Review: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi


"Exhaustively researched", "thorough", "sweeping" - all these adjectives from other's Goodreads reviews are true. And add to that - this book is amazing.

Kendi traces the evolution of racist ideas in America from the Puritans to the present day and does so in a manner that pulls you in and moves you right through it all. And there is a lot - the written book is 594 pages and the audiobook (which I listened to) is over 18 hours long.

As a fan of history books, I appreciated the amount of research that must have gone into this - the breadth of ideas Kendi follows through the sweep of over 350 years is really impressive.

Kendi points out that racial ideas in America don't fall into two camps - racist and non-racist, but three camps - segregationist, assimilationist, and anti-racist. And those three sets of ideas - two supporting racist ideas and one opposed - have been at play in America since the beginning, as he demonstrates in this book.

I have read a lot of history and so I was familiar with many of the individuals and stories covered by Kendi, but have never seen them all brought together in the way he does. If you like history and would like to ground yourself in an understanding of the history of racism in America this is a must-read book. I can't say enough good about it. Masterful.

Christopher Dontrell Piper narrates the audiobook and did an excellent job.

I rate Stamped from the Beginning Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

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