mean daaamn If this were made into a movie, it d be called Hard to Watch and Tracy Jordan would star in it.I do agree that this is an important book The author s voice is not a voice that you will probably hear in any other reading circles, even if you look for other autobiographies about kids growing up in dire poverty This is not Angela s Ashes , or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn This is not even I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or Black Boy The difference between those novels and this one is mainly that while Manchild is important , it s not really well crafted Well written Good This would be an excellent book for reluctant readers in their teens or early twenties, because the vocab is not challenging and there is zero use of symbolism, metaphor, foreshadowing, etc So for a crowd that enjoys the written word, the fact is that this author is not as polished of a writer or at least had a shitty editor There is enormous redundancy in Manchild s stories, descriptions, introspection, etc As a reader this can be trying, because you want the author to usevivid descriptions and acomplex writing style he refers to heroin as The plague five times in two pages, each time explaining it as if it were the first usage of the term We get it, Claude In some ways, though, this raw and imperfect voice is actually better, because the truth that Claude Brown experienced is not packaged into a nice, digestible Maya Angelou novel instead he spits out random and seemingly disconnected anecdotes that seem to say, I don t give a damn if you like this this is just something that happened As an upper middle class white suburban girl, I am thankful that this book reminds me that the 1950 s Harlem world existed, even through all of its lens of underwhelming storytelling and grit It is good that books like this are published and read, if for no other reason than to give the world a little shake and remind us of the diverse voices that actually exist and are often muted or ignored.The narrator is also interesting because he s likable, but also repulsive and unreliable He is part of a massive gang bang against a white prostitute when he s only a teenager like, 13 or something , and he never acknowledges the horror of his crime Hell, he doesn t even consider it a crime at all the anecdote is discarded fairly quickly as an and that was the first time I had sex with a white woman token The author s attitude towards women is creepy, calloused and unfeeling You could easily read the text as the confessions of a sociopath where women are concerned Even when he does begin to change his attitude it s not clear why Another way that Brown is an unreliable narrator is in the way he describes many situations and conversations with friends He emerges as the enlightened perspective, the open minded and insightful voice of reason The ease and degree of insight with which he responds to new ideas and crises is suspicious to the point where his own character becomes inconsistent or intangible he transcends it all to become an omniscient observer, saying just the right thing in just the right moment There is clearly a lot of selective memory happening in these retellings, which is forgivable given that he is not really a character in this tale even though its HIS autobiography.Despite the fact that our author is a rapist, a former juvenile delinquent and a drug dealer, you want to read his story I d also want to read a female version of this story, just to prove that not all the women in Harlem were bitches and whores


  10. Cynthia Cynthia says:

    I first read Manchild on the Promised Land at 12 years old which started my love affair with urban fiction Claude Brown, a first generation Harlemite, tells his journey as he navigates the streets of Harlem in the 40s and 50s how he got started in the streets at the age of six, how he survived, and most importantly how he lived to tell about it MITP has all the urban elements gangs, hustlers, drug dealers, number runners, pimps and prostitutes Sonny Boy s introduction to the life started I first read Manchild on the Promised Land at 12 years old which started my love affair with urban fiction Claude Brown, a first generation Harlemite, tells his journey as he navigates the streets of Harlem in the 40s and 50s how he got started in the streets at the age of six, how he survived, and most importantly how he lived to tell about it MITP has all the urban elements gangs, hustlers, drug dealers, number runners, pimps and prostitutes Sonny Boy s introduction to the life started simply by sitting on his front stoop at five years old watching life in the hood unfold before he joyously stepped into it.Simple, fast reading a these are are the events and this is how they happened kind of book Loved it as a teen and years later still love it have the1966 edition